Texas border dispute

Situation in the USA is tense; there is currently a severe border management dispute between the central government and the state government of Texas which looks serious enough to be a possible cause for declaration of independence of Texas, followed by at least half of American states. At worst, this would cause a civil war; at best, there might be extraordinary measures such as complete closure of borders and inability to leave America. Things are already not good there, but they might suddenly get incredibly worse.

What not to do

I’ve been watching a video where it is explained how some hackers get caught.

Based on all the technobabble those people espouse, you’d expect them to get caught because they used Windows or a Mac instead of Linux, or Ubuntu instead of Kali, or because they didn’t use an open source BIOS flashed on an old Thinkpad, or because of some exploit in Linux kernel or Tor. What actually happened is, they talked too much on IRC and other places, bragging to other hackers about their exploits in order to bolster their reputation, and they talked too much about their personal circumstances, because they were lonely. Also, they had multiple aliases but ended up overlapping all of them because you can’t bolster your credibility in hacking circles unless it all connects to you. One was careless enough to cross-reference himself to a domain he used where his real contact info was available to anyone using whois. Then FBI blackmailed him to serve as an informant, and he promptly told them everything he knew about everybody else in his circles and they all got busted.

It got me thinking – apparently, the problem with people is that they expect all kinds of complicated means to be used against them, and in reality it is all very simple. For instance, the reason why Snowden never got caught, and why Assange got arrested and Lira was arrested and killed, it’s all very simple. Snowden had a bad plan like the other two – he’d go to Latin America and “get lost” somewhere, reunite with his girlfriend and so on. What would have happened had he managed to pull that off is that the CIA would have traced his girlfriend to him, he’d get busted and that would have been the end of it. Instead, the CIA was over-vigilant and interrupted his poorly conceived plan by cancelling his passport while he was in Moscow waiting for his next flight. By doing this, they forced him to request asylum in Russia, and thus accidentally stranded him in the safest place on Earth for someone running away from America – a nuclear superpower that was just starting to say “no” to America, and he didn’t even realise how incredibly lucky he was at that point. Assange, however, sought refuge in Ecuadorian embassy in London, very much in line of what Snowden tried to do, but London is under complete control of America, Ecuador is a small and weak country that proved soft under American pressure, and he was trapped and eventually deported. Gonzalo Lira made a mistake of trying to keep his sons in school in Ukraine, preserving a sense of normalcy for them instead of understanding that this is a dangerous fallacy; also, he initially had a very poor understanding of the situation, and his opinion of Russia was influenced by both Ukrainian and American propaganda, and so his understanding evolved as time passed and he kept publishing his reports. By the time he figured out the situation, he already missed the opportunity for quiet evacuation of himself and his entire family from Ukraine, and liquidation of his assets there, and by the time he was arrested for the first time, he was basically a known enemy of a totalitarian regime, at the territory controlled by said regime. His second mistake was to obey the laws and play by the rules, and this was fatal, because when he was arrested for the second time, he was tortured and extorted for money, and when he was temporarily released, he tried to exit Ukraine on a legitimate border crossing after publishing a video about it (!), he was of course caught, imprisoned and eventually died in captivity. Basically, when shit hits the fan, fuck the law, and fuck the rules. You need to get your money, bribe someone to get you out of the country, and go to a place that is actually safe, not the place that you like or have romantic ideas about.

Essentially, what gets people caught/killed are simple, stupid mistakes, not some exploit in ssl. You get killed by believing in the rule of law, you get killed because you were trained to play by the rules of society and that is absolutely lethal when the state is taken over by evil groups, or society collapses. You get killed because you believe in sanctity of embassies, because you believe in freedom of the press, because you call ambulance when you’re sick or injured, and because you believe in legal ways of doing things, instead of acting like a professional criminal, because when the state is taken over by evil people, good people become criminals, and they would greatly benefit from understanding this fact, and acting accordingly. If you’re on the territory of 3rd Reich, you must either be a law abiding Nazi, or a criminal. The only third option is to be a victim.

What gets people killed is lack of understanding that their “normal life” is over. Any wish to preserve normalcy is deadly when excrement starts hitting the impeller.

The purport

A few days ago it was revealed that Gonzalo Lira, a pretty famous youtuber who stayed behind in Kharkov and openly criticised the Kiev regime and its Washington sponsors, died from torture in Ukrainian prison.

I didn’t want to react immediately because I wanted to think things through. My first impulse was sadness because someone I knew pretty well was killed in a horrible manner. My second impulse was anger at the perpetrators and their American handlers, and a wish for them to be punished for their evil. Then I thought about his role in this, because a reasonable person would first get out, and then criticise them, because the point of his criticism was that the Kiev regime is incredibly corrupt and evil, and is known for killing its critics, so him staying behind implies that he either believes his criticism of Kiev to be wrong, or he for some reason thinks he will be exempt from retribution, probably because of some invisible shield of human rights that all Americans believe they have. It is also possible that he had a mid-life crisis of some kind and wanted to be a hero, but since he didn’t look suicidal, he probably just assumed he’ll be fine because reasons.

What we did find out is that the person that said that pen is mightier than the sword didn’t know what he was talking about.

The limit of prediction

The problem with trying to predict future events is that all interested parties also make their own predictions, they assess outcomes of possible moves and use all of their power to avoid the most undesirable outcomes.

Basically, this means that I can, for instance, see the predicament of the American economy, but so do the American analysts, and their willingness to make even the most drastic moves in order to prolong the status quo should never be underestimated. If they know that something will doom them, they will do literally anything to prevent it. “Anything” can range from printing trillions of dollars, spoofing the entire economy, creating a civil war, to cooking up a nuclear war. One can think that nothing can be as bad as nuclear war, but if you’re in a position of someone who knows they will be doomed without it, and with a nuclear war they can arrange everybody else to be doomed worse, the picture changes.

Also, it’s easy to speculate what the Russians could do, if they so wanted, but it’s almost impossible to know the exact thinking of the people who are actually in charge. They might have an internal red line they will never make known, and if that red line is crossed, they might activate a pre-arranged plan that is also not known outside their inner circle; for instance, if the Americans escalate past a certain point, for instance by starting to hit deep targets within the Russian Federation with carriers that can be modified to carry nuclear warheads, and it can’t be known in advance whether the warheads are conventional or nuclear, they might activate something ranging from a deep tactical response to a full nuclear first strike. You see, they really want to avoid a nuclear confrontation, but they are aware that they are in fact encouraging escalation by being too restrained, and this will inevitably encourage the West to perform a sneak nuclear attack. They are torn between really not wanting things to escalate, and realisation that their restraint might cause exactly that. So, it’s reasonably easy to understand what they might do by analysing the options that are available to them and making a cross-section between that and the analysis of their behaviour and thinking. Basically, you see what they can do and then eliminate the options that cause outcomes that are highly unfavourable to them, and then plot a tree of possible desirable courses. For instance, it is quite obvious to me that the Russians can take the entire Ukraine within a month. They could also cut off their gas, oil, food, water and electricity during winter and kill off the entire population. They could cut off all supply and communication between NATO and Ukraine. However, when you make a cross-section between that and the desire to de-escalate and decrease the probability of making the conflict threatening enough for NATO that really bad options start looking probable, you are left with options that look like “winning by not losing while the enemy is drained of resources and demotivated”.

In essence, I can plot out a tree of options, but you need to be aware that all the parties involved are doing the same thing, and what makes sense to me doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to them; for instance, if I calculate that the best outcome would be a nuclear first strike, and Russian leadership already decided that they would never use that option, it would be very hard for me to assess what the second most favourable option would be, because they might be betting on something I see as exceedingly unlikely.

Geopolitical strategic layout

The big picture is that America has been aware of its impending economic demise since before the 2008 crisis, which is obvious from looking at their policies, which are prolonging the present at the cost of a future, which means the ones making the moves didn’t see a way to save the future, not by any kind of normal policies. Also, about that time they tested the maximum oil output, found the peak that cannot be exceeded, and intentionally collapsed the world economy in order to lessen the demand in order to give themselves time. America’s problem is that the greatest oil and gas reserves belong to Russia, while those in the Middle East and elsewhere are basically exhausted. This means that, in a linear projection, Russia becomes the dominant economic power, and the standard wisdom of shoring up the Dollar by selling “protection” to the Arabs will fail in the near future, and not only will the Dollar cease to be the world reserve currency, but the Ruble will take its place, as the Russians will inevitably leverage their position of a dominant hydrocarbon supplier to shore up their own currency. This means that, by the estimate of the American analysts from the 2005-2009 or so, the greatest dangers to American world domination are the hydrocarbons and Russia. The propaganda about world climate being threatened by combustion of hydrocarbons and Russia being simultaneously an evil and backward empire that needs to be contained, controlled and “democratised” can be easily explained by this. Russia played with black figures here and only reacted to American moves, and I’m not sure if they could have done any better considering how the West has been subjugating and exploiting their country since the fall of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the Russian political class was extremely unwilling to understand what they are dealing with, which caused a significant delay in response to the situation, to their detriment. For instance, it gave the West time to completely nazify Ukraine and turn it into an anti-Russian fortress, when Russia could have simply solved the problem in 2014. However, had they gone in then, their economy would have likely had no time to adapt to the sanctions and this could have a disastrous effect. Also, had they done that, it would have been much more difficult to explain the situation to the rest of the world; now, it’s quite obvious what’s going on, which is why the Western propaganda has no effect outside the Western countries. This can be interpreted as Russia taking a short-term strategic hit in order to improve its strategic position in mid- and long-term.

Currently, the Western propaganda outlets are starting to prepare their respective populations for a strategic loss in Ukraine, but it might in fact serve the purpose of creating resolve for the use of nuclear weapons in order to prevent a resounding Russian victory once it becomes apparent that the collective West is losing. The Russian forces have started advancing despite the muddy season, and heavy cold is forecasted so I would expect Russia to go in fast and hard in attempt to wrap up the situation. This, however, requires an analysis of Russian strategy.

The Russians see a victory in the following scenario: they avoid a nuclear war with America, preserve their own economy and international relations, have no heavily militarised neighbours that threaten them with war, and have a future where they are able to freely trade and otherwise interact with most of the world unimpeded by America and its colonies. They don’t really care that much about Ukraine outside of those major strategic goals. As far as they are concerned, a neutral Ukraine that is not a heavily armed Nazi bunker is fine. Unfortunately, the Americans made sure such a Ukraine cannot exist, which will likely mean that the Russians will be forced to dismantle it as a country and turn it into something that is not a threat. This, however, is not easy to do, because winning a war in Ukraine at the cost of causing a nuclear war is no victory, which is why the Russians didn’t do the most obvious thing and just move south from Belarus and cut off the Ukrainian border with the West, which would have ended the war immediately, but at the cost of almost certain escalation. Also, they are not really in a hurry to win, because of several reasons. First, winning the war has to be weighed against potentially losing the economy, which would have terrible consequences they already had the misfortune to experience and are unlikely to be willing to repeat. Second, this is not a war with Ukraine. It’s a war with America, and the worst way to approach it would be, basically, by demonstrating a serious threat by being too effective. This would allow the Americans to mobilise against them more easily and the situation would escalate. However, if they make it a boring quagmire, the Americans would see that as something they want to avoid at all cost, because every single war they lost was a boring quagmire. Americans want something where they can go in fast and hard, demonstrate “superiority”, raise the flag and so on. The best way to win against Americans is to make it impossible for them to have a quick and decisive victory, and instead make the war boring, long and expensive. This description seems to fit nicely with what the Russians have been doing, and it doesn’t look like an accident either. The current situation, however, is quite precarious, since the boring phase seems to be unsustainable, mostly because the Americans are using medium-range rocketry to attack Russian civilian targets in Belgorod and Crimea. The purpose of this provocation is to force the Russians to respond in non-boring ways, thus giving the Americans an opening for a nuclear escalation. What the Russians seem to be doing is to simply move the front line to the West, until the Russian civilian targets are out of range, prolonging the boring phase hopefully enough for the Americans to go bankrupt, proclaim victory and leave.

This, however, is in my opinion a central error in Russian thinking, because the entire geostrategic layout is about America degrading and destroying its possible strategic opponents for the duration of their own predicted economic collapse; essentially, they want to avoid a situation where they emerge from their own problems to find the world dominated by Russia, China and the EU, with them relegated to the position of a second-rate power. No, they want to return as the dominant power, even if it means they dominate over a scorched Earth, because rebuilding would likely be profitable. This means that the Russian strategy of buying time and making things as boring as possible would normally work, but their opponent doesn’t see this as a normal situation. It’s the end of America as we know it, and the only way America, as the narcissistic bully queen that she is, will accept its fall, is if others fall worse. However, I don’t really know what one can do about it if a nuclear first strike is not an option they are willing to consider. The only other option is what the Russians have been doing – make it boring, make it long, gamble on American bankruptcy and degradation while you grow stronger, and hope that they either die with a whimper, or militarily degrade enough by the time it comes to an exchange, that you can win decisively and with minimal losses compared to what you’d experience if an exchange came at a less opportune moment.

As for the situation in the Middle East, I already predicted some time ago that Israel will see that America is losing its geostrategic position of its major protector, and will use it to try and destroy/degrade all its regional enemies and improve its presently terrible strategic position, because if America falls, and their regional enemies continue to exist as such, Israel is lost. This understanding makes Israel’s actions panicked and desperate, and they will not rest until they either succeed at degrading Iran, Syria and other lesser threats, or they themselves are destroyed. In the near-term, this means Israel will try to use its lobbying power in America to cause a confrontation with Iran. However, I’m not sure China and Russia will allow Iran to be degraded like Iraq, Libya and Syria, and we can expect serious red lines to be both drawn and crossed there.