• Economics,  John Robb

    John Robb’s annoying moments

    On the whole, I like John Robb, his book Brave New War was thought provoking, and his upcoming book on Resilient Communities looks to be good as well.

    But then posts like this one anger me to no end. He goes over current world trends in apocolyptic tones and then closes with

    Except for the fanatical optimists, market mystics (the divine invisible hand), and the naive/uninformed, the debates over these trends are over.

    He always mentions the broad trends with no real mention of where economics might shift the current, instead he just brushes that off with the thesis (this is what I gather from reading him anyway) that practically all of the benevolent inputs are dynamic, whereas the benevolent inputs are static.

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  • Iran,  Israel,  Middle East

    The Israel lobby complex

    A question to my many readers

    I recently watched Hillary Clinton basically state that her administration would treat an attack on Israel as an attack on the United States. Charles Krauthammer makes a similar proposal in a column here. He is kind enough to give some reason as to why the US should assume this burden, specifically

    it will be said, because Israel could retaliate on its own. The problem is that Israel is a very small country with a small nuclear arsenal that could be destroyed in a first strike. During the Cold War, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. created vast and invulnerable submarine fleets to ensure a retaliatory strike and, thus, deterrence. The invulnerability and unimaginably massive size of this American nuclear arsenal would make a U.S. deterrent far more potent and reliable than any Israeli facsimile — and thus far more likely to keep the peace.

    If I remember correctly, Israel has nuclear missile submarines, which would make a successful Iranian first strike unlikely.

    The question is, does anyone seriously expect that Iran would be willing to gamble on a sixty percent change of annihilation, but not a 100% chance? Realistically that would be more like a 90% chance due to American political wavering, but let’s call it 100% for arguments sake.

    The obvious answer to this is “The Iranians are irrational” which is a claim not borne out be history. They’ve been quite skillful players of brinkmanship for years now. Evil and harmful yes, irrational and stupid, definitely not. Is there really that much value to pandering to the American fans of Israel?

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  • Quotes,  Sherman

    The quotable General Sherman

    I’m surprised that no one on the left has picked up this little Nugget from General Sherman, specifically

    You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

    Other favorites

    Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and defeat.

    Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other always.

    I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.

    Vox populi, vox humbug!

    War is, at its best, barbarism.

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