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The Hateful Pairs

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The Hateful Pairs
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:14 pm

TFLYTSNBN
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I thought that I would share the latest nesletter from Peter Zeihan. The prospect of Japan resuming hostilities with a reconciled Koreas might amuse the Chinese until they consider the prospect of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and may be even an independant Hong Kong acquiring nuclear weapons.

Of course the French will be almost as delighted as Russia and Poland when Germany develops and deploys nuclear weapons.

Popping popcorn.


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The Return of the Hateful Pairs
by Peter Zeihan on August 12, 2019
A few months back a South Korean court ruled Japanese firms needed to pay compensation to Korean laborers who worked in Japanese-run factories during the 1910-1945 Japanese occupation of Korea. A big piece of this involved compensation to the Korean “comfort women.” In the Asian theater of World War II, the Japanese military created brothels with (mostly) Korean women for their troops. The Japanese said the women were gainfully employed volunteers who were fully compensated. The Koreans assert it was – at best – sex slavery. (Most of the world and nearly every non-Japanese historian sides with the Koreans on this one.) Anywho, from the Korean point of view the Japanese strategy on reparations is to deflect, deflect, deflect until the last of those who suffered pass away from old age, which will undoubtedly occur within a few years, ergo the new push from South Korean courts to provide a new legal footing for prosecution.

The Japanese didn’t like this very much and so slapped the South Korean economy with export restrictions that will cause long delays for certain materials that are absolutely critical to advanced Korean semiconductor manufactures. In retaliation Korean boycotts of Japanese goods have sprung up. Both sides have since withdrawn the other from their respective “white lists” – a classification when enables trade in sensitive technologies without the need for time-consuming and cost-intensive permitting. The Koreans are now threatening to cease intelligence sharing, which would undercut the very existence of Korean-Japanese security cooperation. If the Japanese go through with their threats, this will have a more immediate impact on the South Korean economy than what we've seen from the US-China trade war so far. The semiconductor industry is 7% of the South Korean economy so anything that threatens that industry is a threat to the entire economy. Translation: the Japanese are going for the jugular.

At the risk of sounding like a Millennial, wtf? Aren’t these countries supposed to be on the same side?

Some quick background:

American security policy in the post-World War II era is based upon a single, simple premise: we will pay you to be on our side. Everyone gets access to the U.S. market, the U.S. Navy will make the global ocean safe for everyone’s commerce, everyone gets an iron-clad guarantee to their physical security as well as the shelter of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, so long as you stand should to shoulder with the United States against the Soviet Union.

One of the problems of this strategy is that having millennia of human history meant there were millennia to build up mutual antagonisms. The American-led global Order didn’t so much end grievances among the allies as freeze them in place. It would do no good, for example, for France and Germany to go to war (again) if they were supposed to be jointly resisting the Soviets. Making the Order work didn’t just require aircraft carriers and army divisions, but also the American diplomatic corps riding herd on oftentimes quarrelsome partners.

Under “normal” circumstances, the United States would have ordered the South Koreans and Japanese to cut this crap out the day after it started. But the Americans are getting out of the global management business and so the bilateral snit has been allowed to boil up into and beyond a full international incident. It is incorrect to think of the South Koreans and Japanese as being allied. South Korea is allied to the United States, and Japan is allied to the United States, but they only work together under direct, heavy-handed American overwatch. Remove that overwatch (honestly, remove the American interest in the pair of bilateral alliances themselves), and the South Koreans and Japanese revert to what they’ve always been. Two countries sharing an epic poem of mutual dislike. A hateful pair.


Seoul, South Korea
Most of my work these days is predicting how the Order of the past seven decades crumbles into the messy Disorder of the future. I christened the path from the mostly functional here to the mostly dysfunctional there the Descent. There is no singular trigger event, but it all stems from the Americans’ washing their hands of the world writ large. It involves everything from food supplies to passenger aircraft routes to manufacturing supply chains to tariffs to armored formations to…squabbling countries that most people thought were allies. Every event triggers more, and as regards hateful pairs there are a lot of squabbles to internalize and so a lot of consequences to be aware of.

Let’s begin with East Asia. The South Koreans and Japanese are hardly the only members of the Order who loathe one another. The most obvious starting point is China v Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as a wayward province and while most of the Chinese’ last decade of naval buildup wouldn’t do jack to threaten the United States, it is fully capable of threatening Taiwan. Taiwanese-Chinese economic integration in the world of computers and electronics is hip deep, with the sector most exposed being Silicon Valley. That sort of integrated supply chain systems will completely go away. The company that stands to lose the most in absolute terms is Apple.

The only country that hates China more than Taiwan and Japan is Vietnam. In nearly every Chinese consolidation period stretching back two millennia Vietnam has been a target. The Vietnamese don’t hold a grudge against the Americans – they don’t see the Vietnam War as all that big of a deal. But the Vietnamese call their conflicts with the Chinese the Two Thousand Years War. All those Chinese firms that are setting up shop in Vietnam in an effort to get around the new U.S. tariffs on China? Pbbbbbbbt.

Further south both Singapore and Malaysia were carved out of the same British colonial administration. At first Malaysia didn’t want Singapore because they feared all the Chinese ethnics there would tip the new country’s demographic balance into being Chinese majority. When Singapore went on to be an economic success story, the Malaysians got peeved, threatened war, and still on occasion threaten the city-state’s water supplies. Not only are they too central to regional manufacturing supply chains – particularly in electronics – they share control of the Strait of Malacca, the world’s busiest trade lane. Singapore does extra duty being Southeast Asia’s primary financial hub.

On the opposite side of Eurasia, it isn’t like any of the Europeans are actually friends with one another. Even with all-hands-on-deck in the U.S. State department during the Cold War, Greece v Turkey managed a couple serious scraps and even today maintain a just-shy-of-snarling relationship.

Of more economic importance, the United Kingdom was the world’s superpower for over two centuries, more than enough time to sow a great deal of mistrust. The UK, even with its navy in a historically weak position, still commands sufficient force to make or break most northern European commerce. And with it feeling a great deal of Brexit-related umbrage, will soon be itching for ways to get back at the Continent.

Germany’s more recent (and failed) bid for superpowerhood generated flat-out detestation, especially from those countries who have no choice but to be in the German sphere of influence. Poland in particular resents being a cog in the German machine, but is now so integrated into Germany’s manufacturing supply chains it is a vital part of Germany’s supply chain network (in other words: exports). France is only Germany’s ally so long as France feels it can control Germany. That ship sailed a decade ago. For the handful of French who can (at least privately) swallow their pride and admit reality, the living horror of the Now-German-dominated European Union cannot end soon enough.

That’s just the big rivalries. There are plenty more: Poland v Lithuania, Romania v Hungary, Austria v Hungary, Bulgaria v Macedonia, the UK v Ireland, Belgium v Belgium (Belgium is weird). About the only European country everyone respects is the Netherlands because the Dutch have made not giving a f**k about other peoples’ passions their defining characteristic.

And that’s just the hateful pairs fully in the Order. There are plenty of ill feelings from Order members towards non-Order members. Iran-Saudi Arabia could get explody at a moments’ notice and set global oil markets on fire. Iran’s relations with Pakistan aren’t much friendlier. Russia hates everybody (and everybody hates Russia).

Since 1946 the Americans haven’t so much poured oil on troubled waters as smothered everything with a lead-weighted, waterlogged blanket. The security framework that supported the Order isn’t simply disintegrating, the economic access the Americans enabled isn’t simply collapsing, but the fires of history are burning through all of it at the same time.

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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by The E   » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:26 am

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Ohhh, TFLY has gotten email again. Always so good to be reminded that even completely insane people with no real concept of how international relations work can use a computer.
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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:15 am

TFLYTSNBN
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Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:58 am

The E wrote:Ohhh, TFLY has gotten email again. Always so good to be reminded that even completely insane people with no real concept of how international relations work can use a computer.



https://images.app.goo.gl/ruH2xxWbp6XiUHL66
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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by Michael Everett   » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:46 am

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TFLYTSNBN wrote:https://images.app.goo.gl/ruH2xxWbp6XiUHL66

Image

Nice self-portrait you linked to, Fly.
:twisted:

Seriously, Fly, relying on images and ill-planned off-the-lip shots simply opens you up to return volleys.
Also, next time, you may wish to put your cut-and-pasted e-mail that you are relying on in a quote box to make it clear that it is something that you are using as reference and/or supporting evidence.

On the other hand, the e-mail you quoted is a not-too-inaccurate extremely simplified view of things, albeit somewhat overly pessimistic. Since it was designed to sell a book, however, that can be let go.
I also took the liberty of doing a very fast Google of Peter Zeihan. While he has a Twitter and a page on Wikipedia, one of the top five results about him was a comment that he makes bad predictions based on incomplete premises.

I'd do more research, but what I have seen has indicated he's somewhat pessimistic and pro-American to a mildly concerning degree (I doubt his claim about London being about to lose most of its financial links will actually come true. In fact, the opposite is more likely to happen if regulations are finally pruned somewhat).
~~~~~~

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But I try nonetheless, And even do my own artwork.

(Now on Twitter)and mentioned by RFC!
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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by The E   » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:42 pm

The E
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Michael Everett wrote:I'd do more research, but what I have seen has indicated he's somewhat pessimistic and pro-American to a mildly concerning degree (I doubt his claim about London being about to lose most of its financial links will actually come true. In fact, the opposite is more likely to happen if regulations are finally pruned somewhat).


His main problem as an analyst is that he's trying to be a generalist. He has a lot of opinions about a lot of countries (and a healthy dose of political blinders); he's a stereotypical example of an american libertarian with no real experience of the subjects he's trying to cover.

Given that his main job description is "having opinions", not "being right", he is very prolific; if he throws enough shit at the wall, something might stick, and people like TFLY, who are desperate for the validation that real life isn't giving them are all too eager to believe him.

On his website, he claims that "[he] combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help clients best prepare for an uncertain future." That's quite a claim, covering quite a lot of very complex topics; again, as someone who is paid to have opinions, that's fine. Were he paid based on the correctness of his predictions, I am quite certain he would not claim such a broad "expert understanding" so brazenly.

Also, look at the text he wrote. It is telling you a story in a very authoritative tone, but there is no data there. No links to studies, no links to articles to strengthen a point he's making, he's telling you that he is the expert, he knows the truth, and he's letting you in on it all (oh, and if you like what he tells you, buy his book! Or book him! Or visit an event he's paid to be part of!).

Now, let's look at his email in more detail than it really warrants. There are a few details in there that really show just how blinkered he is. Take this statement for example:
The American-led global Order didn’t so much end grievances among the allies as freeze them in place.

Yes. It did. And then 70 years of peace in central Europe happened. All of the pre-WW1 dynamics were reset. Not completely, in some cases, but more than enough to make Europe today much more stable than it has ever been in history.

Making the Order work didn’t just require aircraft carriers and army divisions, but also the American diplomatic corps riding herd on oftentimes quarrelsome partners.

Here, Zeihan is painting the Americans as the only adults in the room. "If it weren't for us, you'd have gone straight back to fighting over Alsace-Lorraine, wouldn't you". He is an idiot. Yes, it took some doing to overcome the historic dynamics involved, but it did happen, leading to the formation of the EU.

He goes on to say:
And with it feeling a great deal of Brexit-related umbrage, will soon be itching for ways to get back at the Continent.

This is complete bollocks. It's what people like Boris Johnson or Nigel Farrage (and, of course, complete ignoramuses like TFLY) would like to believe, but it's not going to happen: Rather, what is going to happen is a dissolution of the current UK government and the Tories not getting back up again. Because literally everyone involved knows that it was the Tories who fucked it all up. Not the evil european bureaucrats in Belgium.

France is only Germany’s ally so long as France feels it can control Germany. That ship sailed a decade ago. For the handful of French who can (at least privately) swallow their pride and admit reality, the living horror of the Now-German-dominated European Union cannot end soon enough.


"Living Horror", he says. Yes, it sure is horrifying to have better living standards than americans.
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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:15 pm

TFLYTSNBN
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:58 am

Michael Everett wrote:
TFLYTSNBN wrote:https://images.app.goo.gl/ruH2xxWbp6XiUHL66

Image

Nice self-portrait you linked to, Fly.
:twisted:

Seriously, Fly, relying on images and ill-planned off-the-lip shots simply opens you up to return volleys.
Also, next time, you may wish to put your cut-and-pasted e-mail that you are relying on in a quote box to make it clear that it is something that you are using as reference and/or supporting evidence.

On the other hand, the e-mail you quoted is a not-too-inaccurate extremely simplified view of things, albeit somewhat overly pessimistic. Since it was designed to sell a book, however, that can be let go.
I also took the liberty of doing a very fast Google of Peter Zeihan. While he has a Twitter and a page on Wikipedia, one of the top five results about him was a comment that he makes bad predictions based on incomplete premises.

I'd do more research, but what I have seen has indicated he's somewhat pessimistic and pro-American to a mildly concerning degree (I doubt his claim about London being about to lose most of its financial links will actually come true. In fact, the opposite is more likely to happen if regulations are finally pruned somewhat).



The Email that I posted should be considered in context of the volumous data in Zeihan's books. Of course Zeihan's pronestations are predicated as much on demographics as geography and the geography of energy supplies. This of course raises the issue of the Birth Dearth that has afflicted so many nations which it is politically incorrect to acknowledge. (Yes, I am aware of the decline in birth rates that occurred under Obama.)

Your argument that Europe and other regions have transcended their historic grievances during the 7 decades since World War 2 and will thus have no serious conflicts after America ends the Bretton Woods free trade regime is an interesting admission that America is responsible for the peace. It remains to be seen if that peace continues when America is no longer allowing free access to American markets and no longer guarenteeing freedom of navigation to access markets and resources for everyone. I agree with Zeihan that once European and Asian nations are compelled to fend for themselves, the old rivalries will reassert themselves. The only impediment to major wars will be a shortage of cannon fodder.
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Re: The Hateful Pairs
Post by The E   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:07 am

The E
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Posts: 2293
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 12:28 pm
Location: Bielefeld, Germany

TFLYTSNBN wrote:Your argument that Europe and other regions have transcended their historic grievances during the 7 decades since World War 2 and will thus have no serious conflicts after America ends the Bretton Woods free trade regime is an interesting admission that America is responsible for the peace.


Responsible, yes. A significant force, definitely. Solely responsible, as Zeihan posits, no.

It remains to be seen if that peace continues when America is no longer allowing free access to American markets and no longer guarenteeing freedom of navigation to access markets and resources for everyone.


It remains to be seen if american hopes of being isolationist and rich at the same time can actually be realized.

Also, I don't recall hearing about the US mothballing one of its carrier groups yet, or downsizing its military significantly.

I agree with Zeihan that once European and Asian nations are compelled to fend for themselves, the old rivalries will reassert themselves. The only impediment to major wars will be a shortage of cannon fodder.


Yes, you would.
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