Monday, March 26, 2018

The never-ending Cold War

In Orwell’s 1984 Oceania is in a permanent state of war, either with Eurasia or Eastasia. The advantages of permanent war are obvious - it distracts people from the realities of economic stagnation and it’s a perfect justification for more and more political repression. In actual fact the endless wars are largely illusory. People see newsreels of epic battles but in reality these wars are mostly small-scale border skirmishes.

In other words it’s much like the Cold War - lots of fear-mongering but mostly fairly small-scale proxy wars.

In fact it’s pretty much like the world today. It seems like we can look forward to never-ending Cold Wars. It certainly seems that those who shape U.S. foreign policy are determined that there must always be a Cold War. It’s not just for the reasons outlined above. There are other even more compelling reasons to maintain a permanent state of Cold War. War is very profitable. It’s not profitable for everybody of course, but it’s profitable for the people who count. As far as those people are concerned the business of America is war.

The difficulty lies in justifying vast and completely unnecessary military expenditures for a country that has no actual viable enemies and doesn’t actually need to spend more than a token amount on defence. The solution is simple. If the U.S. doesn’t have enemies, make up some pretend enemies. In order to justify the massive spending they have to appear to be at least vaguely credible enemies. There are only two possible candidates, Russia and China. Therefore Oceania (the U.S. and its satellites) must be constantly at war with either Eurasia (Russia) or Eastasia (China).

But wars are messy things and don’t always turn out the way you’d hoped. Sometimes you even lose, as happened to the U.S. in Vietnam. So the best solution is permanent Cold War. It’s just as profitable but a lot safer.

There’s an even worse downside to fighting an actual war. What if you win and there’s no enemy left to fight? How do you continue to keep the money flowing to the military-industrial complex? That was the nightmare scenario facing the American defence establishment in 1945. With Germany and Japan totally defeated the U.S. no longer needed an enormous military. Fortunately an answer was found. The Cold War was like an answered prayer. Pretty soon the money was flowing again in a very satisfactory manner. The military-industrial complex has no intention of facing such a nightmare again so the new Cold War must never end.

It’s important to understand that it makes no difference who happens to be in government in Russia and China or what policies those nations pursue. The U.S. must have enemies, so therefore Russia and China must be those enemies.

It seems highly probable that the Russians are well aware of all this, and have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no point in trying to negotiate with the Americans. The Americans will never negotiate in good faith. Therefore the permanent Cold War just has to be accepted.

There are certain advantages to this situation for both Russia and China. The biggest threats they face are the economic and cultural menace from the West, especially the cultural menace. If a Cold War encourages anti-American feeling it might provide some protection from the tidal wave of western degeneracy that threatens to engulf the entire planet. Cultural isolationism may well be the only hope for survival for both Russia and China.

7 comments:

  1. Well, we don't really need something as radical as cultural isolationism - we just need our very own strong culture; if you have your own strong culture, you don't need to fear Hollywood or Lars von Trier or Madonna or Justin Bieber. The Chinese began building it in the last decade, we just barely started doing it in 2009-2011 (we actually have quite a lot to do here since we had very little truly great cultural achievements during 1930-1990s, even if you include our émigrés' achievements).

    Also, I don't think the US sees us as a never-ending enemy. I think China plays that role. The West wants Russia crushed because it sees Byzantium in it, and Byzantium is something the West can't possibly tolerate, because Byzantium is a potential alternative civilizational model for Europe, or even the whole of Eurasia. This is something China can't possibly be in a trillion years. And we remember, of course, what happened to Byzantium. The West did everything not to make it happen again.

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    1. The West wants Russia crushed because it sees Byzantium in it, and Byzantium is something the West can't possibly tolerate, because Byzantium is a potential alternative civilizational model for Europe, or even the whole of Eurasia. This is something China can't possibly be in a trillion years.

      That's why I think Russia will remain Enemy Number One. Russia offers a more viable alternative to western degeneracy.

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    2. Unfortunately, I tend to believe that we're doomed to repeat the fate of Byzantium. I don't see how we can win this war in the end. On the other hand, not a lot of people could have imagined us winning the Great Patriotic War...

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    3. I tend to believe that we're doomed to repeat the fate of Byzantium. I don't see how we can win this war in the end

      Nobody thought the U.S. could lose the Vietnam War, but they did. Never underestimate the incompetence of U.S. foreign policy.

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    4. The U.S. was much less powerful back then, and it was balanced by the USSR. In our time, it can only be balanced by combined efforts of Russia and China, and we're not too close with the Chinese. The only hope is the fall of the U.S. economy, and this is something that just might happen, but not surely.

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    5. In our time, it can only be balanced by combined efforts of Russia and China, and we're not too close with the Chinese.

      That needs to be rectified. The Chinese need to be made to understand that if Russia is crushed they will be next. That's an absolute certainty.

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    6. Firstly, I have an idea that the Chinese don't see our current government as anti-American enough to support us. They see our economic and financial government, which is 100% liberal and pro-western, and just tell us to go to hell with any ideas of alliance of any kind, be it economical or military. They may clap to Putin's words and missile presentations, but when they look at our awful economy they clearly see that there's nothing serious to discuss. Only small trade and natural resources.

      Secondly, the Chinese imagine they might benefit greatly from Russia's fall: they would very much like to occupy the whole of our Asian territory, and they have means to do that. After that they might become pretty much invincible and unstoppable.

      All in all, I don't think China will miss us very much really. They'll face bigger challenge, yes, but they'll face it with much more options and resources.

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