Cold war and the imbalance of threat

A common impression about the cold war is that it was based on parity of fear between NATO and the Warsaw pact, and that the fear of mutual annihilation, later codified into a policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD) created a Nash equilibrium between the parties involved, and that the cold war ended because the Soviet Union collapsed. I already explained why the last part is obviously false – because the cold war ended before the Soviet Union collapsed – but some misapprehensions still remain and I intend to deal with them shortly.

The first misapprehension is that, since the Soviet Union detonated its first nuclear device in 1949, the balance of fear between the parties essentially started at this point. However, one needs to be mindful of the historical context, as well as the facts of geography. Take a look at the world map:

Then take a look at the device commonly used to deliver nuclear weapons during that time:

Take a short pause here.

There was no balance of fear. America had military bases in Europe and could have its propeller airplanes take off from Ramstein in Germany, Aviano in Italy, from UK, Turkey or whichever European NATO country, reach Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow in a very short time and nuke them into stone age. On the other hand, the Russians could nuke Europe in the same amount of time, but they couldn’t possibly reach America, and could be brought down during their long flight in so many ways, it was ridiculous. Furthermore, since their European bases are only short way to Russia, the Americans could make the jet-propelled bombers which didn’t need to conserve fuel and could reach Russia faster, while the Russians were extremely limited by fuel economy due to the intercontinental range they needed to overcome, and were so slow and vulnerable they were essentially useless. This puts the American “duck and cover” propaganda in perspective: duck and cover from what? The Russians were completely unable to reach them. It was simply technically infeasible.

Things changed somewhat in 1957 when the Soviets developed the first intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile and used it to perform the first Sputnik orbital flight, demonstrating to America that it can be reached. However, the danger was slight, since those rockets were not very robust, they required as much preparations as the current Soyuz launches, if not more, and not many could have been launched either simultaneously or in close succession. Essentially, the Soviets could nuke one American city, to which America could respond by nuking the entire Soviet Union before it could hope to prepare the second rocket for launch. It was such a weak weapon, that in 1962 the Soviets attempted a dangerous maneuver of placing the short-range nuclear missiles on Cuba, so that they could have a closer place to launch, with the kind of missiles they actually could produce in quantities that would pose a real threat to America. However, since America threatened to immediately nuke them unless they abandoned the attempt, they withdrew. Again, there was no balance of fear, there was no balance of danger. Only the Soviets were in real danger then, there was no threat of mutual annihilation. As Wikipedia states: “In fact, the United States led the Soviets by a wide margin that would only increase. In 1961, the Soviets had only four intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs). By October 1962, they may have had a few dozen, although some intelligence estimates were as high as 75.

The United States, on the other hand, had 170 ICBMs and was quickly building more. It also had eight George Washington- and Ethan Allen-class ballistic missile submarines with the capability to launch 16 Polaris missiles each, with a range of 1,400 miles (2,300 km).

Later, things changed. The Soviets developed strategic nuclear submarines of their own, but they were so noisy they could be heard across the Atlantic and therefore very vulnerable. The real game changer was the R-36 Voevoda rocket in the early 1970s, NATO designation SS-18 Satan. It is a robust, mass-produced, reliable, heavy-payload, accurate ICBM capable of delivering either a 20MT single warhead, or a MIRV configuration of some 10 smaller warheads with 550–750 kt each. This is the point where USSR became capable of truly wiping America from the face of the Earth in 30 minutes, and it proceeded to introduce the Topol-M mobile launchers which cannot be destroyed with a preemptive launch, and they introduced a silent generation of super-submarines, NATO designation Typhoon. In the early 1980s, the Soviet Union finally achieved nuclear parity with the United States, and the “mutually assured destruction” finally became a realistic option, and America actually produced stock movies which had to work with the possibility where they would lose most of their nuclear arsenal due to Soviet first strike, and would have to surrender. At first, this was a ruse to get more money for the military budget, but later on, as shit got real, and as the response times were reduced significantly due to technological progress, they said “OK, enough of that, let’s be friends now”, and then it was like this:

Essentially, the “mutually assured destruction” was a reality for only five or so years during the entire cold war, and that very same America which kept trumpeting it around while it wasn’t real, became scared enough of it once it did in fact become real, that it ended the whole damn thing as soon as it became practical to do so while not only saving face but also pretending to have won.

Who won the cold war and why the Soviet Union collapsed

In various youtube and other commentaries I frequently encountered an argument which basically states that the Soviet Union collapsed due to its failed economy, and therefore America won the cold war. This, of course, is complete nonsense.

First of all, the cold war actually ended before the collapse of the Soviet Union. It ended because Reagan and Gorbachev mutually agreed to end it. And second, it can be argued that the end of cold war actually caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.

You see, to argue that USSR collapsed due to its poor economy is the same as arguing that a duck fell out of the sky because its wings were too small for it to be able to fly. The immediate answer is that its wings were always that size; if they were too small to fly, then how did it happen to get in the air in the first place? USSR always had poor economy – it’s by design. Communism is based on a flawed premise that everyone has a “right” to have an equal share of everything, and if that isn’t so, it’s because either “capitalists” or “kulaks” grabbed more than their rightful share from some imaginary pool of wealth, and this is officially called “original accumulation of capital” in Marxism. This made sense to Marx because of a singular historical event that took place around his time, where the feudal property owners found themselves in a unique position to produce the monocultures necessary for the industrial mass production, due to the fact that they already owned the land, and could, for instance, decide to take the land away from the serfs and use it to produce sheep, because wool was needed for the first textile factories. This in turn produced the proletariat, the unemployed dirt-poor dispossessed former serfs who went to the cities to find work, had no rights and were the initial marketplace for the Marxist ideas which basically stated that it isn’t right for some to grab everything and completely dispossess everybody else. In this set of historical circumstances it is a valid claim and it made a lot of sense, however it was extended much beyond the scope of its validity.

Essentially, the variety of Marxism that was adopted for the purpose of experimentation on the lives of millions of people in the Soviet Union experimented with many failed concepts, such as the collective agriculture in the 1930s, which essentially meant that all the agricultural land was taken from the peasants and organized into “collective households” or KOLHOZ, a process which essentially reversed the previous agricultural reforms and re-introduced serfdom and a feudal system under a new name; the peasants were essentially dispossessed and turned into serfs, only with much less rights than in the feudal system, because the feudal system was designed to have the serfs pay 10% of income to the church, 10% to the feudal lord, and they were left with all the rest, which was usually barely enough to survive. Stalin reformed it all in such a way that he turned the peasants into slave labor, took all the produce and left them with nothing, at which they of course died of starvation by millions. The ones who happened not to die were accused of being the Kulaks (essentially the wealthy landowner exploiting scum who hid the grain in the attic after stealing it from the righteous state which owns everyone), and were deported into Siberia for reeducation. So basically the economic system of the USSR consisted of the state taking everything from you, and if you still managed not to die, they killed you because something was obviously wrong with you.

This system, of course, didn’t last long and was continuously reformed throughout the duration of that failed social experiment of a state, but it’s just to show how bad things were, not in the late 1980s, but in the very beginnings of the Soviet system. The essential flaw of the system is that it doesn’t recognize the fact that the wealth is not a given, and that it is created, and not necessarily by labor alone, but by better ideas which produce better results, and give the smarter and better men the advantage, which then usually translates into more wealth. Communism assumes that all men are equal, that all labor is worth the same, and that any possible differences in results are attributable only to injustices, which communism is here to remedy. Since this is complete bullshit, all communist states always failed, and maintained themselves in prolonged state of failure by inciting some sort of a fear of an external or internal enemy. This fear of the enemy is what kept the Soviet Union going, and the fear was actually justified, because its existence was indeed genuinely threatened by a nuclear-armed foe who actually used two nukes against Japan in order to put Stalin in line. So while America and NATO were considered to be a legitimate threat to the existence of USSR, all considerations about the poor state of the economy and the failure of the political system were deprioritized so far back, they were considered a form of treason – who the hell would bring up issues such as availability of goods and quality of services when the country is under siege? However, when the Secretary General was publicly seen smiling and behaving friendly with the President of the USA, and the cold war formally ended, the issue of “perestroika”, or “reform” was brought back up, along with “glasnost” (freedom of expression). The fact that the country was impoverished by the war in Afghanistan and the hugely expensive effort of decontaminating the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant which blew up spectacularly didn’t help the level of public dissatisfaction with the state of affairs. All the buried issues were brought up simultaneously, complete chaos ensued and the country literally fell apart. Something very similar happened to the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of World War I; a combination of internal and external factors resulted in dissolution of a multi-national empire which had too many internal problems to outlive the transition from a feudal to an industrial economy, and it wasn’t the only victim; the Russian Empire collapsed under similar difficulties around the same time.

So basically, America didn’t win the cold war. The cold war ended in a friendly atmosphere between the former foes, and then Gorbachev’s failed perestroika did what American foreign pressure during the cold war failed to do, and wrecked the USSR beyond all repair. The main issue wasn’t even the end of socialism; it’s the nationalism in the former Soviet republics that wrecked the union, because they all embraced some kind of free market economy anyway. So basically the issue that destroyed the union was the surge of nationalistic sentiment, the same thing that destroyed the Austro-Hungarian empire and Yugoslavia, at least in appearance, because I could argue that the surge of nationalism is essentially caused by failure of the economy, because it is a convenient vessel of manifesting dissatisfaction and forming social cohesion on a lower intellectual octave.

One could ask, if USSR collapsed due to poor economy, how come Cuba and North Korea are still around? Their economy is much worse than Soviet economy ever was, and they still manage to exist in some state of prolonged decay between life and death. The reason, in hindsight, is obvious: they are still under siege, or at least perceive themselves to be, and spite in the face of such adversity can motivate people to endure all kinds of hardship. Lift the pressure, behave friendly, and people will ask why the hell do they need to wait in lines for bread when in other countries this is never a problem, and this is the point where the regime collapses. Essentially, the American concept of imposing sanctions is an excellent way of conserving the failed regimes in the sanctioned countries. You put people under pressure, and they will react with spite and endurance until you either stop pressuring them or die. From this perspective, the failures of American foreign policy are obvious.

The fallacy of human rights

Recently I ran into a very interesting phenomenon on youtube: the “men going their own way” (MGTOW) “movement” and a very widespread pattern of rants against feminism and the feminists, usually written by very smart people. When I say “rants”, I actually mean very well researched, analytical and informed commentaries.

MGTOW is essentially a recognition that women are so overprotected by the state that they are dangerous to men – if you marry them, they can decide they are simply bored and take your children away, take a huge portion of everything you own, have you support them for the rest of their lives and find another victim to repeat the process ad nauseam. Furthermore, if they feel like it they can invent some false accusation against you and put you in jail, because the courts are biased to simply take their word for it. So basically some men decided that the risks outweigh the reward and abandoned the entire concept of relationships and marriage, thinking that women have to be treated merely as sex object, because treating them as potential partners can irredeemably screw your life. Of course, some men answer that “not all women are like that” (which is so typical it’s been made into an acronym, NAWALT), to which MGTOW men reply that, considering the rate of divorce of about 50%, and the way the divorce procedure works, they simply aren’t willing to risk it.

OK, some would argue, so the problem really isn’t the women, it’s the legal framework that puts them in a position to make excessive demands. If women couldn’t rely on the state to be their big bully to call upon when they want to take advantage of their men, they would have to rely on traditional interpersonal ways of resolving problems. We then ask why are women in such an unreasonably advantageous position over men and end up with feminists as an answer: they created a theory of patriarchy which supposedly oppresses women throughout history and needs to be reversed by introducing a legal system that negates male privilege, and, since men are pigs and cannot be trusted, in fact establishes female rule over them in order for them not to get any funny ideas.

Putting the rants about the feminists aside for a moment, there is a serious issue of intrusive state, and the argument is basically about the concept of rights.

The concept of rights might sound prevalent and universal today, but it’s actually a very newly introduced legal invention. You see, when the entire United Nations thing was created, there arose the issue of its charter and the concept of an universal legal framework, an international law if you will, and it had to have some rational foundation for making laws other than religious dicta. You can’t say that the foundation for the prohibition of murder is “thou shalt not kill” or however that was translated to ancient English. All ancient books of law were based on a religious dictum of some kind – the laws of Hamurabi, Manu and Moses are in essence religious laws, given to humans by deities, and a modernist materialistic state construct saw no place for those and had to pull something from its ass to fit the bill, and they came up with the concept of “human rights”, such as a right to life and property and what not.

You can’t even begin to understand what a radical reversal of things that was, because the concept of rights is essentially unknown in traditional legal systems. Instead, you had a concept of “duty”. Essentially, the gods had a duty to maintain order in the world. With that purpose, they explained to the kings and priests what their duty and role in the order of things was, and they, in turn, explained to their subjects what their respective duties and roles were. If each performed his or her duty well, the world and society worked well and everybody was happy.

This means that, in the ancient systems, men and women had no rights. They had their respective duties. They had a duty to respect each other, to assist each other and to solve problems amicably and constructively. A man had to build and defend the home and provide sustenance, while a woman had a duty to care for the well-being of her husband and children. They both had a duty to help children develop into adults with best possible starting points and then either send them on their way or train them to take over the inheritance. This concept of duty has a serious advantage over the concept of rights, in that it is intrinsic and not extrinsic. Your duty is your own, and you are expected to do certain, usually very specific things to fulfill it, which puts you in the position of control over your own life. The rights, however, are defined and maintained by the state, which puts you in a position of whining victimhood; if your “rights” are violated, you are expected to be a whining victim and expect someone else to take care of you, which puts people in a child-like position relative to the state. There’s no such thing with duty, but the problem with duty is, it’s difficult to mandate it legally. You can define it negatively, as refraining from violation of rights, but you can’t really legislate duty in a materialistic, non-theocratic legal system, which is why the entire concept was abandoned when the modernistic legal framework was created, and the irony is, those who designed the system probably thought that the concept of rights puts humans in the driving seat, in a position of power and control, unlike the concept of duty, which implies oppression and victimhood, but when you actually pay attention to what those rights actually are and who guarantees for them, the perception reverses.

Let’s see some examples. There are robbers in some forest who attack people of some village. The people complain to the nobleman that they are being attacked, with the argument that it is his duty to protect them. He acknowledges that and assembles a militia which goes into the forest and kills the robbers. Problem solved.

A peasant’s wife complains to the nobleman that her husband beats her; it is the duty of a husband to protect his wife, not abuse her. The nobleman acknowledges that and punishes the offender, but in such a way that he can proceed to take care of his wife and children: he is not killed or imprisoned, because that would be harmful to the wife, but is whipped and publicly shamed.

None of that requires the concept of rights; they can be implicitly assumed, in a sense that a wife has a right to her husband’s protection, but this would be a foolish assumption, because if her husband dies, off goes her right. The concept of defining protection as a duty serves an additional purpose of invoking gratitude in the ones who are protected and cared for. In the concept of rights, there really is no place for gratitude: you only whine and make demands, because you really have no duty, you have rights and you whine if you don’t have it your way. This has two obvious consequences: creating a population of whiners who don’t take any responsibility or ownership of their situation, and a huge nanny-state which is forced to take care of all those rights it invented, and this is financed by taxing everyone to death. This is why all current democracies which acknowledge the concept of rights are drowning in taxes and state bureaucracy, which is the logical consequence of displacing the intrinsic concept of duty with an extrinsic concept of rights.

There is just no way for such a social experiment not to fail, and when it does, it will fail into its opposite, which will be some bloody mess, because people aren’t really good at analyzing things, and even the good thinkers who put their minds to this problem seldom seem to grasp the fundamentals. You can only imagine what an angry mob with pitchforks will do, especially since it has been indoctrinated into believing that they have all sorts of rights which have been violated, and they don’t really have a duty to do anything, other than pay taxes, which is impossible to do since they are around 75% in some cases, when you take both income tax, VAT and all the other crap into account.

Since this is essentially my opening argument, I will refrain from going into great lengths at this point and will instead proceed to elaborate in further articles.