Brian Berletic of New Atlas, Alexander Mercouris of The Duran, and Yves Speak at 9 AM Eastern with Gonzalo Lira Hosting on China and Other Hot Topics

Yves here. We hope you’ll be able to watch this morning’s talk with Brian Berletic and Alexander Mercouris, moderated by Gonzalo Lira, either live or later on YouTube. We’ll definitely be talking about China and other topics if time permits.

Note that the countdown is confusing. This You Tube feature rounds down, so four hours and 50 minutes to showtime is reported as four hours.

Enjoy!

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78 comments

  1. Mark Gisleson

    I can’t believe this was three hours long, the time flied. Intelligent conversation, great points made. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Eureka Springs

    What a terrific group of people. Gonzo did us all a great service bringing you all together. So many things occurred to me along the way including the fact this is why and how 24 hour news channels failed us all. No depth, no substance, no attention span, no honesty or diversity in opinion beyond status quo. CNN and the rest ought to run things like this 3 times a day. If we ever decide we want democracy this is how people should be continuously informed rather than being lied to and dumbed down.

    Briefly glanced at the always nutty youtube chat and someone said, Yves is wearing no clothes. I said, not even a flea collar….)

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  3. Tom Pfotzer

    Gonzalo Lira said, my paraphrase, that the U.S. leadership class is provincial, self-entitled, self-reinforcing, and a bit vicious. They won’t give up power gracefully.

    He used the word “provincial” in the sense that these “elite” feel no need to understand others.

    If we can say that the NeoCons are the point of the spear, we have now outlined the shaft of the spear – the motive force and the source of political support for the NeoCons is, apparently, the very well-to-do, generational elite of our country.

    He also pointed out that the “industrialists” and the military are exercising restraint, and to no avail. They’ve been over-ruled. Alexander Mercouris said that he used to believe that industrialists ran the U.S. but clearly they don’t.

    So we’re starting to see the outline of the elephant, the “why” and the “who” of what’s gotten us into this colossal mess.

    Gonzalo Lira expects these “elite” to fight viciously to the end, and Yves and Alexander expressed hope that their fight may become progressively futile, and maybe of less duration than the elites expect.

    The goading of China, in particular the Pelosi visit, is an HDTV movie about the contrast of character between China’s and the U.S.’ “elite”, and the contrast of economies, and the contrast of political alliances.

    This fight is now all the way on. The U.S. has, as of this moment, lost control over it.

    There’s going to be an answer for this provocation. Not one answer, but now a long series of answers.

    == Thank you to each of the participants for taking time to do this talk. It’s such a pleasure to listen to people of your intellect and goodwill.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      “Alexander Mercouris said that he used to believe that industrialists ran the U.S. but clearly they don’t.”

      I believe he said this was the view of his Father, and that they used to have many arguments about it. On some of his own programs he has said that the thought our political class was much more like Britains’; a product of elite university foreign policy training at places like Yale. In the past he has said that he was astounded that these Atlanticists have had such an effect in Germany, where he always believed that the industrial classes ruled. Clearly they no longer have the pull that the shipping magnates in Greece still have or this European energy embargo would never have gotten off the planning table; they deep sixed Greek shipping bans of Russian oil the next day.

      Reply
      1. Karl

        Isn’t the MIC part of the “industrial” class?

        If Michael Hudson is right, all of the U.S. trade deficit can be understood essentially as the military overhead for preserving and extending U.S. global hegemony, which confers great benefits to our “satellites” in the EU and Japan (nil military expenditures of their own). Understood this way, the MIC is indeed the prime beneficiary, and probable driver, of U.S. foreign policy. With a further spike in tensions now, U.S. military budgets will increase. So will Russia’s and China’s, as they refuse to become compliant satellites. Given global supply chains, secondary and tertiary MIC component suppliers in the U.S. and abroad will benefit. All of the connected dots forms an arrow pointing to $$$$ to this sector, IMHO.

        Bonus: military deficit spending around the world will help stave off global recession. We do seem to be back in the 1930’s run up to war.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          Re MIC being part of the Industrial Class:

          I had thought about that too, but if even I could get that overtly stealing the assets of such as Russia would ultimately destroy the dollar hegemony which subsidizes everything foreign policy related one would think that those smarter than I would have twigged to it earlier and stopped the train before it left the station.

          Even hubris should have its’ limits, and nemesis was written all over that.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Empires tend to pivot internally when the not-empire world has developed sufficient resistance to them. With enough forewarning, the remains of the external empire can be cashed out to hire, train and equip a withdrawal to the domestic front, and what better excuse than an ill-advised war, likely to end badly and in embarrassment, to push that twice forward.

            Reply
        2. Tom Pfotzer

          Why risk world war for additional MIC proceeds? The MIC budget is already huge, highly profitable. Why not just keep the crazy to a low simmer, and clip coupons?

          I don’t think the MIC is interested in provoking war, they are interested in smooth operations of the gravy train.

          I think this point was also made during the panel discussion.

          I also don’t think the bump in MIC revenues – from war – would offset the revenue reductions in the rest of the economy. If war with China commences, the supply-chain adjustment mechanics are going to be expensive. Profits will fall.

          There’s something much bigger than incremental profits at stake here. The bets are way too big.

          Reply
          1. begob

            Orbis non suficit – the world is not enough: old motto of the Spanish Empire. I suppose if the people who dispose of power perceive no limits, God’s will jumps from being a metaphor to incarnate destiny. And since the exponential growth of digits in offshore bank accounts didn’t collapse in 2008, why should it ever?

            Reply
            1. nippersdad

              “I suppose if the people who dispose of power perceive no limits…”

              Sounds like:

              “The world is not enough, but it is such a perfect place…..to start.”

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI7KxEerCYo

              Maybe Elon and his fellow space tourists should all go to the gym and lay in a supply of red dresses, but if politics truly is “showbusiness for ugly people” they may need better front men/women to hedge their bets for them. I can’t see Nancy Pelosi pulling off that dress for long. :)

              Reply
          2. NN Cassandra

            I think part of explanation could be that MIC isn’t sentient being that can consciously set goals and then work towards them. Rather it’s result of random walk of evolution, where by trial and error we ended up with this conglomerate of think-tanks, NGOs, politicians and arm manufacturers with money & people flowing among them. And all the individuals can do is continue with what they did before (and what brought them success, money & power), incapable of recognition that their habitat has changed.

            Reply
            1. Kouros

              Corruption in plutocratic/oligarchic systems like in the US, together with maintaining of the status quo, is ensured by many networks that are highly interconnected.

              A factorial analysis that should include all the elements, including the latent ones, would be indeed useful.

              And for human societies, once leaders have managed to secure an enforcing arm to control the population, it was all a game of how to maintain said control and keep as much benefits as possible.

              Reply
            2. podcastkid

              I have heard some astute words on leaders not being adaptive and resilient lately. Some on either Roundtable 7 or 8, some on Political Misfits [Rumble, probably Wed or Thur’s show 8/3 or 8/4…the guy has a long last name]. Actually what they are up against seems to me is the inertia of old laws…that pile up and crowd society in a Kafkaesque manner. But then there are given schools of legal philosophy, which generate relatively more rules than other such schools. The thing Jacques Ellul called technique must be sometimes to the reader first encountering his work…an ineffable thing (and sometimes even to some old Ellul buffs like me). I take it as the inertia of these old laws when the powers that be aren’t being adaptive. The sum of all of them work at cross purposes and render up gridlock. In my own words…technique was always doing this beginning with the “dark satanic mills,” and thus preserving global gridlock [a whole gridlocked paradigm] to a degree. This was paradoxical, because technique started when many brain child methods to attain efficiency were all added together in one mindset (they were never as compatible as people were hoping, which yielded the impression of a machine mind making mistakes as it went along). As I think Ellul indicated, it was bound to get worse.

              One can do further analysis. Those whom technique runs over are “sacrificed”; and re those who go with technique…that can be explained by mimesis (imitation of model persons/types/sacrificers).

              “You complain of the aggression of foreign enemies; yet, if the foreign enemy were to cease from troubling, would Englishman really live at peace with Englishman? If the external danger by armed barbarians were to be stamped out, should we not be exposed to a fiercer and heavier civil bombardment on the home-front, in the shape of calumnies and injuries inflicted by the powerful upon their weaker fellow-citizens? You complain of crop-failures and famine; yet the greatest famines are made not by drought but by greed, and the most flagrant distress springs from profiteering.” later-on re-worded Saint Cyprian (born 210 CE, Carthage)

              Reply
      2. Tom Pfotzer

        Thanks for the clarification, and especially for the addn’l commentary. Since you have listened to other works of Mercouris, maybe you’ve got a feel for this next question.

        How can these “political class” people exist without an underpinning of wealth? If they can’t, as I expect, then what’s the basis for their wealth, if not industry? If the next answer is “coasting on rent-extraction”, then “what’s the rent being extracted from?”

        That’s a chain of interdependent questions; the links may not all be present.

        If the links, indeed, are all present, and the political class is dependent upon continued rent extractions from a Western economy that is no longer (as much) generating rents, and prospective (new sources) rent streams are now curtailed by internal actions of Russia and China, that begins to draw an interesting picture.

        A picture like what?

        a. Extreme. These recent actions in Ukraine and China are extreme. They’re major, the actions have results which are very different from what was “expected” or “announced”. The dynamics seem disjoint and highly costly, and expectations don’t seem to be managed toward realized outcomes.

        b. Desperation. The degree of costliness – what’s being sacrificed – is extraordinary. I can’t remember a time when so much has been bet, so quickly. What’s the big rush, and why the bet-the-house stakes?

        That indicates to me that the political class – these “elites” – are feeling cornered, as if they have to do something major, and do it now, and that no price is too big to pay. Hence the doubling-down. They are acting as though their survival as a class is threatened.

        Where do you think the point of fracture will be? The system – the global economy, and the U.S. empire is under great, and rapidly increasing stress. A fracture is demanded by the players; that’s what war is, to break something.

        What will break first?

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          “What will break first?”

          I am prolly the least able to answer this question of anyone in the commentariat, but here goes anyway.

          My view is that the neoliberal financial capitalist paradigm has always been viewed as parasitic by most of the proles. We, here in the US, have long been on a slow boil, as I am sure have those in the rest of the “collective West.” Most of the fat has been extracted here, maybe less so in Europe. I read somewhere that over fifty trillion dollars have been siphoned out of the economy to the top of the wealth scale in the past forty years now.

          We just about don’t have a middle class here anymore; we have a top twenty percent and two thirds of the nation living paycheck to paycheck. What is going to crack is when those who think themselves to be middle class cannot keep up the pretense anymore. We are one depression away from revolt in this country, and this is something that populists on both the left and right are aware of, even if the middle twenty percent PMC is not. That was the importance of the ’16 and ’20 presidential elections, and not one lost on the Democratic party which is now curtailing the ability of third parties to get on the ballot, much less allow progressive successes in their primaries.

          Blood is in the water, but those in power who live for the next quarter’s profit statements are hoping to hold it off for another financial year or two. It is a holding action.

          So you have this system that has been described as parasitic since Ross Perot’s “Giant sucking sound” became a thing, and “the suck” had to be exported in order to keep it going. The Clintons forgive no one, and it was they who had Russia in their sights back in the ’90’s. This, I think, is the last gasp of Clintonian foreign policy. Had Hillary won in ’16 she might have extended the life of financialized capitalism by taking on Russia while it was still weak, had our industrial titans not been quite so greedy they would not have empowered China to the degree they have; all this might have been averted had history not worked out as it did.

          But it hasn’t.

          Like a shark that musts keep cruising if it is to continue breathing, neoliberalism has met the tank that a White Shark cannot live in. It will bump up against its’ constraints until it dies. This is what our political class sees, and hence its’ desperate moves WRT Russia and China. Russia has proven our limitations and they are hopefully not willing to test China. If the “rules based order” is seen to fail in Europe and the collective west a homecoming may be in order, but it will not be a bunch of entitled octagenarians who will provide it. They will get their comeuppance at the ballot box this Fall when people cannot stand living with their forty year old kids who cannot help them with their health care bills anymore.

          The fever will break, and it will prolly break sooner rather than later.

          Reply
          1. flora

            I agree. The B admin changing the definition of a word doesn’t change reality. A recession by any other name would hurt as bad.

            From Edward Dowd, who isn’t as optimistic as the current Wall St. cheerleaders.

            ““These are not the droids you are looking for.” ~Obi Wan

            “The Biden administration thinks they are wielding the force…they are wielding clown like abilities to say we are not in a recession. ”

            https://gettr.com/post/p1ku4ff8d2e

            Reply
        2. Karl

          I speculate that cooler heads will prevail and prevent a “break” (excluding breakage contained within proxy wars). I have the rather cynical view that Western elites are smarter than they seem.

          One thing Yves said in the Roundtable that made a huge amount of sense: the MIC’s “sweet spot” is high tension but not hot war (I’m paraphrasing). I think this may also be true of our political elites and maybe even economic elites.

          Let’s consider the advantages of U.S.-manufactured tension, including tension over a proxy war: USA/EU/China/Russia are much easier to unify around “common enemies”. Certainly, unity around an external crisis with distraction from internal problems is what the doctor has ordered for an ailing and flailing America. It will help the proles to forget that they are being denied the benefits (e.g. decent health care and quality education) that are enjoyed by all citizens in our “satellites” Japan and EU (e.g. because their military security is provided free by the USA).

          Tension (without major breakage) also means that the Oligarchic wealth of elites worldwide will remain safe in the form of intact financial instruments. War is apt to make them worthless, frozen, or untappable. So, the Oligarchs of Russia, China, and the U.S. will limit the breakage to proxy wars only.

          Tension (without major breakage) also works to the advantage of Xi and Putin for similar reasons. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has undoubtedly greatly inflamed national pride and patriotic feeling within the PRC. Xi’s tough phone call with Biden, and Pelosi’s trip, undoubtedly strengthens his hand in the upcoming CCP Congress. Xi can save face by saying “we will choose the time and the place; but we WILL respond when least convenient to the USA.”

          My medium-term “base case scenario” is that the US/China/Russia/EU go back into their respective nation-centric corners, and there, gradually resuscitate national supply chains and manufacturing capacities. This will be a boon to domestic workers and wages in the advanced countries.

          In this base case I allow for “minor” breakage in the form of more proxy wars. Proxy wars are like controlled burns to manage otherwise unhealthy forests. Taiwan, like Ukraine and Syria, are minor powers that can be exploited for major-power controlled burns. The general agreement in the Roundtable seemed to be that China may do a controlled burn in Taiwan. I don’t consider this to be an unmanageable break, if the U.S. doesn’t over-react. The proper U.S. response to this controlled burn (as with the similar burn in Ukraine) will be more cathartic bellicosity, bigger MIC budgets, and more CHIPS+ type subsidies to restore US manufacturing prowess.

          IMHO, proxy wars are the new status quo mode of keeping the major powers from collapsing internally and fighting each other directly. Of course, this prevents multi-national unity around saving the Planet, which serves the fossil fuel interests of all involved.

          Long term base case scenario: we’re all toast because these “controlled burns” are burning the planet.

          Reply
          1. Mikel

            “…the MIC’s “sweet spot” is high tension but not hot war (I’m paraphrasing).”

            Also known as “divide and conquer.”
            Here and abroad.

            Reply
          2. Mikel

            There’s a major problem with your thesis. You are talking about extremists. Extremists lose control holding onto fanatical ideologies.

            The alleged leadership of the USA is not groomed to be “nation-centric.” They are globally “class-centric.”

            Reply
        3. Tom Pfotzer

          Whenever I have to predict failure in a complex machine, I ask two questions:

          a. What forces are going to be applied – what direction, how strong, and
          b. What are the load-bearing parts of the machine, since that’s where the force will actually be applied

          The rest of it is just “where’s the weakest link in the chain” and there’s your likeliest fail-point.

          So the forces are:

          a. Economic. Take something away
          b. Military. Bust something on purpose, and do it good

          Note that I didn’t include any domestic / democratic politics as “forces”. I assert that domestic U.S. politics is currently non-functional. Even the illusion of political franchise has been dispatched.

          Load-bearing parts:

          a. Trade flows – that delicate web of ship traffic between the China and the U.S..
          b. Companies depending on those trade flows
          c. Families depending upon those companies’ revenue/profit streams
          d. Families depending upon those goods (from U.S., and from China)
          e. Financial assets, like dollar-denominated savings, Chinese equities, and foreign direct investments
          f. Domestic economic activity (GDP)
          g. Our allies’ GDP, esp. Japan, Taiwan and S. Korea
          h. Productive facilities in the event of war
          i. War-making machinery, in the event of war
          j. Spirit

          The forces exerted between U.S. and China will start with, and hopefully remain – on trade. That’s already been tried (Trump admin) and now it’s going to get notched up, a lot. The trade disruptions will hurt the U.S. more than China, I think that’s a safe bet.

          I think China is going to initiate the next round of the trade war. And my bet is that any further direct investment into China from the U.S. will be fully curtailed, and financial investments in China by U.S. entities are going to get devalued in some way. Pressure will be applied directly onto the U.S. oligarchs / elites’ pocketbook and future rent-extraction prospects. That is, after all, what this whole thing is about.

          This “taking things away” can go on for years, and it’s all quite economically and psychologically disruptive. Fills the newspapers and blogs with drip-drip-drip.

          What I find interesting is “will the families who own the harmed industries be affected, and will that harm be evenly or unevenly distributed, and if it’s unevenly distributed, will that lack of parity cause discord”.

          The proxy war technique used in Ukraine seems possible with Taiwan, but not elsewhere, and Taiwan as proxy may get pre-emptively taken off the table by China. This is somewhat risky, but it makes a lot of sense for China to do this, and I believe it can. Russia invaded Ukraine. China will invade or blockade or severely restrain travel and commerce between Taiwan and the U.S.

          I don’t see direct military confrontation between China and U.S. until those first steps have be explored.

          What will break first?

          The resolve of the US, including and maybe especially the resolve of the “elites”.

          China is going to outlast the U.S.. This is a game of cultural resolve, and the U.S. oligarchs have spent the last few decades corroding our national resolve, so that no one could resist their disaster-based pillaging. What they did to us, they did to themselves. Jeffrey Epstein. Boris Johnson. Clintons. Trump. Emblematic of decay.

          Reap what you sow.

          Reply
          1. Mikel

            The country that first comes out of denial will have the population most equipped to deal with hardship.

            .

            Reply
          2. Susan the Other

            Very interesting analysis. We won’t find that at the State Department – which is classic tragedy because it always hangs on to vested old paranoia – that is what our State does – they are almost untrainable. I’d suggest we just abolish the “State Department” but that confounds all the thinking that got us to this point. As Darwin predicted. So it’s evolution and we should go with it. We need to adapt because we are not the end-all of civilization. In fact we might be at the very beginning of a human evolution that can analyze things rationally. Let us not proceeds to put on hats with feathers and screw up the whole future of possibilities.

            Reply
      3. .Tom

        It’s worse than either model. The White House became, under Trump, and remains now, incoherent and impressionable. Neocon blobsters influence the president as much as industrialists, bankers, and consultants. The ideas they present that the president chooses to support are unpredictable, inconsistent, and unstable.

        Hence Xi may be right to say that the current regime is unable to make agreements

        Reply
      4. Brunches with Cats

        Yes, nippersdad, it was his father. IIRC, he described him as a “die-hard Marxist” who believed that the U.S. was run by big business — to which Alexander argued, if I understand correctly (note caveat), that deindustrialization is de facto evidence that big business can’t bend the U.S. Government to its will. I couldn’t disagree more.

        He’s right, of course, about the implications of deindustrialization, for both the U.S. economy overall and for the national security. However, it doesn’t follow that this tragedy resulted from big business not getting its way. To the contrary, I would argue that manufacturers wanted to move offshore for cheap labor and proximity to emerging markets, and they were most effective at directing the USG to remove all obstacles to their doing so. Further, not all “big business” is industrial. Telephone, cable TV, internet, electric utilities, agribusinesses, healthcare and insurance companies, and dozens of special interest lobbies not only get what they want, but often they write the draft bills in Congress — and almost always to the detriment of the proletariat, who have no means to push back. If I’d been there, I’d have likely sided with the elder Mercouris.

        IMO, discounting or ignoring the influence of “big business” on the U.S. government is a grievous oversight. I’ll have more to say on that in a bit, but for now just want to add to the praise for this estimable panel. There was a palpable chemistry among the participants, their mix of professional knowledge and personal experience bouncing off each other for a truly educational and enlightening presentation. That goes for the moderator, too. IMO, Gonzalo has found his real talent — not that he’s so bad on his own, but he seems to excel at bringing out the best in others, in no small part because his own background enables him to ask targeted questions and stay on point in a meaty, fast-paced conversation. I listened to the entire livestream during my morning routine, and when it was over was shocked by how much time had passed.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          That is a good point. Those who populate our State Department and the CIA, however, do not have mercantile backgrounds. They are almost exclusively produced by Ivy League institutions and NGO’s.

          Mercouris often cites the problems with the Russian economy largely being in the consumer product industries. Seems like most of our offshored industry is in consumer products; at one point several years ago I was reading about the potential for live chickens being sent to China for processing and then reimported. That sounded like an idea proposed by an MBA. I certainly may be wrong, but someone needed to tell our Ivy Leaguers that those were not the only exposure our economy had with Russia.

          Word to the wise at State: If you want to start a war, please make sure that you can feed the troops without resort to begging those with the oil and fertilizer to do you any favors.

          Reply
        2. natureboy

          I have great respect for Mercouris’s geopolitical analysis — surely he’s one of the best. But I do think he has a blind spot re capitalism. To your point I would add that US foreign policy has always been all about making the world “safe” for Anerican business. And domestic policy has always been all about keeping labor squashed (tho some breathing space was allowed during the Cold War). Same goes for environmental concerns, health care policy etc etc etc. If business interests do not actually “run” the US govt, they sure do have a way of making things comfortable.

          I’ll add that Mercouris may be too focused on Europe, where feckless govts subservient to an occupying power are destroying their own industry. He appeared to agree with Berletic’s opinion that Euro govts are essentially owned by DC. Now is it accidental that US, oil, defense, ag, and prob many others stand to benefit?

          Reply
          1. Brunches with Cats

            “Making the world ‘safe’ for American business,” ha! I need to use that instead of my long explanations. Speaking of which, I just wrote a long comment in four parts expanding on the above; about to post it below, but first wanted to check on response to the above.

            As for Mercouris, he’s so strong in his areas of expertise that he can be forgiven for the blind spots you describe. And it’s not just him. Europeans who haven’t lived here can’t even imagine what it’s like to have to fend for oneself for medical and dental care (and pay through the nose for it). As someone said this morning, they get their impressions about the U.S. from Hollywood.

            Anyway, thanks to both of you (natureboy and nippersdad) for the additional insights.

            Reply
        3. Mikel

          I would have thrown two other words at that comment about the lack of influence of big business on the US govt: Goldman Sachs and BlackRock.

          And the Fed is a bunch of bankers.Not elected govt. officials.

          As for other countries in the Western sphere, has Alexander ever heard of the City of London?

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This is a complicated topic and we didn’t have time to go into it.

            First, as Michael Hudson has explained repeatedly and long form, financial capitalism has come to dominate industrial capitalism. So the losers that Mercouris sees are significantly but not entirely real economy concerns. Like the German Mittelstand….which in the majority and perhaps overwhelming majority of cases uses gas.

            In Brexit, businesses were scared of speaking up because word went out they’d be punished. And the finance lobbyists were in lala land as to what the EU might agree to to save London as a financial center, when there’s no compelling reason aside for London to remain dominant.

            Second is the great rise in importance of multinational businesses. The extreme case is oil companies, where the majors have long conducted their own foreign policy.

            Reply
    2. Offtrail

      Fundamentally the “shaft of the spear” is the belief in American Exceptionalism shared by most Americans, not just the elites. We are so self-absorbed and delusional that it will take a major shock for us to change course.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What is the opposite of “American Exceptionalism”? I would suggest ” American Ordinarianism”.
        If that phrase could somehow be injected into the public mind and spread around some, people might have some actual words to begin thinking their way out of “American Exceptionalism” with.

        Perhaps we should speak of Make America O K Again ( MAOKA). Maybe we could even make MAOKA hats. ” MAOKA”? ” Make America O K Again” or Make America OKay Again, if that scans better.

        I am an American Okayness Ordinarian. Make America O K Again. American Exceptionalism is too expensive. America needs a Cheaper Dream.

        Reply
  4. nippersdad

    This was very well done! The hours fled, as Mark Gisleson has said, and I feel much better informed as a result.

    Thank you all!

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Having more trouble than you with English and so needing a rest from time to time, hours didn’t fled for me but yet it was worth the effort indeed.

      At some point, I was thinking in quite a selfish way, what could I do to somehow protect savings my family has invested in mutual finds in the event of things turning ugly in Taiwan. I hope you can forgive me for this but I was wanting to protect many many years of savings that we sorely need and will probably volatilize very fast.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        I have no doubt that your English is better than anything I might try my own hand at. If you were keeping up you were doing better than I in another language without subtitles. If not actually a provincial, I will admit to being provincially adjacent.

        A few days after the Russian SMO started, on a whim, I tried to buy Rubles here in the US without success (“I could have been a playuh!”). Whatever they might have said at the time, that, right there, told me how frightened the US PTB were about the potential for some damaging exchange arbitrage. It was not the move one might expect those confident in their actions to pursue. There is nothing selfish about protecting yourself, and if you come up with a good way of hedging your bets I hope you will come back here and tell everyone about it.

        On the plus side, as I believe Yves pointed out, there is little upside for the US to engage in a hot war with China. Unrest is about all we can safely manage, and there are profits in it that can not be found in being financially wiped out. IMHO, your mutual funds will prolly be safe for a while.

        Reply
  5. Irrational

    Amazing discussion.
    Thanks to all of you, even if it left me pretty depressed.
    Btw, when I tried to google which countries recognizes Taiwan (practically as soon as Yves mentioned it), I got the page of 13 countries + Vatican as top hit, no doctoring of search results.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I had to save what came up first, it was so appalling.

      To the search: countries that recognize Taiwan

      Some 59 countries (as well as the European Union, Hong Kong, and Macau) have established unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan/RoC, including the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

      As a snippet from this:

      https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/countries-that-recognize-taiwan

      Which if you click on the link is an extreme cherry-picking.

      Reply
  6. LawnDart

    I rarely watch these, but what a combo– well worth the time.

    I have one important point that I feel was entirelly overlooked by the panelists, and just so obvious that I feel raises questions about the credibility and awareness of the panel, one that readers will want to know: who is the kitty?

    [And LD runs like hell– I’m outta here before Yves smacks me with a shoe!]

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      I’m betting it is a male name starting with a B (it is escaping me); her favorite cat with the Dune spice eyes.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      There is no reason to expect you to remember the name of a cat, particularly one you never met in the flesh.

      Yes, the cat was Blake, named for the poet. I had trouble naming him, his first humans called him Lover Boy (the children were in charge of that and they were unduly Disney-influenced) and were thinking of changing that to Leonardo DiCatrio. He was very sad when he first showed up, he missed his former humans. I felt guilty and almost returned him.

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/01/blake-r-i-p.html

      Reply
      1. Skippy

        Was going to mention the pulsating to your voice image of Blake last pod cast …. mesmerizing …. look deep into my eyes and my fine image …. and thus will ever be with us all …

        Reply
  7. Ael

    The discussion was almost entirely about how various (large scale) dynamics are interacting to shape the evolution of our world. In contrast, current media is always nattering about personality and blame e.g. “Putin’s price hike”.

    I expect this illustrates the difference between explanation and persuasion in discourse.

    Reply
  8. Carolinian

    Thanks for this. Unfortunately my hamster wheel internet system keeps buffering up and I’ll have to download and listen to the rest later.

    I do think, though, that while the “all politics are local” explanation works for Pelosi there’s a deep statey angle as well since our money dominated political system is designed to ensure that mediocrities like her and Biden rise to the top where they can be manipulated. Many of us these days have a feeling of helplessness, and good to hear from others who share the frustration. If guillotines are on order it seems to be a back order.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      “If guillotines are on order it seems to be a back order.”

      LOL! I like your black humor.

      The Ikea ones are out of stock due to energy and raw material constraints in their manufacture, China doesn’t want to be blamed so those containers are being held back at Shenzen. I see a low tech market ready to be exploited here at home. Russia may not be the ones to sell us the rope we hang ourselves with after all, it will be home grown venture capital firms.

      One can easily see the opportunists at Bain Capital investing in such an opportunity once they get all of their former Mossad agents ready to defend the gates. Maybe they can get Romney to hand out checks on the Senate floor so that this bit of industrial rehoming can be greased through like the Intel subsidy was.

      Reply
  9. Bart Hansen

    Toward the end someone expressed the hope that the next president, likely a Republican, would bring in a better staff of foreign advisors.

    Assuming the next president will be someone like Trump or Di Santis, recall that Trump chose Pompeo, a man who was openly waiting for the rapture. Next we may well get Senator Cotton as Secretary of State, who will be hoping for war.

    Reply
    1. darren price

      At this point anyone who still thinks there is any faction or leader in US politics – left or right, Democrat or Republican – that will dial down the war fever and rediscover diplomacy and the concept of national sovereignty is blinded by partisanship and out-of-touch with reality.

      But, sadly, there are still plenty of people who think the Republicans offer a genuine, non-imperialistic alternative to the Democrats. The feckless nature of the Democratic Party has made it very easy for the right to portray itself as the “sane” antiwar, pro-free speech alternative and many leftish people buy into it. Even Code Pink tweeted about Marjorie Taylor Green (of all people) outflanking Democrats “to the left”. This is absolute nonsense and it only “makes sense” if you spend too much time in Twitter echo chambers and don’t pay attention to context.

      Some Republican saying “free Julian Assange!” or “I don’t want war with Russia” means absolutely nothing. Didn’t candidate Obama say a bunch of sensible stuff too? Trump too for that matter. How’d that turn out? Pay attention to actions, not only words. It’s actually quite bizarre how even as the supposedly populist right merges with neocon hawks, particularly on China, many are still willing to blindly and naively trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt.

      Reply
  10. Stephen

    I managed to watch this and it was a great discussion. Three hours went very fast.

    The point you made Yves that the end of Empire is closer than people think feels correct. After all, even in 1945 most British people still had no real idea that the game of empire was up; yet by 1956 it was clear that we could not even run a foreign policy independent of the US. Even in cooperation with France. The end was rapid when it came.

    My caveat though would be that the perception of empire often continues for longer amongst the foreign policy and military elites. Perhaps with the public too.

    The UK still often thinks of itself as playing beyond its true power. Johnson seeking to play Churchill in the Ukraine crisis was one manifestation of that. What helped was that the transition from Britain to the US could be thought of as a hand over to a similar English speaking nation. The foreign policy elites could also think that the “Special Relationship” that they are so fond of was a way to maintain the pretense of global reach.

    The difference this time around is that the end of the US empire is effectively the end of the west’s total hegemony over the world too; rather than what can be portrayed as a handing over of the baton. It is a much more significant change. Perhaps that will mean that US (and other western) expectations will adjust more quickly and without more armed conflict. Given how significant a transformation this is. But history suggests that the end of Empire is always messy and I am not optimistic either!

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      I may be completely wrong about this, but there is a difference in the world view of the US population vs, the British that is relevant, here: no one ever called the British a nation of provincials. Whether one likes to admit it or not, the British public could identify Bosnia Herzegovina on a map prior to WWI, I doubt many USians can now that we are back in the Balkans with a hundred years worth of hindsight in tow.

      I think support may be wide, but it is about a millimeter thick and weighs about a gram against the last time we filled the tank. The British admired Churchhill, we (for some definition…) admire the Kardashians. I think that may be an angle that is not widely appreciated. We can fill our gas tanks without an empire, and if the empire gets in the way of that then it is prolly about the time to lose it.

      Reply
      1. Stephen

        Thanks. This makes sense.

        The challenge might be the extent to which empire has become (wrongly) conflated with the virtues of liberty, democracy and freedom that I do think most Americans (to their credit) support. The empire never bluntly states that it is an empire. Hopefully, the provincialism will win through though.

        Reply
      2. digi_owl

        I dunno. There is a line from old man Churchill about not even knowing where Korea was before war broke out there between north and south.

        Reply
        1. Stephen

          The British population as a whole is quite provincial for sure. More so pre 1945 than today. Yves quoted a statistic about only 20% or so of Americans having passports. Other than the groups who garrisoned and administered the empire, the British were no better traveled at the height of the empire either.

          Just like in the case of the US the empire was driven by elites and opportunists who then sought top down to unify the population around imperialism and to sell it as a moral endeavour. Same playbook in the US today and this is what creates the challenge.

          Ending it needs a shock that changes elite mindsets. Revolutions in reality rarely come from below. We had WW1 and then WW2. I hope the shock needed is nothing like those events.

          Reply
      3. c_heale

        I would say the people who voted for Brexit are a sub-nation of provincials. And they are running the UK at the moment.

        As a Brit who grew up up in the UK (I now live abroad), many, many British people have relatively little knowledge about other countries, and are very arrogant about the UK’s position in the world.

        Set against that, until Brexit, there were increasing numbers of people who spent a lot of time in continental Europe, and post second world war immigrants also have a much wider knowledge of the world.

        Reply
  11. hemeantwell

    Great job by all. I agree with Yves that this is a watershed moment internationally, one unlike any of us have lived through. Running against the discouraging vein is my hope that we’re seeing a parallel watershed developing, in which the MSM cannot recover from its record of disgrace and must yield to efforts like this. How can we further that?

    Reply
  12. jsn

    “Maximizes arms sales” without further investment in plane: even our arms manufacturers want to buy back all their shares and walk away with the money rather than invest in expanding capacity.

    This may be the only thing we can thank them for. If they were investing like the Russians and Chinese have, we might be looking at a major non-nuclear hot war.

    Reply
    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The defining “technology” of USA weapons has become “political engineering.” The B-1 bomber program, the contract for $1.5B or so design/development and 4 prototypes for $25M flyaway cost each was let to North American Rockwell about 1970, proved its worth. The Vietnam War was undeniably on its way into the crapper, the military was deeply unpopular, and the USAF brass and the contractor were concerned the contract would be canceled by a hostile Congress. So they decided to spread the subcontracts around to a minimum of 35 states and 250 Congressional districts. I may not have the exact numbers correct but you get the idea. Because industries tend to coalesce in just a handful of areas in a large country (think Detroit re cars, the South Bay area of California for semiconductors, etc.) new subcontracting firms had to be sourced, and even when an existing sub set up a new office or factory in Elephant’s Breath Montana, no local people were experienced in the industry and it was difficult to convince employees to transfer.

      By the mid 70s it was apparent the program was in trouble, both performance and budget wise. The first prototype, carrying the equivalent weight of a combat load, could barely get up beyond 30K feet. This at a time when commercial jets were cruising at nearly 40K. And when gravity bombs were released they tended to tumble, making accurate aiming all but impossible. To counter this they developed a retractable arm that extended the bomb down past the slipstream before releasing it. This, added nearly a ton of weight to the aircraft.

      Budget wise the flyaway cost was closing in on $75M, 3x the contract amount. Meanwhile the USAF brass thought they had found a suitably harmless billet for the tenaciously troublesome Col. John Boyd’s last dance before retirement. It was a small auditing unit but the colonel used his contacts to get an assignment to look into the B-1 program in addition to the routine nickle and dime stuff the group usually dealt with. Boyd’s gang developed an exhaustive report even as they gave the program the benefit of the doubt at every turn demonstrating if the program was extended as planned it would eat the USAF’s entire procurement budget for years. So the program was killed by the outgoing Ford administration, but in such a way that the blame fell on Carter & Co.

      But the B-1 proved to be a zombie. During the Reagan era military build up the senators from those 35 states and the Congress critters from the 250 districts demanded their pieces of the action in the form of a resurrected B-1, and they got it. But even with the design changes to address the most glaring of its shortcomings, the B-1 was not used at all in Desert Storm IIRC, and in Bush 43’s war it only came on the scene after Iraq’s air defense forces had been obliterated. You can’t polish a t**d as they say.

      Political engineering has a lot to do with both the high costs and chronic performance issues that have become endemic of MICIMATTIC’s* contracts with the US government.

      * Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Media Academic Think Tank Complex – per Ray McGovern

      Reply
  13. Cesar Jeopardy

    An excellent talk. I enjoyed it very much.

    I doubt that the U.S. can ever change and will always view other countries as enemies. The American people are just too ignorant to do what they must do because of the effort involved: change their thinking on Russia, China, etc.

    Reply
  14. HotFlash

    Most admirable discussion, many thanks to The Lady Yves, to Messrs Mercouri and Berletic, and to M Lira — most excellent panel and superb moderation. So glad I watched to the end, as if I had not I would have been even more pessimistic about the future, which I didn’t think was possible.

    Since we do not seem to have any adults in charge here in the West, and if there are any saner heads, they are not prevailing. I now hope that WHEN the US gets gets its well-deserved slapdown from actual superpowers, it is decisive but spares us proles. Perhaps we should be learning another language. I am comforted by the thought of an actual competent government tackling real threats, such as Covid and climate change.

    Reply
  15. Susan the other

    I think my comment got lost in the ether. I’ll just add that this is the best interview/discussion I have ever listened to. In all my years. More please.

    Reply
  16. Mikel

    That manipulated stock market run up during the earlier days of the Covid pandemic was getting the wealthy comfortable before all the discomfort starts. The global provocations were already coming.

    The rest of the country was sent $1200 dollars and put on means tested benefits and other designed to fail programs. Then people were told that caused the sham (and forever changing) inflation metrics to go haywire.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      I would be really interested to know how those millionaires in Congress figured out how the proles can live for a year or two on a thousand dollars. They have a much higher opinion of our home economics skillset than I do.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    A great round-table discussion this. Listened to most of it last night and am about to listen to the rest of it. The most disturbing part is where “we” have now made ourselves an existential enemy of China. Now that they know for sure that the US and the rest of ‘the west’ is coming for them and the gloves will be off, they will prepare accordingly. They may now develop their own list of ‘unfriendly countries’ and they may, for example, deny trade with most EU countries – which would be really bad news for the EU considering how they have wrecked their economies.

    It probably won’t be a Pacific war like back in WW2 but may be an economic war in that all trade will cease with China – as in all of it. From what Yves says, we may be walking barefoot after several months as all our shoes are now made in China. China can get along without trade from the US & the West just fine. But us? Economically we will be like a beached whale gasping for air and the rest of the world will not be rushing to our aid. Not after how we try to suck them dry. And is the US gunna threaten to nuke China if they do not resume trade and give us all our spare parts, including our military?

    Might be wise to see what dependencies that we have for China in our own lives – and prepare accordingly.

    Reply
  18. Brunches with Cats

    Repeating the high praise for this roundtable discussion. Despite the length, it should be a must-watch/listen, both as antidote and prophylactic for epidemic insanity.

    To continue a point I made above, I believe it’s a big mistake to underestimate or outright dismiss the influence of “big business” in U.S. foreign policy. In the case of Ukraine, I doubt it’s possible to overstate the role of U.S. multinationals. I would go so far as to call it one of the driving forces of the war.

    I’ve been arguing for decades that the main goal of U.S. foreign policy is to clear the path for U.S. multinational corporations overseas (and have commented to that effect on NC). That, in a nutshell, is Job 1 for the U.S. State Department and its sidekick, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The agency’s website says as much. There are two versions, depending on where you land:

    Our Mission–To protect and promote U.S. security, prosperity, and democratic values and shape an international environment in which all Americans can thrive. Alternatively:

    The Department of State leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity.
    https://www.state.gov/about/
    https://diplomacy.state.gov/diplomacy/what-is-the-mission-of-the-u-s-department-of-state/

    In other words, “What’s good for business is good for America.” It doesn’t even pretend to care about the “security” and “prosperity” of the people whose countries it sets up for looting by U.S. multinationals. And isn’t it telling that they refer to their foreign outposts as “missions.” To me, that evokes an image of Christian missionaries promoting literacy among the savages through Bible studies and a few free meals. But I digress …

    The State Department’s methods for “clearing the path” for U.S. corporations include pressuring or otherwise “persuading” foreign governments to pass legislation favorable for U.S. businesses, sometimes even for a specific company; and helping U.S. enterprises beat the competition from other countries — for example, by introducing them to the right oligarch, collecting and sharing intelligence on foreign competitors, coaching them on who to bribe and how much. I’m not making this up. I briefly had a ringside seat to this collaborative process(/s) while working as a reporter for business and trade newsletters in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

    I’ve written a VERY long comment, so am splitting up in four parts. Parts II-IV coming right up…

    Reply
  19. Brunches with Cats

    Part II/IV — At one point, I worked a block from a USAID suburban satellite office and used to hang out from time to time with the rep there. Our off-the-record conversations were most informative. I also attended several technical conferences, some of them overseas, where I met many of these corporations’ foreign liaisons. Typically, the conference schedule would include day trips to sites of interest, in which case there was plenty of time on the bus to pick some brains. In the evening, I had drinks with them. One of the big players at the time was Becthel, which, ironically, was competing for contracts to build coal-fired power plants in India and China, with USAID support. I vaguely recall that their main competitor was a German company that was rumored to have a bottomless “expense account.”

    Getting back to Ukraine, NC reader Robert C posted a link, I believe in March or April, to a Ukrainian government site promoting direct foreign investment opportunities. There are detailed profiles for each sector of the Ukraine economy, including a list of the foreign companies that already have a presence in Ukraine. The list of U.S. companies will surprise no one here. Nor will you be shocked that the documentation was all prepared by Ernst&Young, with funding from USAID. Here’s the master list with links to the separate dossiers:
    https://ukraineinvest.gov.ua/fdi-strategy/

    In addition, there’s newer report on private investment “opportunities” in rebuilding postwar Ukraine. As of June 9, 2022, the Ukraine governments estimated the cost of restoration at $104 billion. One might think the red flags raised by wholesale contractor fraud in postwar Iraq would be enough to blot out the wave of blue and yellow. Then again, as someone noted on today’s panel (Gonzalo?), there will always be those who will betray their compatriots for a piece of the grift.
    https://ukraineinvest.gov.ua/guide/

    And there is even more at stake. …

    Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      Part III/IV—In a little over a year, the market for hundreds of thousands of acres of the world’s most fertile farmland could be opened to foreign buyers.

      Currently, purchase is limited to Ukrainian nationals, individuals only, and limited to 100 hectares (just under 250 acres). In January 2024, the limit will increase to 10,000 hectares, and companies with majority ownership by Ukrainian nationals will be allowed to buy it. It can hardly be a coincidence that it was Zelensky who pushed the “land reform” law through the parliament, when it had been so mired in controversy for nearly two decades that political leaders wouldn’t touch it. There was, and continues to be, fear among the public that opening the land market would lead to foreigners taking over the country.

      Zelensky had little choice but to act fast, as Ukraine was about to go into default again, and land reform legislation was one of the strings attached to the IMF loan. Ukrainian news reports described the debate in the Rada as a brawl. Zelensky ultimately was able to get the bill passed by deferring the thorniest question; purchase by foreigners will have to be approved by special referendum at some point in the future.

      It’s worth mentioning (again) that the brawl in the Rada had much to do with the other string attached to the IMF loan, which clearly was targeted at Zelensky’s benefactor, our good friend and thug, Ihor Kolomoisky. Zelensky’s perceived capitulation to the West cost him support within his own party, many members of which owed their first loyalty to Kolomoisky. More importantly, it caused a rift between Z and K — by some accounts, an open war — that persists to this day.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        That is very interesting stuff. My ears pricked up during the Maidan Revolution when it was brought to light that Monsanto was interested in planting GMO crops in Ukraine, but could not do so because of land laws that prevented sale of land to foreign corporations. It was not lost on me that neither the EU nor the Russian Federation allowed the planting of GMO crops. That this is still an issue even after the coup is surprising; it must really be a hot button issue there.

        In the agricultural section, it sounds like they have updated the pitch to include planting for meat based substitutes and organic agriculture, prolly a sop to EU sensibilities. It also specifically discusses regions in Eastern and Southern Ukraine as being the areas most prolific of grain crops (Zaporizhiizhia, Kharkov and Odessa); for sugar beet crops it was regions like Vinnytsya that will soon be on the firing line. That they are putting out schedules for regions that are no longer under Ukrainian control, and some that may not be for long, gives the impression that they were pretty sure of their outcomes.

        I can only imagine how annoyed they are that they are losing the bread basket of Europe that they though they had in the bag. They are going to be left with the dregs of both the agricultural and the industrial sectors, with the dregs of the population to manage it.

        Reply
        1. Brunches with Cats

          Yep. See my final comment, just up.

          As for Monsanto, it’s on my list for an update. One thing I’ve noticed is that the Monsanto name is fading into Bayer, its current owner. In fact, the investment guide I linked to above includes Bayer in on its list of foreign companies currently in Ukraine, but not Monsanto. I need to check out whether that’s a cover. If so, it’s certainly intentional.

          One more thing: GMOs recently got a boost in Europe through labeling. Sorry, so much in my head at the moment that I forget the specifics, but if I’m not mistaken, it had something to do with allowing processed foods with GMO ingredients on retail shelves, provide they are labeled properly.

          Anyway, good comment, thanks!

          Reply
          1. nippersdad

            “…if I’m not mistaken, it had something to do with allowing processed foods with GMO ingredients on retail shelves, provide they are labeled properly.”

            Aaaaaand there you go! There were so many things that were banned in the EU. That must be a fairly recent change, and I doubt European farmers are very happy about it. That was the thin edge of the wedge that Monsanto (now Bayer) must have been lobbying for all of this time.

            Those people are insidious. Thanks for your updates! That is not something that one could easily find; your journalist roots are showing.

            Reply
    2. Brunches with Cats

      Part IV/IV
      To wrap up, as I see it, this is not “just” a literal fight for land, as important as it is. Whoever “wins” this fight is going to control a big chunk of the food supply, and whoever controls the food supply is going to have enormous power — all the more so as climate change accelerates and crops are destroyed by drought, flooding, unseasonably freezing and scorching temperatures, and other unknowns.

      Regardless of who wins the war in Ukraine, Russia could win by other means; thanks to climate change, Mother Russia could end up feeding the world. Here’s a gem of an analysis of a ProPublica/NYT long read on Russia and climate change published in December 2018:
      https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/blogs/an-urbans-rural-view/blog-post/2021/02/19/russia-dominate-world-agriculture
      [Lambert linked to ProPublica in 12/18/2020 links: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/12/links-12-18-2020.html%5D

      These are critical issues that have been missing from the foreign policy debate — at least in part, I reckon, because making sense of the situation is hard enough as it is, given the existing complications. There’s no doubt in my mind that the participants in this morning’s roundtable discussion have the knowledge, background, and mental bandwidth to handle it. That said, even if none of them wish to take it on, I look forward to hearing lots more from this dynamic group.

      Reply
      1. Brunches with Cats

        Bonus links. Unrelated to my four-part comment, but relevant to this morning’s roundtable discussion:

        U.S. State Department 2021 Investment Climate Statement for Kosovo

        Links on U.S.-China trade
        Turns out we send them a sh!t ton of soybeans. But lots of almonds, too. :-)

        American Agricultural Exports Shattered Records in 2021 [U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Feb. 8, 2022]

        Agri-food exports of China [S&P Global, Feb. 25, 2020]

        China, the global largest seafood market [Roda Int’l, Sept. 14, 2020]
        So apparently they buy fish from the U.S. and other countries, process it, and export it back to us. I’m guessing that’s all the frozen fish sold in Walmart, Aldi’s, and elsewhere that says it’s from USA, but the fine print on the back says it comes from China. I’ve tried some of the pink salmon from Alaska. Not so hot if you’re used to PacNW sockeye, but vastly superior to Atlantic farmed, yuck!

        Reply
  20. SET

    Round table #8 was excellent! I ran for congress critter, in a Democratic primary in 2006, and got nearly 20% of the vote, first time out. Without intending to, I won all the debates because I was passionate about the issues and made the other two fellows, up their public speaking game. That’s also the year I discovered NC!. One of the things I was saying then, was if China stopped sending us drywall screws, our construction industry would grind to a halt! It was an exaggeration, but nobody was thinking along those lines then. I was also reading climate scientists who had retired, and no longer had to be cautious about scaring away grant money! One fellow said if we lose all the ice, and he predicted it would happen way faster than any of the then models, the oceans would be 30 meters higher! That would put quite a bit of the District under water…I got laughed at by the developers, who were mostly Republicans. Dahr Jamail recently wrote a book, “The End of Ice” and he is saying the same thing, as he watched the glaciers melt, year over year. He stated the last time there was no ice, the oceans were 100′ higher. That’s close enough to 30 meters for me! I ran as a union electrician, previously, I had a 10 year career in the stock market starting just after the 1987 crash, but wasn’t cut out for separating people from their money. The institutions I got trades from, didn’t really pay the bills. However, it was very educational. I recall reading in the WSJ about counterfeit, critical “mil spec” nuts and bolts. The one that stands out are the nuts that hold the turrets onto M1 Abrams tanks. How we could outsource something like that to China, was beyond me! Different subject but still WSJ, was the two guys from Toshiba who sold our super quiet submarine propeller technology, to the Russians.

    I love the round table format with Gonzalo, Yves and the others. I would suggest Tom Hartmann at some point. I like Scott Ritter, but he and Gonzalo had something where they don’t get along, it would be great if they managed to kiss and make up! Bernhard from Moon of Alabama might also be good, I’ve been following him since the 2014 Maidan coup. In this time of foolish, self inflicted chaos and the rapidly advancing brinkmanship, the thoughtful brains in these round table discussions, is just really a good thing!

    Reply

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