Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Wild Frontier

The reason for my protracted absence is that I'm traveling, in places where reliable 'net connections are scarce.

Look for my return next week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dying Nations

Asia Times' columnist Spengler argues that championing the cause of Ukraine and Georgia is futile, for in less than 50 years Georgians and Ukrainians will be functionally extinct.

How now? Well, like many post-Communist societies, they aren't having babies. Spengler illustrates his point with UN statistics, showing a 40% or more population decrease projected for Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.

Russia is facing a demographic challenge as well, but, Spengler notes, "[w]hether Russia survives or not, it still will be a power in 2050 when the Ukraine and Georgia will exist only as obscure PhD topics in linguistics."

He concludes:

I hope that Russia will become a liberal democracy resembling the United States and that it will dispense with men like Vladimir Putin in the future. For it to become a liberal democracy, however, first it must survive, and most Russians today believe that they must be led by hard men to survive. This is not only unpleasant, but tragic.

To influence Russia for the better would take subtlety, skill, as well as good faith; sadly, America has displayed none of these.

Subtlety? Skill? Good faith? An Empire needs not such things, right?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Discovering Jeff Huber

One thing I've been talking about a lot lately is that the Empire is all about perception management: it doesn't matter what happens in actuality, but how it's perceived by the media. If one believes this, then no wonder one can believe the Empire "creates" reality with its will, while the "reality-based community" merely studies perceptions. Talk about misunderstanding Plato...

But I'll spare you an essay about this - mostly because it's already been written by a gentleman (and former Navy officer) named Jeff Huber. I've only discovered him very recently, and only read a couple of articles, but what I have read made me want to read more. It's sharp, to the point, and funny in a very serious way.

How can you not like the guy who uses phrases like "wedding bombing policy" and metaphors like "irony clawing at its coffin lid"?

I look forward to reading more.