There’s a comment on the previous article that’s important enough to warrant making a whole separate article as a response to it.
“Third, the Americans are not taking seriously the possibility of getting hit.”
Somehow this still don’t quite get in my head.
I mean, I still remember the first time I read some wikileaks of the reports US was getting from Croatia, Bosnia and neighbouring countries. I was completely blown away how nuanced, detailed and accurate those reports were. I thought to myself, holy shit, these guys really know their stuff, they know everything about everyone. Those reports were so good I’m not even sure any of the local journalists would be able to write so non-biased and in-depth psychological profiles of local mayors and other political figures. So, if they are ready to invest such effort in completely submissive and irrelevant countries, what is to be expected when we speak about Russia and China?
It’s all too obvious that US intelligence gathering network is not their problem, it’s the decisions they make. How can anyone at the CIA think they could survive direct confrontation with modern and well developed nuclear power? Sure they don’t, even if some idiot politician does. Maybe Trump will get some covert help in unexpected ways from those who have brains, I don’t know…
I mean, I’m trying to get into the heads of those who are trying to provoke the Russians into a nuclear exchange, just for the sake of understanding, but I can’t get much sense of it really. Do they think that anti-ballistic missile shield is so good it will turn all ICBMs into free McChickens falling from the sky?
America is a strange country, truly exceptional in at least one important way: it was a major participant in both world wars, but was never attacked in its homeland, the continental USA. When their Hawaii colony got hit by Japanese navy, they got all upset about it. The entire Europe was devastated by the wars, and yet America seems to have gotten a boost from them. They got a tremendous boost from European immigration, and even greater from industrialization necessary for manufacturing weapons. After the second world war, America ended up with people and technology sufficient to create nuclear weapons, rockets powerful enough to put man on the Moon, and make great advances into the fields of particle physics, astrophysics, quantum physics, lasers and semiconductors. Essentially 20th century was invented by the European immigrants in America, from Tesla onward.
The Americans think it’s because of their constitution or some other reason, but honestly, their constitution is neither great nor important. They couldn’t even decide to put abolition of slavery in there and later had a civil war over the issue. Also, they weren’t all that prosperous or advanced in the beginning; they had inferior social organisation, inferior military and inferior anything compared to the British empire, and the only reason why they managed to win their war for independence is because the British had to traverse the ocean to get there. That, apparently, is their claim to fame: the competing militaries can only get there by crossing the ocean, which greatly limits the numbers and strength of any invading force (and that is hugely important – Britain only has a narrow strip of sea between itself and the European mainland, and yet it is impervious to even the most sophisticated of invaders). Also, it started by having probably the best chunk of natural resources available to any nation anywhere – with only the natives with spears and arrows to protect it. Essentially, the Americans had it incredibly easy. Sure, they will whine about how difficult it was to build the nation, but please spare me the tears. They essentially killed off the Indians, started farming, built the railroad for supplies, and the word got around in Europe that there’s shitload of free land in America and you can go there and make it. Much is made about all the technological advances made in America at that time, but honestly, they only achieved parity with Europe after the second world war; before that time, they were a third-world shithole with wild west rules.
Essentially, between late 19th and early 20th century America mostly looked like the present-time Africa. Other than a few isolated areas of wealth, prosperity and advancement, America was a rural backwater plagued with abject poverty. Even technologically, America was inferior to the European countries. Its economy completely collapsed between the two world wars and a significant portion of their population was reduced to starvation.
Enter the second world war. America only joined the war in Europe after Soviet Union succeeded in turning the tide against Germany, and they wanted to stake their claims there. Afterwards they behaved as if they single-handedly liberated Europe, but realistically, they had less casualties in the whole war than the Soviets had in a single battle, and their contribution, while important, wasn’t decisive in any way. What it did in fact produce was the myth of American victorious military might. The second result of the war was that America stood alone as the one world power that was not destroyed by aerial bombardments and fighting in general. So, basically the whole Western civilization had temporarily relocated to America to keep functioning until Europe was rebuilt. America stood alone as the modern country, hugely industrialized by the war effort, enriched by all the European scientists who had to go to America if they wanted to keep working in their fields, and with a powerful Hollywood propaganda machine that painted a rosy picture of America, the land of freedom and prosperity.
The problem was, America needed to keep the military industry working in order to maintain prosperity, and so they started the cold war with the Soviets, which furthermore propagandized America as the place of freedom, greatness and technological advancement, and everything else as dubious in some way or another. The cold war propaganda created a specific mentality, where it would have been unpatriotic to question American greatness in any way, and American military was thought of as the greatest in the world, but it would have been unthinkable to actually consider using it because of the inevitable nuclear holocaust. There was a looming threat of mutual destruction that cast a great shadow over America, until that thread became so great in the mid-1980s, that Ronald Reagan decided that the possibility of some miscalculation was too great and basically went to talk to the Russians.
You need to have in mind that the Russian nuclear deterrent is only that, deterrent. They had the nuclear weapons because they were justifiably afraid that the Americans were intent on wiping them out. Their economic system was poorly designed and implemented and was on the verge of collapse since the October Revolution, but since they were under a serious threat of war, they simply endured and did their best. Once the Americans decided to drop the belligerent posture and the cold war formally ended, they decided that the danger is over and they attempted to reform their system. This inept and hasted attempt at reform broke their entire country and it collapsed under resurgent nationalism.
This sudden and unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union had a very strange result: the Americans concluded that they had won, rather than surrendered, the cold war. They decided that the threat of nuclear war is over, that America proved to be superior to the Soviet alternative, and that nothing more stands in the way of its greatness.
They had almost two decades to grow into this attitude, and there are adults now who were born after the cold war, who don’t have personal memories of what actually took place, and who readily accept the American narrative. They don’t remember the majesty that was the Soviet Union, the incredibly close competition it had with America, and the fear that Soviets might have the upper hand, that they might be better, more technologically advanced, that they had better rockets, stronger thermonuclear weapons and better space technology.
The Russians had a very bad decade. Their industry, economy and social structure collapsed, and were reduced almost to the post-apocalyptic levels of predation of the evil over the powerless. This took place under the rule of that drunken fool Yeltsin. However, there was a man in St.Petersburg who was known for his ability to get basic services operational, Vladimir Vladimirovič Putin, and Yeltsin made the best move of his less than stellar political career by making him the prime minister. Putin made it his job to restore basic order and services, and he worked gradually and incessantly until actually restoring Russia to the point where it is superior to the former Soviet Union in all ways but one: its sense of historical mission, pride of achievement and greatness, was crushed in the dire humiliation of the 1990s. Today’s Russia has a much wealthier population, with a healthy economic system, and technological abilities that rival those of the Soviet times, albeit with reduced manufacturing volumes and scale. However, that promotional video from the 1984 no longer matches the self-image of the modern Russia. Modern Russia has a recent memory of a crushing defeat which mars its prosperity, while Soviet Union endured great difficulties on wings of pride of the glorious victory of the second world war, the pride of having rebuilt the nation, flying to space and becoming a nuclear superpower. This pride had the people going even when they had to stand in lines for bread. There are no bread lines in today’s Russia, it is still the great nuclear superpower and it is a great spacefaring nation, but it is like a great fighter who remembers a knockout defeat he once endured. He knows he is not invincible.
And here we come to the main point, to the reason why Americans don’t really believe they will be hurt no matter what they do to others. It never happened to them. They participated in two world wars, and only benefited from them. They were militarily defeated in Korea and Vietnam, but nothing really happened to them as the result of the defeat. Their homes and factories were not destroyed. Whatever happened to the rest of the world, America remained the safe and prosperous place to return back to.
They had recent victories in conventional wars, over enemies whom they overpowered more than ten to one, with all the advantages on their side, and they decided that this makes them invincible, and proves their military superiority over Soviet technology, because Iraq happened to have some Soviet equipment that it used poorly. Since the cold war ended, and having seen that terrible humiliating decade that Russia had to endure, they decided that not only Russia isn’t an admirable opponent, but that it can’t really be feared for its nuclear power because Russia, it’s those Youtube videos of drunken Russians doing stupid shit.
Americans also don’t understand the phenomenon that is Putin. They think he’s some puny dictator with an inferiority complex, and that he’s a hardass because he’s KGB. That’s all completely false. First of all, Putin is a hardass because he’s a martial arts expert. In KGB, he was more of a field operative, a James Bond like character, than a high-level analyst. He retired with the rank of colonel, and I saw the retired KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who looks kind, gentle and grandfatherly, and was Putin’s superior officer several times removed.
No, what Putin is about is his ability to get shit done. He’s the guy who gets his hands dirty and gets a factory working, he gets water and electricity running, he connects people, makes things work, and he works and works and works, for decades now, incessantly, and there are results. The difference between today’s Ukraine and today’s Russia is Putin. Putin is the best leader Russia had since the times of Peter the Great. He’s a pragmatic, modern, moderate, rational politician, not governed by haste and passion, with profound self-control and discipline of a martial arts expert.
Putin, essentially, is the best politician of today’s world, and a match for anyone in history. He towers above all others today in his control over himself, respect he commands with his people, and ability to implement constructive plans over the span of decades. He’s literally the savior of his nation, the one who rebuilt it from the ashes of humiliation, defeat and chaos. I listened to him speak, and I watched him think in realtime. He’s by far the best mind that entered the field of politics since Bismarck, and what’s most important, he retained the down to earth practicality that I saw only in the martial arts people. He’s someone who’s confident enough to be himself and not act for the media, he’s confident enough to make jokes, to display restraint, kindness, compassion and humor, and firm enough to make oligarch billionaires wet their pants at the mere thought of fucking with him.
Essentially, because of Putin and the group of people around him who are practiced in actually using their brains and functioning as sentient, complete human beings, Russia is a sentient organism with a brain. America, on the other hand, is an instinctual organism that is driven by emotions and hormones.
Because America, as a collective entity, believes that it won the cold war, that Russians are some funny defeated people who delude themselves into thinking they can be great again, that Putin is some silly bullying dictator who tries to pump up his weak nation’s confidence, America can’t take Russia seriously. And when I say “America”, I mean their zeitgeist, not their intelligence analysts. The problem with zeitgeist is that if you have opinions that are opposite to the trend, it’s dangerous to your career. If you warn about how great Russia is, you are “un-American”. People underestimate how powerful those trends are. If an analyst in CIA, who’s as intelligent and informed as I am, offered an analysis which said that Russia at this point has significant advantage over America in several crucial spots and that the advantage is increasing as a function of time, he would have been demoted or fired. Only analyses that state American greatness and superiority are accepted and result in promotion. After a few decades of that trend, Americans now completely believe in their own bullshit. They believe that the Russians only have the rusted-out Soviet shit, and that they are the Star Trek nation with iPads.
The most dangerous of all, the Americans believe that the nuclear weapons are the thing of the past. Nobody will use them because it would be too horrible. Case closed. Since nobody will use the nuclear weapons, American advantage in conventional armament is all that matters.
America is the country that calls a pressure cooker filled with firecrackers a weapon of mass destruction. If they think about the danger of nuclear weapons, they think of some rogue country like Iran or North Korea having one poorly constructed weapon it can use in the manner of state terrorism. They think they won the cold war, that Russia lost and it should stay defeated forever, and any information to the contrary is seen as irrational behavior of a defeated enemy who needs to be beaten again to learn to stay down the next time.
And that’s the zeitgeist, that’s the trend, that’s the manistream, and that’s the line of thought which you need to accept in order to participate in their system, to receive promotions and to join the “in” crowd. Anything else and you’re un-American, you’re a revisionist, conspiracy theorist, you’re suspected of aiding the enemy and subverting American greatness.
And that’s why Americans can have excellent analyses of some unimportant shithole like Croatia or Serbia, but they can neither accurately perceive nor report on Russia. That’s why only the leaders obedient to America are “democratic” and those who oppose America are “dictators” – because Americans, in their mindset, think that the natural state of all free human beings is to serve and obey America, and anyone who opposes America is evil. And since America is axiomatically great, it is invincible, invulnerable, protected by God, and destined to attain victory over “evil”. That’s why they can’t take the idea of being destroyed seriously. The idea is un-American, un-patriotic. It should not be indulged by true American patriots.
It wasn’t always so. They once knew they are vulnerable:
But now, this is what they comfort themselves with. To them, this is the true reality of Russia:
They think they have nothing to fear. If they think that nobody will ever use the nukes, problem is solved. Besides, how can those drunken silly people ever be a threat?
So yeah, this is a train wreck in slow motion, and unless the Americans realize that they have to fear things that are much worse than a pressure cooker filled with firecrackers, we are all doomed.