War Games

map by TD Projects, 2009; thanks to Indrajit Samarajiva for the link

The latest article from historian and lifelong public service ‘insider’ Aurélien argues that we shouldn’t worry about WW3. Nobody wants a war anymore, he argues — it’s bad for the economy and politically unpalatable when your citizens get drafted and killed. What militarists and politicians actually want are war games — exercises in brinksmanship, practice runs for real combat using some other country’s troops, and an immensely profitable market for military equipment.

The war in Ukraine is a real war for Russia and Ukraine — a civil war that started in 2014 after the NATO-backed coup (yeah, the western media keep forgetting to tell people that) which blew up into a proxy war in 2022. For the US/NATO Empire, Ukraine is just a war game. Just supply insanely overpriced and largely obsolete and ineffectual weapons and ‘intelligence’ and sit back and play with the war maps. Likewise, the genocide in Palestine is a real war for Israel and Palestine, but for the US/NATO Empire, it’s just a war game.

Actual wars, Aurélien argues, require the right kinds of equipment, competencies, training, coordination, understanding of history and geography, and experience that very few countries still possess. US/NATO Empire military equipment is mostly ancient, outdated, and depleted by its endless military adventures. It is incompetently manufactured at absurdly inflated prices by companies like Boeing that can’t even make planes that stay in the air. And it is suited only to aerial bombardment of countries, in the belief that “shock and awe” is actually a strategy for winning a war. The Empire is of course watching the situation in Palestine closely to see whether genocide is a potential winning strategy — Maybe if we just keep dropping bombs on the enemy until there’s no one left, we can declare victory. A grade school knowledge of history would have shown the folly of such a strategy, that has never worked anywhere, but the Empire managers, driven by ideology and rhetoric, and led by utter incompetents, appear to be slow learners.

As Aurélien has painstakingly explained, the US/NATO Empire could not possibly win a real war, because they have none of aforementioned prerequisites for doing so. The Empire has lost every war, and every war game, it has undertaken, for that reason. It does not want a war with China because it knows (though it would never say so publicly) that it would lose, disastrously. It wants to intensify the war games with China. It’s spent 20 years successfully propagandizing the Empire’s clueless, badly educated citizens that China is evil and wants to dominate the world, so now it’s time to up the game. So a pretend-war has already been declared (by designated Empire military mouthpieces) for 2025, and new treaties and movements of ships and planes and bombs to surround China even more than it already is, have begun.

Why? As Indrajit Samarajiva has explained, you have to go back to the time when political leaders and their advisors actually had an inkling about what was really happening in the world, rather than acting on the basis of what, in their ideological fingers-in-the-ears-I-can’t-hear-you manner, they wanted to believe was really happening.

Richard Nixon, of all people, actually understood realpolitik. Despite his mental illness and deplorable ideology, this guy (who, remember, was responsible for introducing the Clean Air Act, OSHA, and the EPA) supported rapprochement with China because he knew it was good for the Empire (access to cheap goods for Empire citizens; opportunity to offshore complex, regulation-laden, environmentally dirty, high-cost western jobs to China, to vastly increase profits for western corporations). Here’s some quotes from Tricky Dickie from Indrajit’s article:

I would summarize it all with this simple way: what brought us [the US and China] together was not the fact that we had common ideas or ideals, but that we had common interests. Our interests brought us together; our ideas would keep us apart. As long as those interests draw us together, we have to learn to live with the differences in our ideas. That’s also true of the Russians. …

I always come through with this theme. Even if there were no Soviet Union, it was essential that the United States move now, and move when it did I should say, in rapprochement with China, and the reason for that is, fundamentally, that one-fourth of all the people in the world live in the People’s Republic of China. It has enormous natural resources. And the Chinese people are among the most capable people in the world. Look what they’ve done in Taiwan and Hong Kong and Singapore. Thailand. San Francisco, you name it. Once that power is mobilized, it is going to be an enormous force in the world. For good, or for bad. …

I think de Gaulle hit it, in his usual way, in 1969 most effectively, when he said, cryptically, better for you to recognize China now when they need you, than to wait until later, when their power is such that you would need them. And so, in order to build the kind of a world that we want our grandchildren to live in, in the 21st century, it was essential that the United States—the most powerful and the prosperous nation in the free world—have a new relationship with the People’s Republic of China. (1983)

Damn. If only our current doddering lot of Empire managers had even a basic sense of realpolitik, and the competence to act on it.

But they don’t. All they know is that someone allowed all of the Empire’s manufacturing capacity (including its computer chip and military manufacturing capacity, and by capacity I mean know-how, not just factories) to be offshored to China. And now the Empire is dependent on China, which the Empire’s managers don’t like at all. So there has to be a war — not a real war, because as much as they’ve been propagandized, Empire citizens don’t want to actually have to fight in, and send their children to be killed and maimed in, real wars, especially wars they presumably (based on all available evidence) know that they would lose. There has, instead, to be a war game. Lots of posturing, sanctions, bombs dropped by proxies in ‘neutral’ zones to establish ‘red lines’.

The goal is apparently, preposterously, for the Empire to get back its industrial capacity from China by sanctioning their goods (most of which, like Russia’s currently sanctioned goods, are sent to, and enormously benefit, Empire nations). The loss of access to sanctioned Russian goods has been, thanks to outrages like Biden’s blowing up of the Nord Stream pipelines, economically crippling to the Empire’s European nations. But somehow, the sanctioning and other war game play with China is expected to magically re-create ‘domestic’ capacity to produce (or at least Empire access to, by producing the overthrow of China’s government) the modern computer technologies, scarce mineral resources, and military components that underpin the entire teetering economy of the Empire. Blame Tricky Dickie, I guess.

The thing about war games, of course, is that, unlike wars, they’re not real. The Empire’s managers seem to believe that they can write a Hollywood script with a deus ex machina and a happy and victorious ending, and that somehow the people working for the Empire will be able to turn the script into reality.

I’ve written ad nauseam about how the incompetents who wield most of the power in our crumbling civilization think that somehow ‘objectives’ are ‘strategies’, so their job is just to envision those objectives and tell their underlings to ‘make it so’, and then, when it inevitably turns out badly, to blame the underlings. But that’s apparently where we are.

So prepare for the Empire’s war games in Ukraine and Palestine to continue for a long time, at least until the countries that are actually fighting in real wars in those countries run out of bodies for the armchair generals to play with. And prepare for a new war game with China, which will probably bankrupt the US and most of its Empire ‘allies’, since they now have no capacity to produce what the games require.

That is how Empires end. Eventually the US will no longer be able to play the game, and it will pack up its toys and go home. Beware if you’re in one of the dependent outposts of its Empire — when the game’s over, then you’re no longer allies, and then it’s every country for itself. If your country has complacently declared Russia and China to be its sanctioned enemies, they are probably not going to look too kindly when you assert that it was just a game, and now you want to be friends again.

Tricky Dickie could have told you that.

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9 Responses to War Games

  1. Joe Clarkson says:

    If your country has complacently declared Russia and China to be its sanctioned enemies, they are probably not going to look too kindly when you assert that it was just a game, and now you want to be friends again.

    Do you mean that Russia and China would allow their interests to be overshadowed by ideology? Perhaps they’re no more savvy than the ‘Empire’.

    You may want to look at recent trade interactions between Australia and China. China was smart enough to swallow its pride. On the other hand Russia was not. It has allowed Putin’s vision of territorial grandeur to seriously harm its interests.

    All the participants in the global industrial market economy have become dependent on one another. The US and Europe thought that as this interdependency grew it would facilitate mutual trust, reduce authoritarianism and promote peace. It appears that this thinking was wrong on all three counts. I suggest that this failure was not entirely the fault of the US and Europe, but that the fault resides as much, or more, with Russia and China.

    Whether this global industrial interdependency can be successfully reversed is open to question. Europe would surely have a tougher time doing so due to their lack of basic resources. The US, and North America as a whole, might fare better. They have more energy and other resources needed for a more regionalized industrialism. Russia should do OK for the same reason.

    China will be screwed by such a reversal. It has even more to lose than Europe. Unlike during the Nixon era, China now imports the vast majority of several key resources needed to keep its industrial machine going. It earns the money to buy those imports by selling manufactured goods to everyone else, the majority of which go to the US and Europe. Trade wars hurt everyone, but a trade war between the ‘Empire’ and China will hurt China most of all. They will surely continue to swallow their pride. If not, they’re doomed.

  2. Vera says:

    Hey Joe. Will you answer my questions?
    I’ll add one more. You say: “The US and Europe thought that as this interdependency grew it would facilitate mutual trust, reduce authoritarianism and promote peace.”

    What I see is two wacko entities pushing war, authoritarianism (EU), and doing everything do ruin any chance for mutual trust.
    What makes you think this is what US and Europe wanted?

  3. Joe Clarkson says:

    If you look at the history of trade relations between the West and China, starting back with the dramatic changes made by Deng Xiaoping to China’s economy, through to China joining the WTO in 2001, lots of European and American political types were hopeful of good and peaceful relations.

    Here, for example, is President Bush’s statement upon China joining the WTO:

    Statement on the Ministerial Decision To Admit the People’s Republic of
    China and Taiwan Into the World Trade Organization
    November 11, 2001

    I welcome the unanimous decisions made this week by trade ministers
    meeting in Doha, Qatar, to admit the People’s Republic of China and
    Taiwan into the World Trade Organization (WTO). I believe that the entry
    of China and Taiwan into the WTO will strengthen the global trading
    system and expand world economic growth.
    China, with more than 1.2 billion people and a one trillion dollar
    annual gross domestic product, is one of the fastest growing economies
    in the world. Taiwan is the world’s 16th largest economy. The decision
    in Doha–reached following many years of negotiations–marks a formal
    agreement by the 142 members of the WTO on the steps that China and
    Taiwan must take to open their markets as WTO members. Taking these
    steps will introduce greater competition into both economies and mean
    that both follow the same trade rules as the United States and other
    trading partners. This, in turn, will generate greater trade and
    investment that will bring benefits to businesses, consumers, and
    workers in all of our economies.
    I am confident that China’s entry into the WTO will bring other
    benefits to China beyond the expected economic benefits. WTO membership, for example, will require China to strengthen the rule of law and introduce certain civil
    reforms, such as the publication of rules. In the long run, an open,
    rules-based Chinese economy will be an important underpinning for
    Chinese democratic reforms.
    China and Taiwan now face the challenge of implementing their WTO
    commitments. The United States stands ready to work constructively with
    both economies to assist them in meeting the challenges of
    implementation. We also look forward to the great benefits we know that
    greater trade will bring to all our peoples.

  4. Vera says:

    Yes, well, psychopaths say one thing and do another. They love chaos, discord, and war. And lies. They love lies and gaslighting above all.

    And Dubya went to bust Iraq to build democracy. Yeah… that’s it…

    You believe their lying words while ignoring the evidence before you. Like with Biden. But you are a smart, observant and caring person. I just don’t get it. ?

  5. FamousDrScanlon says:

    20,000 sanctions the empire & it’s vassals put on Russia.

    Russia overtakes Japan to become the fourth largest economy in the world in PPP terms

    “The Russian economy has overtaken Japan to become the fourth largest in the world in PPP terms (purchase power parity), according to revised data from the World Bank released at the start of June.

    As bne IntelliNews reported in August, Russia had already overtook Germany to become the fifth biggest economy in adjusted terms. Hit by multiple shocks recently and cut off from cheap Russian gas, Germany is now stagnating and has fallen to sixth place in the World Bank’s ranking.

    PPP GDP measurement is preferred by many economists, as it takes into account the difference between local prices and nominal prices similar to The Economist’s famous Big Mac inde> despair index has fallen to its lowest level ever this year – the sum of inflation, unemployment and poverty.

    As a result of these changes, economists estimate that Russia’s growth potential has increased from 1-1.5% pre-war to around 3.5% now. Last year, Russia’s economic growth caught analysts off guard with a 3.6% expansion. This year the World Bank has already almost trebled its forecast for growth from 1.1% to 3.2%. Russia’s Economic Ministry is similarly bullish.

    Even the World Bank’s PPP adjusted size of the economy may be an underestimate. The World Bank also estimates that 39% of Russia’s economy is in the shadows, while the shadow economy only makes up 10% of Japan’s economy, which would add an additional $2.5 trillion to Russia’s $6.4 trillion PPP adjusted economic size – still not enough to overtake India’s $14.6 trillion PPP adjusted GDP value, but widening the gap with Japan further.

    Like carpet bombing, sanctions never work and only result in strengthening the resolve of the bombed-sanctioned people. That’s how fucking dumb western managers are. They thought their sanctions would kill/destroy Russia – it made the Russians stronger & wealthier.
    Americans do nothing in good faith and have no one to blame but their exceptional selves.

    “Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

    Afterwards, Baker wrote to Helmut Kohl who would meet with the Soviet leader on the next day, with much of the very same language. Baker reported: “And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [….] He then added, ‘Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.’” Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl’s benefit, “By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable.”


  6. Vera says:

    “Not one inch eastward” seems like a classic case of future faking. (As were all those spoken or written treaties with Indians in America.)

  7. Theresa says:

    After reading this post and the following comments, I think I am more aligned with what Vera *seems* to be emphasizing – that the global schism isn’t between China/Russia and the US/NATO “empire” but between people everywhere and their governments regardless of whether they live under the rule of openly autocratic rulers or late stage democracies that have become corrupted under the weight of all the bs that accompanies election campaigns and official PR statements

  8. Theresa says:

    Apologies for the run on sentence above.

    I also wanted to add that governments – Hamas, for example, no longer represent the “interests” of anyone but themselves to stay in power. The same goes for Netenyahu’s government, Putin’s regime and the status quo being defended by NATO. There is a serious split between leaders everywhere and those they pretend to represent. Ideas, values, and ideology have little to to with anything anymore. This will only get worse as wealth and power continue to pool into smaller and smaller fractions of the “one percent”. It will get worse again (as in more dehumanizing) once real AI arrives on the scene (as opposed the machine learning based AI we currently have). Those I powerful enough positions to save themselves will not even recognize that the rat of us are part of the same human species.

  9. Theresa says:

    The future of wars, in this developing scenario, will just be about killing civilians. People who join the military will not be heroes, (and possibly never were), they will be the in the safest positions. If you want to describe war as a game it will be a game of killing civilian, elderly people, mothers and children. Exactly what Israel is doing now. Exactly what Hamas intended to have happen, in the hope of shifting the status quo.

    End rant/

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