The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Topics/Categories Filter?
China Color Revolution Core Article Corona Corruption Culture/Society Demographics Demography Economics Economy Elections Foreign Policy Futurism Geopolitics History Human Biodiversity Human Rights Humor Ideology Immigration International Relations IQ Liberal Opposition Military Miscellaneous Moscow Open Thread Opinion Poll Politics Psychometrics Putin Race/Ethnicity Russia Russophobes Science SJWs Society Soviet Union The AK Translations Ukraine United States USA Western Hypocrisy Western Media 2008-south-ossetia-war 2010 Census 2012 US Elections 2016 Election 2020 Election 9/11 Abortion Academia Admin Administration AdminRR Aesthetics Affirmative Action Afghanistan Africa Age Of Malthusian Industrialism Aging Agriculture AGW Denial Ahmadinejad AI AIDS Air Force Airborne Laser Aircraft Aircraft Carriers Airports Al Gore Al Jazeera Al Qaeda Alcohol Alcoholism Alexander Hamilton Alexander Mercouris Alexei Kudrin Alexei Navalny Alpha Males Alt Left Alt Right Alternate History Altitude Altruism Amazon American Media American Military Amerindians Amish Anarchism Anatoly Karlin Ancestral Health Ancestry Ancient DNA Ancient Greece Ancient Near East Andrei Korotayev Andrew Yang Anglo-Saxons Animal IQ Animal Rights Wackos Animals Anthropology Anti-Semitism Anti-Vaccination Anti-Vaxx Antifa Apocalypse Apollo's Ascent Arab Spring Arabs Archaeogenetics Architecture ARCS Of Progress Arctic Arctic Civilization Arctic Methane Release Arctic Resources Arctic Sea Ice Melting Argentina Armenia Army Arseny Yatsenyuk Art Arthur H. Smith Arthur Jensen Artificial Intelligence Arts/Letters Asabiya Asian Americans Assad Assange Assassinations Atheism Atlantic Council Aubrey De Grey Australia Austria authoritarianism Autism Automation Aviation Azerbaijan Bahrain Balkans Baltics Bangladesh Bangladeshis Barbarians Bashar Al-Assad Beer Behavioral Economics Belarus Belgium Berezovsky Berkeley Bernard Henri-Levy Beta Males Big History BigPost Bilateral Relations Bill Browder Billionaires Bioethics Bitcoin Black Crime Black Lives Matter BlackLivesMatter Blacks Blank Slatism Blast From The Past BLM Blogging Bolivarian Revolution Bolshevik Revolution Books Boris Berezovsky Boris Johnson Boris Nemtsov Brahmans Brain Drain Brazil Brexit Brezhnev BRICs Brighter Brains Brighton Britain British Politics Bryansk Business Byzantine California Calisthenics Cambodia Campus Rape Canada Cancer Capitalism Cars Cartoon Casualties Catalonia Cats Caucasus CCTV CEC Cell Phones Censorship Central Asia Chanda Chisala Charles Murray Charlie Hebdo Charlottesville CHAZ Checheniest Chechen Of Them All Chechens Chechnya Chess china-russia-relations Chinagate Chinese Communist Party Chinese Economy Chinese History Chinese IQ Chinese Language Chinese Navy Chinese People Christian Fundamentalism Christianity Christmas Chuck Schumer CIA Civil Liberties Civil War Civilization Clannishness Clans Class Class Warfare Classical Antiquity Climate Climate Change Cliodynamics CNN CO2 Emissions Coal Cognitive Elitism Cold War collapse Collapse Party Colmar Von Der Goltz Colombia Colonialism Comedy Communism Computers Confucianism Marriage Consanguinity Consciousness Conservatism Conspiracy Conspiracy Theories Conspiracy Theory Constantinople Constitution Convergence Copenhagen Summit Copts Coronavirus Corruption Perceptions Index Council Of Europe Cousin Marriage COVID-19 Craig Willy Crime Crimea Crimean Tatars Crisis Crispr Critical Race Theory Croatia Cruise Missiles Cuba Cuckoldry Cuckservatism Cuisine Cultural Marxism Culture Culture War Cyber Threats Cyprus Czech Republic Czechia Dagestan Dark Ages Dark Lord Of The Kremlin Dark Triad David Frum David Moser Davide Piffer Death Death Penalty Debate Deep State Democracy Demograhics Demographic Transition Demoscope Development Diabetes Dick Cheney Digital Philosophy Diplomacy discussion Disease Dissent Dmitry Medvedev Dogs Domestication Donald Trump Donations Dostoevsky Drones Drought Drugs Dubai Dysgenic Dzhokhar Tsarnaev E-books Earth Day East Asian Exception East Asians Eastern Europe Economic Development Economic History Economic Sanctions Economic Theory Economist Democracy Index Ecuador Education Edward Snowden Effective Altruism Effortpost Egor Kholmogorov Egor Prosvirnin Egypt Electric Cars Electricity Elites Elon Musk Emigration Emil Kirkegaard Emmanuel Macron EMP Weapons Enemy Belligerent Act Of 2010 Energy Entertainment Environment Epidemiology EROEI Espionage Ester Boserup Estonia Ethics Ethiopia Ethnicity EU Eugenics Eurabia Eurasia Europe European History European Right European Union Eurovision Evolution Existential Risks Face Recognition Facebook Fail Fake News False Flag Attack falsifiable-predictions Family Family Systems Fantasy Far Abroad Fascism Fast Food fat-diets FBI FEL Weapons FEMEN Feminism Fermi Paradox Fertility fertility-rate Fertility Rates Film Finance Financial Crisis Financial Times Finland Fitness Flag Floyd Riots 2020 Fluctuarius Argenteus Flynn Effect Food Football Forecasts Foreign Investment Foreign Policy Fossil Fuels France Francis Fukuyama Fraud Freakonomics Free Speech Free Trade Freedom Of Speech Freedom Friedrich List Fundamentalists Gail The Actuary Gambling Game Game Of Thrones Game Theory Gay Marriage Gaza Flotilla Raid GDP Gender Confusion Gender Relations General Intelligence Generation Z Genetic Engineering Genetic Load Genetics Genocide Genomics Geoengineering Geography George Bush George Floyd George Friedman George Kennan George Soros George Will Georgia Gérard Depardieu Germans Germany Glenn Greenwald Global Warming Globalism Globalization Globohomo GMD God Gold Goldman Sachs Google Graham Turner grains Graphs Great Bifurcation Great Depression Great Powers Greece Greeks Green Green Party USA Greenland Gregory Clark Growth Guantanamo Guardian Guardian Censorship Guest Gun Control Guns GWAS Hacking Haiti Hajnal Line Half Sigma Hank Pellissier Hanzi Happening Happiness Harry Potter Hashemi Rafsanjani Hate Speech Hbd HBDchick Health Health And Medicine Health Care Healthcare Height Hezbollah Hillary Clinton Himachal Pradesh Hindu Caste System Hispanics Hist kai History Of Science Hitler Holidays Hollywood Holocaust Homicide Homicide Rate homicides Homosexuality Hong Kong Horses Houellebecq Housing HplusNRx Huawei Hubbert's Peak Huey Long Human Achievement human-capital Hungary Hypocrisy I.Q. Genomics Ibn Khaldun ICBMs Ice Age Iceland Ideologies Idiocracy Igor Strelkov Illegal Immigration IMF immigrants Imperialism Inbreeding incarceration-rate Incest Incompetence India Indian Economy Indian IQ Indians Indonesia industrialization Inequality Inequality Inflation Infrastructure inosmi Intellectual Property Intelligence International Comparisons Internet interview Interviews Invade The World Invite The World Iosef Stalin Iosif Stalin IPCC Iq And Wealth Iran Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program Iraq Ireland ISIS Islam Islam Islamic State Islamism Islamist-liberal Alliance Islamophobia Israel Israel Lobby IT Italy Ivan Bloch Jair Bolsonaro James Cameron James Kunstler James Lovelock James Watson Japan Jared Diamond Jeb Bush Jeff Bezos Jennifer Rubin Jews Jezebel Jim O'neill Joe Biden Joe Lieberman John Derbyshire John Durant John Kerry John McCain John Michael Greer John Yoo Jorge Luis Borges Joseph Tainter Journalism Julia Ioffe Julian Assange Junta Justice Kant Karabakh War 2020 Karlinism Kazakhstan Kenneth Pomeranz Keto Khamenei khodorkovsky Kim Jong Un Kindle Kolomna Kompromat konstantin-von-eggert Korea Korean Cuisine Koreans Kosovo Kremlin Clans kremlinology Ksenia Sobchak Kyrgyzstan la-russophobe Lactose Intolerance Laissez-faire Language Languages Latin America Latvia Law Law Of War Manual Law Lazy Glossophiliac LDNR Learning Lee Kuan Yew Leisure Lenin levada Levada Center LGBT Liberalism Liberals Liberia Libertarianism Libya Life life-expectancy Limits To Growth limp-wristed-liberals Linguistics Literacy Literature Lithuania Living Standards LNG Lobbying LOL london Longevity luke-harding MAGA Magnitsky Act Mali Malnutrition Malthus Malthusian Loop Malthusianism Manosphere Manufacturing Maoism Map Map Posts maps Margaret Thatcher Maria Butina Marine Le Pen mark-adomanis Markets Marxism Masculinity Masha Gessen Masks Massive Ordnance Penetrator Mathematics Matriarchy Matt Forney Max Weber May Day McDonald's me Meat Media Medicine Medieval Russia Medvedev Meme Mercenaries Mexico MH 17 Michael Weiss Middle Ages Middle East Migration Milan Kundera Militarization Military Analysis Military History Military Porn Military Spending Military Technology Millennials Millionaires Minorities Miscegenation Mistral Mitt Romney Moldova Moltke The Elder Monarchy Money Mongolia Moore's Law Mormonism Morocco Mortality Moscow Mayoral Election 2013 Muammar Gaddafi Multiculturalism Music Muslims Mussolini Myanmar NAMs Natalism National Bolshevism National Wealth Nationalism NATO Natural Gas navalny Navalny Affair Nazism NCVS Neandertals Near Abroad Neo-Nazis Neocons Neoliberalism Neoreaction Netherlands Neuroscience New Cold War New York New York Times New Zealand news-2008 ngos Niall Ferguson Nicholas II Nick Bostrom Nick Eberstadt Nigeria Nirvana Nobel Prize Nord Stream 2 Nordics Norman Finkelstein North Korea Norway Novorossiya Novorossiya Sitrep Nuclear Nuclear Energy Nuclear Power Nuclear War Nuclear Weapons Nutrition NYT Obama Obesity Obituary Occupy Occupy Wall Street Odessa Official English Oil oligarchs Open Access open-discussion Opposition Orban orientalism Orinoco Belt Orissa Orthodoxy Osama Bin Laden Pakistan Diet Paleolithic Palestine Panama Papers Panhandling Paper Review Paris Paris Attacks Pastoralism Pat Buchanan Patriot Missiles Patriotism Paul Chefurka Paul Krugman Pavel Grudinin Pax Americana PDVSA Peak Oil Pedophilia People's Liberation Army Personality Peru Peter Turchin Petre Țuțea Philosophy Philosophy Pigs Piracy PIRLS PISA PLAN POC Ascendancy Podcast Poetry Poland Polar Regions Police Political Correctness Political Economy Poll Polls Polygamy Population Population Growth Population Replacement Populism Poroshenko Portugal Post-Apocalypse Poverty Power Powerful Take Prediction Privacy Productivity Programming Projects Propaganda Protectionism protest Protestantism protests Psychology Psychopathy Public Health Public Transportation pussy-riot Putin Derangement Syndrome Putinsliv Qatar Quantitative Genetics Race Race And Crime Race And Iq Race Denialism Race/IQ race-realism Race War Racialism Racism Rape Rationality Ray Kurzweil Razib Khan R&D Reading Real Estate RealWorld Reddit Reference Regime Change Regions Religion Republicans Review Revolutions RFERL RIA Novosti Richard Lynn rise-of-the-rest R/k Theory RMAX Robert Ayres Robert Kagan Robert Lindsay Robert Stark Robots Roman Empire Romance Romania Romanticism Ron Paul Ron Unz RossPress RT International RTS Stock Market Rurik's Seed Russia Debate Russia-Georgia War Russia-Germany Relations Russia Today Russiagate Cuisine Russian Demography Russian Economy Russian Elections 2018 Russian Far East Russian History Russian Jews Russian Language Russian Media Russian Military Russian Nationalism Russian Occupation Government Russian Orthodox Church Russian Politics Russian Reaction Russian Society Russians Russotriumph RussPol Saakashvili Saint-Petersburg Samuel Huntington San Francisco sanctions Sarah Palin Saudi Arabia Scandal Scandinavia Scandinavians Schlieffen Plan schools Schopenhauer Science Fiction Science Fiction & Fantasy Scotland Scrabble Secession Senegal Separationism Serbia Sergey Brin sergey-magnitsky Sergey Nefedov sergey-zhuravlev Sex Sex Differences Sex Ratio Shanghai Shipping Ships Siberia Signaling Silicon Valley Singapore Singularity Sinotriumph Sisyphean Loop Skiing Slavery Slavery Reparations Slavoj Zizek SLBMs Sleep SM-3 Smart Fraction Smoking sobornost Social Evolution Social Media Socialism Sociobiology Sociology Solzhenitsyn Songun South Africa South Korea Debt Soviet History Sovok Space space-based-solar-power Space Exploration Spain Speech SPLC Sport Sri Lanka stalin Statistics Stephen Wolfram Stereotypes Steve Bannon Steve Sailer Steven Pinker Stonks Strait Of Hormuz String Of Pearls Sub-Saharan Africa Sublime Oblivion Suicide Supercomputers Superintelligence Surveillance Survivalism Svidomy Sweden Switzerland SWPL Syria Syrian Civil War systems-modeling Taiwan Tajikistan Tamerlan Tsarnaev Tamil Nadu Tanks Tar Sands Taxes Tech Technology Terrorism Tesla THAAD Thailand The Bell Curve The Bible The Blank Slate The Cathedral The Economist The Great Awokening The Guardian The Lancet The Matrix The Oil Drum The Russian Spectrum The Saker The Sublime Thermoeconomics Third World Tibet Tim Ferriss TIMSS War Tourists Trade Transgender Transgenderism Transhumanism Translation International Travel Trayvon Martin Treason Triggering Trolling Tropical Hyperborea Trump Trump Derangement Syndrome Trust Tsarist Russia Turkey Twitter UAE UAVs UC Berkeley Ugo Bardi UK UKIP Ukrainian Crisis Politics UN Underground Unemployment United Kingdom Universal Basic Income Universities Unz Review Urbanization US Blacks US Capitol Storming 2021 US Civil War II US Elections 2016 US Elections 2020 US Foreign Policy US Navy US Politics US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel us-russia-relations UV Uzbekistan Vaccination Vaccines vegetarianism Vekhi Velayat-e Faqih Veliky Novgorod Venezuela Venus Video Video Games Vietnam Viktor Yushchenko Vladimir Putin Vladimir Zelensky Vladimir Zhirinovsky Volokolamsk Vote Fraud Voter Fraud Wall Street War War In Donbass Warhammer wealth-creation WEIRDO Welfare West Wheel Of Time White Americans White Guards White Nationalists White Privilege Whites Wikileaks Willem Buiter william-burns William Catton Winston Churchill Woke Capital Women Womyn's Studies WORDSUM World Health Organization World Values Survey World War I World War II World War III Writing WSJ WTF Xi Jinping Yale Yemen YouTube yulia-latynina Zimbabwe Zombies Zoology
Nothing found
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter

Ethiopia has long done quite well by Sub-Saharan African standards. It has a good record of human accomplishment, being the only country in the region to have developed a literary corpus before European colonialism.

But it was, until recently, extremely poor. But no longer so after a decade of some of the highest growth rates in the world, which has been faster than China’s every single year during the 2010s:

Despite Corona and the ethnic unrest, growth remained at 6.1% in 2020.

This is a vindication for the HBD theory of economic growth, which says that over the long-term, as countries exit Malthusian traps and adopt development best practices, they should converge to a level correspondent with their human capital. Ethiopian polygenic IQ probably isn’t significantly worse than Kenya’s, which has the best psychometric performance in SSA, so I expect Ethiopia to sail smoothly to its level (political shocks aside). But whether it can continue China-level growth beyond a Kenyan GDPpc of ~$5,000 is another matter.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Ethiopia, Hbd, Iq and Wealth 

This week’s Open Thread.

(1) Vitalik Buterin – Prediction Markets: Tales from the Election. Best explanation of why predictions markets were giving Trump 10% well after it was clear it was <1%.

(2) Balaji – How to Start a New Country. One of my favorite Indians. He discusses his new website (amongst other things) with Tim Ferriss in podcast.

(3) Scott Alexander reviews a biography of Recep Erdogan. Important to understand

(4) Glenn Greenwald got violently robbed in Brazil and only mentioned it a couple of weeks later. Meanwhile, Blue Checkmark hacks whine about being subjected to violence for being criticized on Twitter.

Greenwald is becoming increasingly based in general.

(5) Robert Stark is now blogging at Substack. Latest: An Alternative Vision for California.

(6) Peter Frost – Recent cognitive evolution in West Africa. The Mende of Sierra Leone show much lower polygenic IQ scores than the Yoruba of Nigeria (who score almost as high as African-Americans). Unfortunately, no data on Igbo.

Not too surprised about this. The Benin metalwork I saw at the British Museum was quite respectable.

(7) Russia Warns of Anti-White ‘Aggression’ in U.S. Good troll.

(8) RT: Armenia’s hapless PM Pashinyan to resign

(9) Paul Robinson on Western propaganda vs. Russian vaccines while accusing Russia of promoting anti-vaxx sentiment.

(10) /r/slatestarcodex on superiority of bullet points over prose. I sympathize with this.

(11) The Hill: The new race to the moon: the Artemis Alliance vs. the Sino-Russian Axi s

(12) Roko on why rationalists (largely) failed to foresee crypto.

(13) Alexander Kruel – Fermi Paradox gets harder. Also on the seven tribes of intelligence in terms of mathematical abilities.

(14) Razib Khan – Enter Stepplandia

 
• Tags: Open Thread 

It strikes me that most of life’s most exquisite comforts can be had with ~$10M or so.

  • Apartment in the center of a world class city (luxury condo if in the Second World).
  • Holiday home.
  • Nice vacations and gourmet restaurants.
  • Model-tier gf.

^ The virgin financial docs sleuthing to suggest Bad Orange Man isn’t a billionaire vs. the Chad PHYSIOGNOMY proof of the same.

Conversely, though, it seems to me that you can’t do very much at all extra between about $10M and $10B.

Only significant exception that comes to mind is space tourism, for which you currently need ~$20M (so need to be at least $10Ms range). But that sort of proves the general point. And Papa Musk should lower that number a couple orders of magnitude anyway over the next decade, to something commensurate with taking a cruise on a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker in the Arctic (~$40k).

I suppose another example is that owning and operating a private jet becomes realistic at $100M, whereas at $10M it would be highly profligate. But, again, that’s small peas in the grand scheme of things.

To radically transform the world – to start influencing major areas of research, funding insurrectionist and irredentist movements, etc. – you really need to be in the $10B+ range.

Bloomberg gives Soros wealth at $8B, but other sources peg it at closer to $25B. Musk of course is at ~$200B. He also has singularly big ambitions, such as Mars colonization, which will really require trillions.

Sean McMeekin estimates that the Germans gave the Bolsheviks 50 million gold marks (=$1B today) which would confirm the point.

Yes, you can strike lucky with more targeted spending (NRx/rationalist-sphere people make a big deal of “leverage”). But as with making money itself, you need both brains and luck to find that moonshot. German attempts to foment instability in Britain by way of Ireland failed.

The LDNR exists in significant part thanks to the semi-private efforts of Konstantin Malofeev. Another example of money “well leveraged” (= producing real world results).

But for every such effort, you have ten that involve throwing money into a hole. Bill Gates’ efforts to find the next African Einstein? Press X for doubt.

Scattershot policy in which you fund many different groups and people in the expectation that some of them strike gold. This describes Jacob Schiff and Soros. But you do need a lot of money for that.

You could have probably bumped up research in radical life extension forwards by at least a couple of years if you had invested hundreds of millions in it a decade ago. (Now the commercial private sector is taking it up, making it increasingly moot). But most billionaires didn’t get to be billionaires by throwing their money around on moonshots. They are spiritual normies. Musk and Soros, in their own ways, are not. But they’re the exception, not the rule.

Anyhow, what I’m really getting at here is that there’s a big filter between the mere millionaires and the billionaires.

Seems to me that most normies who do “make it” leave it that and enjoy life poolside. It takes true autism after reaching that point to trundle on into the billions.

But that, plus vision beyond those billions, seems to be a very rare thing.

PS. Bezos is also a normie. His main distinction from the normie normie is that he at least recognizes his normieness, but tries to disguise it by emulating Musk.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Billionaires, Money 

From the indispensable BioHackInfo:

China’s new Criminal Code, which came into effect four weeks ago on March 1st, has a new section dedicated to ‘illegal medical practices’, which makes it a punishable crime to create gene-edited babies, human clones and animal-human chimeras.

The new section is an amendment to Article 336 of China’s Criminal Law, and officially outlaws “the implantation of genetically-edited or cloned human embryos into human or animal bodies, or the implantation of genetically edited or cloned animal embryos into human bodies,” — with penalties ranging from fines to seven years imprisonment.

Back in 2018 on November the 25th, Chinese biophysicist Dr He Jiankui announced that he had used gene-editing tool CRISPR to create the world’s first gene-edited babies. Dr He had modified the babies’ CCR5 gene — which the HIV virus uses as a pathway enter the cell. Through this CCR5 modification, the babies were made immune to HIV infection, and quite possibly had their cognitive capabilities enhanced.

Dr He was widely rebuked for this experiment, and after a storm of media-generated outrage and mounting pressure from influential Western bioethicists, Dr He was detained, and on December 30th 2019, a Chinese court sentenced him to three years in prison.

And so China takes itself out of the race towards the Biosingularity.

This is arguably a more monumental development than the ordinary humdrum of news about Corona or Ukraine or Taiwan or whatever the latest /r/worldnews headline is, though one that will only be recognized as such decades hence.

Nor is it an entirely unexpected one:

Anyway, what I’m saying is, one shouldn’t necessarily expect the biosingularity to originate in East Asia. While before I thought China had much better prospects than the US, now I rate them about equally.

As I wrote back then, contra stereotypes about “rationalist” East Asians, in reality:

  1. Opinion polls show Chinese support for genetic edits to remove disease or increase IQ is very similar to American/Western ones;
  2. Chinese laws were already more restrictive on the matter (human germline modifications are outright banned);
  3. The prominence of SJWs aside, there is less acceptance of evolutionary approaches to human behavior amongst Chinese social scientists relative to North American ones.

It’s also not extremely surprising from a deep historical perspective. This was, after all, the civilization that gave up on oceanic expeditions because nomads were harassing their peasants (or some similar banality), and banned unsanctioned maritime trade (haijin) because they were afraid of Japanese pirates. It’s at root a very risk-averse culture, but only those who take risks get to drink champagne, as the Russians say.

Hilariously, it seems that this was in part thanks to the influence of Western bioethicists, a parasitic caste that should unironically be sent off to Gulags. It is amusing how, thanks to the respect and prestige they enjoy in the world, Westerners often end up “winning” even when they’re working to torpedo themselves (China sabotaging itself thus being good for the Western Powers). Then again, the early Chinese were apparently hanging on the words of Caucasoid shamans thousands of years ago, so has anything really changed?

 

That said, this doesn’t materially change the fact that the twin forces of SJW egalitarian zealotry and religious fundamentalism may yet make the Biosingularity unrealizable in the West too.

So which civilization is now humanity’s best bet to avoid the Age of Malthusian Industrialism – assuming, at least, that mainstream AGI timelines don’t pan out?

The answer may surprise you!

Partial list of worldwide opinion polls on genetic editing:

U.S., 1996: 35% support editing for physical traits
U.K., 1994: 8% support, 88% oppose editing for intelligence*
New Zealand, 1993: 24% support, 67% oppose editing for intelligence (n = 329)
Australia, 1993: 27% support, 62% oppose editing for intelligence (n = 201)
Japan, 1993: 26% support, 54% oppose editing for intelligence (n = 352)
India, 1993: 70% support, 23% oppose editing for intelligence** (n = 568)
Thailand, 1993: 74% support, 22% oppose editing for intelligence** (n = 680)
Russia, 1993: 35% support, 49% oppose editing for intelligence** (n = 446)
Israel, 1993: 22% support, 70% oppose editing for intelligence** (n = 50)

More recent poll:

Vedic Hyperpower 2100?

 

I know this will come as a shock to many of my regular readers, but I will nonetheless ask you to respect my new identity as a Black Trans Russian (#BTR, pronouns: she/her) and support me in my transition.

You can do that verbally, or even better, financially. Those surgeries don’t come cheap.

Black Trans Russian Lives Matter! #BTRLM

***

In other news:

~ Steady trickle of new escalations in the Donbass, with news of Russian military equipment being brought to the border. This is a Russian response to the Ukrainian buildup in Donbass, ongoing for two months. I think the Americans are frontrunning the narrative of Russian aggression for when Ukraine attacks the LDNR and Russia defends it, to create grounds for sanctions. My followers are about evenly split in assessing the chance of serious fighting in Donbass within the next half year between <20%, 20-50%, and 50%+, respectively.

~ mal comments on Russian developments in space radiator chillers.

~ Vladislav Inozemtsev – The Physics of Sanctions (h/t Thulean Friend).

~ Sber-chan

~ In addition to my stunning and brave decision to transition, Peter Schiff has unexpectedly endorsed Bitcoin and there are reports that Trump is seeking to buy Putin’s Palace in Gelendzhik and convert it into a 5 star hotel.

~ Global Times has also repealed a Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020. Foreword: “I can’t breathe!” — George Floyd.

 
• Tags: BLM, Open Thread, Transgender 

In 2015, I attempted to quantify the military power of the world’s states with an index of Comprehensive Military Power. You can read the post, including the detailed methodology, here.

Since then, its conclusions – broadly speaking, that China and Russia had about a third of US military power in the mid-2010s, while the next-tier Powers had a third of Russia/China’s military power in turn – has been replicated in a couple of other indices:

… and was to correctly predict the outcome of Karabakh War II.

Nonetheless, five years is a significant period of time in world geopolitics, especially as concerns rapidly modernizing China, so an update is warranted (note there have been a few minor methodological changes*).

***

Top Military Powers of 2020

Performance of the US, Russia/USSR, China, and India in terms of total CMP from 1940-2020.

This table contains the CMP of the world’s states where the US is normalized to 100 every single year.

1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020
1 United States 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
2 China 16.6 21.2 24.0 28.4 29.9 42.3 57.1
3 Russia/USSR 109.8 39.0 33.4 29.3 24.9 27.9 32.8
4 India 3.5 6.0 9.3 11.5 12.6 18.0 23.8
5 France 11.5 12.1 12.4 10.7 8.8 8.9 10.1
6 South Korea 3.9 4.8 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.1 9.4
7 Germany 14.3 12.9 12.3 10.8 8.5 8.1 9.2
8 Saudi Arabia 6.0 7.4 8.9 7.7 7.5 9.0 9.0
9 United Kingdom 11.7 11.8 11.0 10.0 8.5 8.2 8.8
10 Japan 4.7 5.5 7.1 7.0 6.4 7.0 7.7
11 Turkey 3.4 4.8 6.0 4.9 3.9 4.6 7.6
12 Iran 2.4 3.9 4.7 5.3 4.8 5.2 5.7
13 Brazil 1.4 2.5 3.5 4.5 3.8 4.2 5.3
14 Italy 5.0 5.9 6.7 6.0 4.7 4.6 5.1
15 Pakistan 1.9 2.6 3.1 3.2 2.8 3.6 4.8
16 Israel 5.8 6.0 6.0 5.4 4.5 4.5 4.7
17 Ukraine 4.5 4.6 3.8 2.6 3.0 4.0
18 Poland 3.9 3.3 3.4 2.8 2.2 2.9 4.0
19 Taiwan 2.2 3.4 4.2 3.6 3.3 3.5 3.8
20 Canada 3.3 3.6 3.7 3.2 2.9 2.7 3.4
21 Australia 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.1 2.8 2.7 3.3
22 Spain 2.7 3.0 3.5 3.0 2.6 2.7 3.3
23 Vietnam 3.4 2.1 2.2 1.9 1.7 2.1 2.9
24 Indonesia 0.8 1.2 1.9 1.8 1.5 2.2 2.8
25 Colombia 0.5 0.8 1.2 1.7 1.7 1.9 2.7
26 North Korea 4.0 3.1 2.9 2.3 1.9 2.3 2.5
27 Singapore 0.6 0.9 1.7 2.1 2.1 2.3 2.4
28 Thailand 0.9 1.4 1.8 1.6 1.6 1.9 2.2
29 UAE 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.7 1.5 2.0 2.2
30 Netherlands 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.0 1.6 1.6 2.0

The most notable change, obviously, has been China’s rapid gain on the US (though it not been more impressive than its economic gain – cognizant of the perceived rule of military overspending on the Soviet collapse, it has soft peddled this aspect of its convergence). Russia has paddled water relative to the US. India’s growth has been very impressive, albeit from a low base. Nor should the striking divergence between South Korea and North Korea since 1990 surprise anyone. India has left Pakistan in the dust.

Here is a visualization of the CMP in which, as in the table, the US is fixed at 100.:

American remilitarization during the Korean War knocked the USSR back down – though in fairness, the Soviet advantage then was deceiving, since the US had hundreds by the late 1940s and thousands by the early 1950s, so in practice, it was vastly more powerful. But the 1970-80s Soviet military buildup brought it to parity. Then it collapsed and China overtook it sometime during the late 2000s.

This chart is perhaps especially useful in that it shows what a determined military buildup can achieve. The USSR, with half or less of US economic power, built up a military machine that went from 70% of its CMP in 1970 to parity by 1980. China is now at 57%, but it has a bigger GDP (PPP) than the US (it produces its own weapons, so yes, GDP (PPP) is what counts here), a much faster rate of growth, and on top of that its military spending is around 1.9% or almost twice less than the US at 3.4%, i.e. much more room for more catch-up spending (should it choose to pursue that path) that was feasible for the USSR. Even under “business as usual” (5% points higher growth in military spending annually, in line with growth), Chinese CMP should exceed the US by the mid-2030s. However, raising that to a 10% point advantage could allow it to excess the US as early as 2030 (and it would still spend less on the military as a share of GDP than the US by then).

The China + Russia counter dates to 2001, when the SCO was founded. This has become more relevant over time as the two have drifted closer, with increasing talk of an alliance. Combined Sino-Russian military power is now entirely comparable to American, at 90% in 2020 vs. 70% in 2015 and 55% in 2010. The recent effective entrance of Iran into the Sinosphere adds a further 5% of US CMP to this bloc and raises its total to effective parity with the US as of this year.

It is also instructive to look at the Great Powers’ share of world military power. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has accounted for a steady 30% of world CMP. However, the rise of China as well as stronger regional militaries has now knocked down that share to 25%.

Nonetheless, we see that NATO brings its share up to 41.5%, still far ahead of the Sino-Russian bloc, let alone either China or Russia separately. This hints at the great multipliers the US gains from its system of alliances (if they can be successfully coaxed in should a conflict develop into World War III). Tacking on Japan (1.9%), South Korea (2.4%), Taiwan (1.0%), and Australia and Canada (0.8% each) increases the Western bloc’s share of military power to almost half the world’s total – most likely fully half adding in various minor satraps. And in the event that India could be brought on board too, that’s another 6.0% of the world’s military power. This is why we can expect to see an intensification of US efforts to swing India into its camp.

The US has a rapidly narrowing window in which to win a conventional war against China. Probably. There’s a substantial margin of error either way in these CMP estimates, plus other factors (e.g. China will be able to concentrate a greater proportion of its CMP in a war theater than the US, whose military infrastructure is spread thin across the entire globe). However, the US can maintain parity by leveraging its systems of alliances – assuming they can do this in lockstep with Chinese military catchup. This is partly the logic of the Great Bifurcation. The point is not just to block off the emerging Chinese hegemon from economically dominating the entire world, but to intensify military/ideological ties within the Western Alliance to maintain military parity.

On a more philosophical note, it is fascinating to observe fault lines harden and alliances coalesce just when critical milestones in relative military power are passed. Almost as if geopolitics is like some kind of chemical soup, subject to natural laws, with all else (e.g. “Uyghur genocide”, “WuFlu”, etc.) being naught but sound and fury, signifying nothing.

 

***

Methodological changes.

Biggest change is that I decided to narrow the technological gap between the world’s Powers on the assumption that globalization has made them much less germane than during the Cold War (e.g. ball bearings for missiles that could only be manufactured in a few facilities a generation ago can now be ordered off Ali Baba). For a concrete example, see Iran’s Missile Attacks May Have Been Mini-Sputnik Moment. As such, I have converged all rich, high IQ countries, NATO members, Russia, China, and India to the first technological rank (no gaps – assume they have the gross human capital to largely get whatever they need), and have narrowed their gap with the rest to just 5 years.

I think adding a +25% bonus to Germany’s combat effectiveness based off WW1/WW2 performance is increasingly untenable. There was always a major element of arbitrariness to this enterprise, and there are many cultural factors that will be hard to capture (e.g. “Woke Mil” – the SJWization of Western militaries). In later editions of the CMP, I plan to do away with “cultural factors” (“south”, “clannish”, “feats”) in general, and replace them with IQ scores from Lynn & Vanhanen or David Becker. They are not perfect either – in particular, they would not capture the meritocratic element, which has also been fast declining in the US military based on Marine officer test scores – but they are however the most objective and universal measures we realistically have. Ultimately, virtually all aspects of success leverage around average IQ, and correlations become much better still when groups are considered, such as work groups, nations, or – presumably – military organizations.

Speaking of plans, I eventually hope to make a separate website for the CMP (along the lines of Global Firepower) and make it an open data and interactive experience. Hopefully I can do that before another big update becomes necessary, i.e. sometime between now and 2026. But that obviously requires quite a bit of work and I don’t want to spend too much time on that right now (I need to finish GB for a start).

 

It’s quite amusing that, read in the wrong (right?) light, this basically comes off as a paean to White Supremacy.

It’s the ultimate humblebrag.

I think there’s quite a lot of truth to this thesis of The Unbearable Lightness of White Supremacy. Regardless of which White faction “wins” this civil war, the power structure itself will remain unchallenged.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Humor, SJWs, Whites 

Interesting links.

(1) Len Sassaman and Satoshi: a Cypherpunk History. This is, I think, the strongest case for someone being Satoshi that I have read to date. All I can say is that IF it was him, he played the double act VERY well.

(2) Gregoire Canlorbe (Postil Magazine) – A conversation with Emil O.W. Kirkegaard

(3) James Thompson – Our World in Blank Slate Data?

(4) Anders Sandberg – Galactic duck and cover

(5) Turkey’s lira is collapsing again. Sovereign default? Probably not – still has ample reserves (on paper). But interesting developments nonetheless.

(6) Stronk buy signal:

https://twitter.com/m0rn3_/status/1375170652580294657/

 

 
• Tags: Open Thread 

The blockage of the Suez Canal and the 12% of world cargo trade (1 billion tons of cargo per year) that flows through it raises the profile of an obvious and much shorter alternative that global warming is making increasingly attractive.

Arctic sea ice continues to retreat at a very rapid clip (currently running below the 2012 all-time minimum). Bad for the polar bears – good for global commerce.

Meanwhile, despite the challenges of being a gas station that produces no value added products, Russia is in the midst of a nuclear icebreaker construction spree that will make the Northern Sea Route navigable for most of the year. The LK-60Ya class includes three ships – Arktika, Sibir, and Ural – the first of which was commissioned in 2020, with the next two to follow this year and in 2022, respectively. There will eventually be five of them. This 33,540 ton displacement ship comes packed with a RITM-200 reactor generating 60 MW of propulsion power that can travel at 22 knots through clear water and is able to break ice up to 2.6 meters thick (vs. 2.2 meters for the Soviet-era Arktika class). There are plans for a series of even bigger icebreakers called the LK-120Ya (Leader) class, which will have propulsion power of 120 MW, travel at 24 knots in clear water and at 10-12 knots in 2 meter thick ice, and should have enough power to traverse any part of the Arctic Ocean all year round.

Even before this, Arctic shipping has been booming. Ports along the Northern Sea Route have seen a quadrupling of cargo since 2003 from 26.4 million tons in 2003 to 104.8 million tons by 2019 (if slipping to 96 million tons last year due to Corona). They now handle as much cargo every year as the entire Baltics, which have stagnated for more than a decade. Northern Sea Route freight routes began in the 1930s and reached a peak of 6.6 million tons of cargo transported in 1987, then declined to 1.5 million in the 1990s. In the past decade, though, they began a rapid recovery, reaching 4 million tons by 2014, 10 million tons in 2017, 20 million tons in 2018, 30 million tons by 2019, and 31.5 million tons in 2020. This represents a fivefold increase over peak Soviet rates, and unlike in the Soviet era, these are done under market conditions (i.e. we know they are profitable). Putin has set the goal of increasing this further to 80 million tons by 2025 and 120 million tons by 2030.

However, the most striking increase has been in Northern Sea Route transits, i.e. complete passages from Europe to East Asia. Though overall volumes remain low, the rate of increase has been astronomical (albeit with some sharp year to year variation). Though these began in the Soviet era, volumes were low at no more than a couple dozen ships carrying 200,000 tons per year. Meanwhile, after a false start in the early 2010s, there were 62 ships that made the journey in 2020 carrying 1.28 million tons of cargo. This is still only marginally above 0.1% of what passes through the Suez Canal, but given the much shorter distances (35%, or 5,000 km less) and no congestion issues, it is clearly the much more preferable option if the sea ice problem could be solved – which global warming and new generations of nuclear icebreakers are doing. So another way of looking at it is that there is huge scope for growth here. There is no reason why we shouldn’t see multiple OOM increases in NSR shipping up to the point of matching and even exceeding traffic along the Suez/Malacca route.

I called many of these developments in my 2012 article ARCS of Progress – the Arctic World In 2050. The cancelation of the natural resource supercycle in 2014 interrupted the rosier projections. Nonetheless, we seem to be getting back on track. The governor of Murmansk Dmitry Dmitriyenko’s prediction that cargo transport in the Northern Sea Route will increase tenfold by 2020 has come to pass – if anything, he was overly pessimistic (predicted 19 million tons, reality: 31.5 million tons).

https://twitter.com/RosatomGlobal/status/1374981833662869504

 

 

For various reasons I am upping my probability of intense fighting in the Donbass this year (probably this summer) to over 50%.

The Ukrainian buildup on the border continues. Wheeling in all those guns and equipment and letting them stand idle is expensive. The Americans have sent a cargo ship which is unloading more equipment in Odessa and a Global Hawk is making overflights over the Black Sea.

The other reason is that quite a few people I know who are connected with the Donbass are near certain about a coming conflict to an extent that I don’t recall seeing in years (this excerpt from a discussion featuring Igor Strelkov on Sergey Zadumov’s show is not unrepresentative). Expected timeline appears to be late April to July.

I covered the likely development and consequences of an escalation in another post from a week ago.

The Ukrainian Army is much stronger relative to the NAF than it was in 2014, so absent Russian intervention, the success of Ukraine’s “Operation Storm” is assured. There may be pro-Russian/Donbass cheerleaders who will claim otherwise, but the facts are that in 2014, the Ukrainian Army was dysfunctional, and the conflict was primarily fought by high-asabiya volunteers from both sides, with Russia lending its support to the rebels at critical moments. Today, after six years of spending 3.5% (SIPRI) or 5% (official numbers) of its GDP on the military – whatever the precise numbers, drastically higher than the 1% it was spending before 2014 – the Ukrainian military is much more capable. Meanwhile, most of the high-asabiya NAF volunteers have left and the bulk of it now consists of former Donbass miners collecting paychecks. This will now be more of a “classic” state vs. state struggle, and with Ukraine’s population and GDP being 8-10x bigger than that of the LDNR, the outcome of such a contest isn’t hard to guess. One can compare this with Karabakh War II, with the LDNR in the place of Armenia and Ukraine in the place of Azerbaijan (down to having received Turkish drones).

Putin can’t allow this to happen, so it will have to intervene, and more openly than in 2014. There will be a ramp up in American-European sanctions against Russia and what is very likely to be a last minute kibosh on NS2.

I would array the probabilities something like this:

  • 10% Russia allows Ukrainian Operation Storm to succeed
  • 50% Russia moves troops in forcing Ukrainians to retreat, but otherwise retains status quo
  • 25% chance it recognizes LDNR/officially incorporates it
  • 10% chance it expands LDNR to encompass the entire Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts and recognizes/incorporates it
  • 5% chance it expands elsewhere (e.g. Kharkov)

Probably much will depend on the kremlins’ read of the international situation. If it looks like the West would stop at symbolic sanctions, then it will opt for the “retain status quo” option. But it looks like the West unifying around Iran-tier sanctions, then it will have fewer disincentives to opt for the hardline options.

For the Ukraine, the optimal outcome would be to “sever” the LDNR for good while minimizing military deaths (bad for Ze’s ratings) and provoking the hardest possible Western sanctions regime against Russia. This will kill reclaiming the Donbass as a third rail of Ukrainian politics, alleviating nationalist pressure against Zelensky; it will foreclose any possibility of the Donbass being “shoved back” into Ukraine and bolstering Russophiles; and it will also save Ukraine billions of dollars worth of gas transit fees. It’s a risky gamble, but it might just work out for Ze.

 

Lu, J. G., Nisbett, R. E., & Morris, M. W. (2020). Why East Asians but not South Asians are underrepresented in leadership positions in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(9), 4590–4600.

(h/t Razib Khan)

Article makes the case that EAs are underrepresented (“bamboo ceiling”) because they “communicate less assertively” relative to both Whites and South Asians.

We provide evidence that the leadership attainment gap between EAs and SAs is not due to differences in motivation or prejudice: EAs were neither less hardworking norless motivated to take on leadership roles than SAs, and SAs actually faced greater prejudice than EAs. Similarly, this leadership attainment gap could not be explained by demographics such as birth country, English fluency, education level, and SES.Instead, cultural differences in assertiveness consistently explained the leadership attainment gap, suggesting that EAs are less likely to attain leadership positions partly because their low assertiveness is incongruent with how leaders are expected to communicate in the United States.

Remind you of anything?

Basically, it’s a mirror of “Coffee House” demographics patterns.

The authors do express some befuddlement in “Future Directions” as to why SAs do better than Whites. The reason is that non-conformism isn’t everything and that high IQ is also important. Indian-American IQ is higher than White IQ and even higher than East Asian IQ.

You need both high IQ and non-conformism to both be interesting and to “make it.” (Ultimate example of this is women, their IQ is basically similar to male, but they are much more “normie”).

The East Asian-descended politician and businessman operating in the West whom I internally regard as archetypal are Andrew Yang and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

I like both of them and they are fun Twitter follows. But in both cases, their leadership/”assertiveness” comes off more as a penchant for whimsical trolling. But it is instructive, as the article itself points out, that Andrew Yang practiced debate – a methodical/systemic approach to closing “gift of gab” gaps with his competitors. In the event, despite the studious practice, Yang’s performance in the Dem debates was substandard. He was unable to interject and the other candidates talked all over him.

In contrast, one thing that Indians definitely don’t suffer from is a dislike for the sound of their own voice:

By contrast, SA cultures encourage assertiveness in interpersonal communication. For example, as explained in Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s book The Argumentative Indian, there is a long tradition of argumentation and debate in India, where people “encounter masses of arguments and counterarguments spread over incessant debates and disputations”(p. 3).

The traditional way to explain this East Asian peculiarity is “Confucianism.” But considering the crispness of this differentiation by race and various pieces of data from way before Confucius even appeared (e.g. the earliest Chinese shaman-kings have Caucasian features) it’s very likely more of a Caucasian/Mongoloid difference.

 

(h/t @popdemography)

Anyhow, very good/comprehensive map, with almost surprises. The only thing that was a real TIL to me was the increase in Belgorod oblast, which is the green region next to Kharkov oblast in Ukraine. Its TFR is low like in most central Russian regions, but it’s apparently a popular destination for Russians from the Far North and for Ukrainian migrants (that is, those who don’t settle outside Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, and Krasnodar, which are the main destinations of internal Russia migration). It is a conservative region whose governor once banned public swearing.

BTW, the @popdemography account is well worth following, even if you don’t understand Russian.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Demographics, Eastern Europe, Map 
Why Western SJWs are the Real Racists

Bold but not entirely trollish interpretation of the Great Awokening.

Western – White American – culture remains hegemonic around the world, even as its economic and military preponderance slips away. Assuming this cultural hegemony remains intact, cultural “innovations” that arise in the imperial metropolis inevitably seep their way into the colonies.

This is obviously correct within the Core West, e.g. Europe. It also strongly applies to Latin America. The main barriers are low English language proficiency (e.g. Hungary relative to Poland), and strong authoritarian states (e.g. China, to a lesser extent Russia).

But these “innovations”, while creating some ferment – with the effects not even uniformly negative – occur in advanced societies over a prolonged period of time, allowing them scope to come to a symbiosis with the pathogen.

Meanwhile, in countries to which the Great Awokening comes as a “complete package”, the consequences can be more dramatic and indeed terminal, as Nikolay Trubetzkoy described with respect to socialism in The Struggle Between Europe and Mankind.

16% of Gen Z in the US now identify as LGBT. So “child-free” is likely to soar to German levels over the next decades. OTOH, Western countries have had a century or more of selection for “breeders”. Amongst those who do have children, the average birth sequence is soaring ahead of Latin America, India, multiple Muslim countries. Now think about the “triple whammy” that many of these non-Western countries are going to face this century:

(1) Demographic transition – thus far, a universal phenomenon that is in happening even in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole not notable in some regions/peoples, e.g. Kenyans, Christian Nigerians.

(2) In conjunction with well more than a century of post-Malthusian selection for breeders (France started earliest on this) that started much earlier than in the developed West.

(3) Once traditionalist barriers break down, as they always have, these Third World polities whose elites are in thrall to hegemonic Western culture will be culturally colonized to a much greater degree and more destructively so than was ever the case within the American noosphere, in which responses and adaptations to woke memes have co-evolved.

Non-nuclear smaller Powers that do offer up token resistance will be crushed by Woke Mil, which will remain functional at least so far as suppressing colonial revolts goes.

Just replace “socialist” with “woke” here:

Trubetzkoy emphasizes that socialism is just the latest expression of egocentric European pretensions to universality, rather than the road to salvation from European spiritual tyranny. As it relies on “militant cosmopolitanism” for its propagation, global socialism is only possible in the context of “universal Europeanization”. Once such a new world order is created, its champions will have to remain “armed to the teeth” to protect it – “The first order of business for the European socialist states would be to impose this system everywhere by fire and sword and then to exercise great vigilance to prevent apostasy”.

Palestinians these days are not doing so well relative to Israeli Jews, even in demographic terms. No reason the same won’t be true with respect to Anglo-Americans and Latinos half a century hence, or with respect to Europeans and Africans by 2100. Current Alt Right visions of a “rising tide of color” overwhelming white-world supremacy, of Eurabia, Reconquista, and Infinity Negroes, will be but amusing historical footnotes as the real racists – woke white Western supremacists – yet again reformat the world in their own image.

 

This week’s Open Thread.

Philippe LemoineThe Case against Lockdowns. I don’t agree with all of it (e.g., Ctrl-F for “centralized quarantine” shows zero hits and in retrospect, that and masks really seem to be key). But I have long since started to oppose lockdowns. If you’re not fundamentally serious about or incapable of suppressing Corona or even about rushing out vaccines in a timely manner, then you shouldn’t get in people’s way.

Noah Carl (RT)Two Georgetown academics have been CANCELLED because of a Zoom call. One talked about black students’ grades. The other nodded. One scenario in which I don’t mind people getting fired during an SJW hysteria is when the victims are apologetic about it. “Interestingly, both cancelled academics were resolutely contrite about the incident”. Cowardice must be punished.

Atlas ObscuraThe Brutal Bull-and-Bear Fights of 19th-Century California. (Spoiler: The bears won).

Paul KrugmanCompetitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession. Oldie but goodie. Krugman has since gone into TDS/ideologue mode, but his Peddling Prosperity was one of the books that influenced me early on.

 
• Tags: Open Thread 

Biden’s “killer” insult backfires as Putin challenges POTUS to a civilized live-streamed discussion. from russia

Though I realize that Putin’s call for a debate with Biden in response to Biden’s claim that Putin is a “killer” is a troll job on all sides, it strikes me that debates between heads of states are an interesting idea that need to be actualized.

If you think there is “ideological polarization” between Democrats and Republicans, Americans and Russians might as well live in different universes. Most people are too lazy to even think that the tropes and canards fed to them might be mistaken (e.g. see the American cope on Navalny’s failure to even minimally make waves against what many of them deeply feel is a Putler regime that is hated by the broad mass of Russians). A Biden – Putin debate will have highest viewership rates of any event in history and will at least force many observers into into finessing if not reassessing their positions in the direction of greater realism.

It also sets some useful precedents. It’s not such a big deal if you elect or appoint leaders who are dementia-riddled geezers blathering about the Russian Occupation Government or carnival barkers intent on “owning the libs”, but it would be a bigger deal if there’s an expectation that they would have to go up against foreign counterparts and be humiliated on the global stage on account of their idiocy and bad arguments. Making this into an international fixture should improve governance quality across the board. There will be a greater emphasis on selecting leaders who can win debates internationally on internationally objective merits, as opposed to providing rhetorical “comfort food” for their domestic partisans.

It also certainly beats the “traditional” method of international debating, cannons being the “the last argument of kings” – Louis XIV. E.g., imagine a debate between Biden and Xi Jinping on the status of Taiwan.

But could it happen? Almost certainly not. Blue Checks, SJWs, postmodernists have spent the past few years delegitimizing the very concept of debate (e.g. freeze peach; debate bros) as a way of selecting for truth:

Which, come to think of it, is highly ironic, given that it seems to be a sure way of pushing the world into a the direction of a technocratic globalism/soft One World Government.

 

From a speech yesterday:

If you look at our map, our big map, Crimea and Sevastopol look like a small dot, but we are talking about the restoration of historical justice. We are talking about the importance of this land for our country and our people. Why? It is very simple.

Our ancestors have been developing this territory since ancient times. In the 10th century a large part of it was simply incorporated into the Ancient Russian State. Prince Vladimir and his warriors were baptized here in Korsun or Chersonesus. This means that this is a sacred place, the centre of the formation of our spiritual unity. Eventually, this place became the foundation of the Russian nation and a united centralised Russian state.

This place is vital to our heart, soul and faith. But there is more to it. Later, in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries these lands fully returned to their lawful owner, the Russian Empire. When foreign hordes invaded our country in 1853–1856, and when it was attacked by Nazi invaders in 1941–1945, every part of this land was soaked in the blood of Russian and Soviet soldiers. Of course, this is a holy land for us, for Russia.

In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks, as they formed the Soviet Union, gave away vast territories, geopolitical spaces, for reasons still hard to understand, to quasi-state entities. Later, as they themselves collapsed, collapsed the party from within and destroyed the Soviet Union, Russia lost great territories and geopolitical spaces.

However, I would like to say that we are ready to live under today’s geopolitical conditions. Moreover, we treat our neighbours not only as geographical neighbours, we treat the peoples of those countries as fraternal peoples; we are ready to lend them our shoulder and give them a hand to ensure progress, to move ahead together by using our competitive advantages, which are many.

But we will never tolerate one thing – someone using Russia’s rich gifts to damage the Russian Federation. I hope this will be heard.

Agree with the sentiment or not as you will, but it always cracks me when I see Western takes that Putin is trying to restore the Soviet Union.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crimea, Nationalism, Russia, Speech, Vladimir Putin 

New Levada poll shows Russians decreasingly willing to identify Russia as a European country:

From 52% in 2008 (vs. 36%) to 29% in 2021 (vs. 64%).

However, perhaps even more tellingly, this percentage goes DOWN with age.

Just 23% of 18-24 y/o’s identify Russia as Europe, vs. 33% of 55%+ y/o’s.

Could it be that young Russians just have a self-hating “racist” vision of Russia as an oasis of “Asiatic barbarism” (and other Western tropes) while considering themselves to be “cultured Europeans”?

Nope, doesn’t appear to be the case either.

Speaking of themselves personally, 23% of 18-24 y/o Russians identify as European, vs. 31% of 55%+ y/o’s. That is, virtually the same figure as they give for Russia the country.

This suggests that anti-Putinism, which does become more pronounced at younger ages (though not really reaching any kind of solid majority), is not necessarily interlinked with increased Occidentopholia.

(This would make Russia unlike both the Ukraine and Belarus in that respect).

 

My own personal take is that Europe is for the most part a constructed identity. “Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong. Europe is a geographical expression.” – Bismarck.

However, to the extent that it exists, obviously Russia is far closer to it than to similarly constructed/artificial “Eastern” or “Asian” identities.

That said, it is often the more closely related cultures and nations that have the most acrimonious relations, and that is especially true with respect to modern Russia/European relations. With some minor exceptions in the Far Left and Far Right, who tend to use Russia as a blank canvass for their frustrations with their own regimes, Europeans and Americans are deeply hostile to Russia and Russians. Moreover, despite a much greater degree of economic policy convergence – the USSR is long gone – the cultural/values gap between Russia and the modern West of SJWism and CRT is arguably greater than during the Cold War. A degree of “social distancing” from them (in the current lingvo) and what passes for modern European identity is the optimal policy.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Europe, Generation Z, Opinion Poll, Russia 

There’s been reports of a Ukrainian military buildup in the Donbass for several weeks now. The Saker, amongst others, has also reported on them, quoting a Telegram blogger who is claimed to have good sources in Kiev:

“A while ago, an order came from the office of the old senile Biden to prepare the VSU for an offensive in the Donbass, but wait for the final go-ahead from the White House. At the same time, this source also said that similar military operations will be conducted in other countries where there are Russian interests, in order to deflect the public attention from the Donbass and weaken any support for the Donbass”.

My main reason for skepticism that the Ukrainians have serious aggressive intentions is that the Ukraine is still in no position to carry out an “Operation Storm” on the LDNR should Russia intervene.

But then again, as a recent report from Strana suggests, that might be the entire point.

They make the point that violations of the ceasefire are now routine. Old positions have been reoccupied, with the demarcation zone on the front line shrinking from a safe 2-3 km to just 400-700 meters. There is a high level of preparedness, permissions to go on leave are short, there are many videos of tanks and armored vehicles being transported in. The source notes that there has been studies of the recent Karabakh War, especially the usage of drones. (Ukraine acquired 12 Bayraktar drones from Turkey last year and is slated to acquire five more this year).

There has also been an intensification of patriotic rhetoric and a shutdown of pro-Opposition Bloc (more Russia leaning) opposition outlets with the approval of the US State Department. This campaign has led to a sharp fall in Ukrainian sentiment towards Russia back down to Poroshenko-era levels.

The NAF, to be clear, doesn’t stand any chance in a full scale Ukrainian assault. Even in 2014, when the Ukrainian Army was much less organized, Russian artillery and EW intervention proved critical. The Ukrainian military has since had more than half a decade of getting 5% of Ukraine’s GDP lavished on it. While Ukraine’s GDP is unimpressive, this is still a high numerator and Russian involvement would have to be more overt than in 2014 if the Donbass is to be saved.

Considering that 100,000’s of Donbass residents are now also Russian citizens, not doing so would discredit Putin domestically.

This, then, might be the game plan. By provoking a Russian intervention, it could finally provide the US with the arguments to finally pressure Germany into shutting down Nord Stream 2, just a few months before its projected completion. (Contra popular conceptions, Germany is more invested into NS2 than is Russia, and stands to lose relatively more from a last minute torpedoing of the project). NS2 threatens to deprive Ukraine of $2-3 billion dollars in annual transit fees. These are not insignificant sums for a country with a GDP of $150 billion and are well worth the lives of a few hundred Ukrainian soldiers, who – as Strana‘s sources report – plan to stop the offensive and probably retreat should Russian troops go in.

There is also another possible incentive that I have been made aware of thanks to Christelle Néantt at the Donbass Insider. She notes that the same publication has also reported that Christo Grozev, an employee with Bellingcat, an investigative media outlet that is widely reputed to be a sieve for British intelligence, reported to Alesya Batsman – the wife of Dmitry Gordon, a leading Ukrainian journalist – that he is filming an investigation on the Wagner Affair. This event, which nearly led to a breakdown in relations between Russia and Belarus in the middle of an attempted color revolution against Lukashenko, was a sting operation jointly organized by the Ukrainian SBU and American intelligence to lure Russian Wagner mercenaries to Ukraine. During the planned flight from Minsk to Istanbul, from where they were to go on to Venezuela, a passenger played by an SBU agent would pretend to fall ill, forcing the plane to land in Kiev. The Wagnerites would then be arrested. But somebody in the Ukrainian Presidential Administration – many sources speculate that it was Andrey Ermak, the head of the Presidential Administration – leaked the plans to the Belarusian KGB, possibly to avert an international incident with Belarus. But it then trickled over quickly to Russian intelligence and the Wagnerites were freed soon afterwards.

The film was originally scheduled for publication on March 15, but has since been postponed. Pyotr Poroshenko, who has been rising again in the polls, has been energetically pumping this story. One may then speculate that the US and Britain are blackmailing Zelensky into war by withholding the film. In this context, Zelensky’s increased bellicosity may thus not be so much intentional as an attempt to fob them off while stopping short of launching a war that he is sure to lose (the Bayraktars will not be much for a match for Su-35’s).

There’s another piece of the puzzle that slid into place today. Biden told Putin that “he will pay a price” for his “meddling” in the US elections on coming to power in January. Soon after, no other than RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan was in the LDNR, demanding that Russia take it home in a conference dedicated to the “Doctrine of the Russian Donbass.” I would say that this is unlikely to have been a coincidence.

 

Been a while since the last Belarus update. It looks like progress towards implementing Union State provisions continues, with some accomplishments including:

  • Mutual recognition of visas from third countries. (So getting a Russian visa will now enable you to visit Belarus as well).
  • Moves towards removing cell phone roaming.
  • Russia to recognize results of the Belarusian high school state exam.
  • Extension of deadlines of various military objects and creation of three common military training centers.
  • Moves towards registered the “Soyuz” (Union) party in Belarus, whose platform centers around integration.
  • Belarusian goods transit to use Russian instead of Lithuanian ports.

These I suppose are good developments from Russia’s perspective, given that Lukashenko may have been getting second thoughts about reneging on the integrations commitments he had made in return for Russian support during the abortive color revolution against him last year.

Meanwhile, a couple of interesting recent polls on what Belorussians think.

***

(1) First one is from Chatham House, a British neocon foundation that can hardly be accused of being pro-Russian: Что белорусы думают про политический кризис

This question concerns whom Belorussians voted for in the massively falsified 2020 elections that were the proximate triggers of the protests. Removing people who refused to answer it, we see that Tikhanovskaya got 57% vs. 24% for Lukashenko. This tallies with my own deductions from the beginning:

Moreover, balancing out regional unrepresentativeness – and then some – is the extreme degree of early voting, which was a truly incredible 42% in these elections (and 28% in the leaked protocols). Unsurprising, there’s a r= 0.66 correlation between % early voting and % Lukashenko vote share. Just considering the precincts with somewhat credible early voting shares (say, <20%) shows Lukashenko at perhaps 30% at best. So even with the above factor of Minsk overrepresentation counted in, it’s hard to see how Lukashenko could have possibly gotten more than 35%. Likewise, it is also hard to see how Tikhanovskaya could have gotten less than 50%, making her President without the need for a second round.

However, anti-Lukashenko’ism, as I have often voted, does not automatically equal anti-Russian zmagarism.

Given the option to choose a President from a wide variety of names, a plurality of Belorussians (29%) opt for imprisoned oligarch Viktor Babiriko, who was not allowed to participate in the election – although its far from clear what he would do were he to actually come in power, he has maintained the most pro-Russian rhetoric of the major opposition figures. Lukashenko is himself in second place at 27%, which is congruent with my statements that his real level of support is at around 30%. However, only 4% now endorse Tsikhanovskaya and her radical Atlanticist agenda of banning pro-Russian media and EU and NATO integration.

It would also come as a bad surprise to those who wish to see Russian influence ejected from Belarus that Putin maintains a net positive approval rating Belarus, with 54% positive and 28% negative. Unfortunately, there was no poll on feelings towards the Union State and the like – perhaps for reasons that correlate with this one. As we shall see below.

***

(2) The second poll is from OSW, a Polish based geopolitics think-tank.

What is your attitude towards the following political leaders?

Lukashenko’s approval rating is at 40% positive (this may actually represent a modest increase from the 30% he was at before the elections – after all, people like winners).

Meanwhile, it is Putin who actually has the highest approval rating – with this poll finding that 60% of Belorussians are positively disposed to him. A number that is barely different from the 65% he has with Russians.

What is your attitude towards the following countries?

What is your attitude towards the following nationalities?

Belorussians are best disposed towards Russia as a state and Russians as a people, while the least popular states amongst the ones surveyed are the US, Lithuania, and Ukraine. That said, there is no major beef with anyone.

But here are the really relevant questions.

What is your attitude towards the following political structures?

71% positive attitude towards the Union State with Russia. More so than the much richer EU at 62%, and drastically more so than NATO at just 23% (which the secret program of the opposition committed to joining).

Are you in favour of deepening the integration of Belarus and Russia within the Union State?

Of even greater relevance: 54% want deepened integration with Russia in the context of the Union State. Given the already existing level of ties, this means de facto merging into one country by any other name. There’s substantial opposition here, of course – 38%, and almost certainly an outright majority amongst the under 40s (who dominated the protests). But still, boomers do have a voice, no matter how much this annoys the “we wuz Litvins” youngsters who get “triggered” by the word “Belorussia”. 54% versus 38% is solidly legitimate from a “democratic” perspective.

Again, a reminder that this poll comes from a Polish, pro-NATO think tank. They have no incentive to “pad” the results in Russia’s favor and to the extent they reflect well on Russia they explain it through loaded terms such as the “regime’s propaganda.”

How do you evaluate the policy which the following countries have adopted towards Belarus during the current political crisis?

And while this is hardly a ringing endorsement of Russian actions during the protests, nor is it a condemnation or a vindication of Western/zmagarist claims that Putin coming down on Lukashenko’s side was going to “alienate” Belorussian society from Russia (to a greater extent than was already the case, at any rate). Not when an outright majority (52%) have a positive attitude towards Russian policy on Belarus during the unrest. In fact, to the extent that the Belorussians didn’t appreciate foreign involvement, it was sooner aimed against the Ukraine and the PR stunt they tried to pull with the Wagner mercenaries (an intel ops in coordination with the Americans to lure them into Ukrainian territory and arrest them, after the failure of which Ukraine put Lukashenko onto its “enemies of Ukraine” list and threatened Belarus with sanctions).

Still, it seems that the Belorussians are on the whole a phlegmatic people, used to being at the crossroads of empires, and were basically OK with everybody getting involved in their internal squabbles in net terms.

That said, there were a few questions that might be a cause for concern so far as Russian policy-makers are concerned.

Do you think that the policies of the following countries threaten the territorial integrity of Belarus?

This looks bad at first glance, but it is really just a factual statement. “Russia” is literally the correct answer.

What historical tradition should Belarus primarily draw upon?

This is portrayed as a drift towards Occidentophile sentiment by the Polish authors, since the numbers associating with the USSR is declining.

But to what extent does this reveal something real as opposed to Soviet boomers dying off and getting replaced by zoomers who identify more with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which some historians describe as a Rus state? Moreover, the Russian Empire isn’t even given as an option by the very considerate Poles. The most markedly zmagarist choices would be the Belarusian People’s Republic and the PLC, but between them, they only garner 22% of the vote – about the same percentage as those with a positive opinion of NATO, and I would guess largely overlapping.

Are you considering working abroad, and if so, where?

Probably the most concerning result in this poll is that Poland is now visibly ahead of Russia as a source of work. This is perhaps inevitable, given the wage differential between the two ($700 in Russia, $1,250 in Poland). Belorussians might like Russia and Russians more, but you can’t blame them for going where they’ll get more money; Poland has also made it bureaucratically very easy through the Polish Card, which requires having some Polish ancestors and a rudimentary knowledge of the Polish language (this is smart policy on the part of the Poles). Poland has had a very nice time economically since 2014, whereas Russia’s was marked by adjustment to lower oil prices and sanctions. Nonetheless, this could well be a temporary state of affairs for those exact same reasons – this transition has played itself out and Russia is in now in a better position to grow fast.

 

This week’s Open Thread.

Some interesting posts of note:

 

 
• Tags: Open Thread 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.