87 Comments
May 29Liked by Noah Smith

We lag in ship building where China excels. We lag in steel production where China outpaces us. We are dependent on Taiwan for high tech semiconductors. We have no longer have the technology or thinking edge I fear. Ukraine has shown the use of UAVs in the air and sea domains can harm a larger navy and elude AD capabilities which were designed for a different era and purpose. The US and like minded allies cannot fight two wars at once. We must fully fund and arm Ukraine to defeat Russia as the deterrent to China’s ambitions over Taiwan. We cannot unscramble the Ukraine egg, but we can ensure its victory and Russian defeat. Yet this administration, while infinitely preferable to TFG, needs to find a spine and get over the fear of escalation. The fear of of escalation is the biggest hurdle for the US and Germany to get over, as the two largest economies in the coalition of partners (Korea and Japan follow closely behind but have no illusions about China’s intents).

The sprint started in 2022. Trump must be defeated in November or all will be lost in the US and then it would be up to the rest to take up the fight, and that would be a tall order.

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Biden will ensure Ukraine’s victory?

I don’t think you are following events (nor his policies) very closely.

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RemovedMay 29·edited May 29
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I cannot argue with the 2018 date, and we could have gone back even further I sure. But the idea the US was “unipolar” never really held water. If that were true, the US would not have offshored so much manufacturing, nor would it have been vulnerable to Al Qaeda, or allowed Putin to start to rebuild the old Russian empire so easily. Essentially the US was sleep walking until 9/11/2001. But even after that the US ignored Putin and even outright helped him in Chechnya in the name of the wars against Islamic terror. The US totally underestimated China as an economic powerhouse and military foe (anybody remember Korea????)

However, the collective alliance building can offset China’s advantage as you note. But alliances are fragile things that require great care and overlooking some distasteful things (thinking mostly India and Modi’s Hindu nationalism) to arrive at the shared goal of containment.

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The unipolar moment ended much earlier than that- I’d say somewhere between GWB’s naive trust of Putin, or Obama’s naive trust of Putin.

The “wankery” about human rights is not just luxury, either. Some amount of realpolitik is absolutely necessary. However there needs to be a carrot and stick approach towards American allies becoming democratic and respecting human rights. Setting aside any moral arguments, democracies are more predictable long-term and democratic allies are less likely to randomly switch sides (see the USSR and Nazi Germany in 1941, or Mao’s taking the PRC from hardline soviet ally to aligned with the US), states which respect human rights are typically more resistant to internal unrest (which can also lead to drastic regime change, I.e. Iran), and democracies tend to exhibit more stable and prolonged growth.

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May 29Liked by Noah Smith

The danger in electing Trump is not just that he is ignorant about the threat, nor that he would easily influenced by Chinese might, though both points are true. It is that he is clearly beholden to Putin who has some kind of hold over him, mostly likely financial, as there are strong indications that Trump has a lot of debt to financial institutions with Russian influence, but probably also evidence of financial crimes.

Russia made significant investments in getting Trump elected, but even that along with admiration for political strongmen does not explain the level of obsequious behavior Trump displayed toward Putin--refusing to criticize him or Russia and in fact when pressed to do defending him and criticizing the U.S. instead.

Within days of taking office he handed over some of our most highly classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador, which we only know about , because Russia made that information public.

Trump broke longstanding practice and met with Putin without any other U.S. official present and no information about what they spoke about has ever been released.

The amount of highly classified information took from the White House and kept with him at his personal residence is also unprecedented. Most commentary is that his reasons are unclear, putting it down to a combination of ignorance , vanity, and Trumpian bad behavior. Is it not possible that he saw it a perhaps valuable if he needed sanctuary abroad from legal trouble?

Despite his frequently belligerent threats Trump was notoriously unwilling to use U.S. military force overseas. In fact, his general were reportedly shocked when he approved the proposed assassination of the Iranian general. At first I considered this tendency a Trumpian mystery, but if one posits a Putin hold then it makes perfect sense. Russia definitely prefers that U.S. military remain as unengaged as possible. The evidence seems to be right out in the open, but apparently the idea that U.S. president it in effect an agent of a hostile foreign power seems too ridiculous to contemplate...

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You are delusional. But, Trump does that to people

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I hope so.

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Like his supporters drawing thirst pics of him as Mr. Universe or RPG fantasy kings.

https://www.unpopularfront.news/p/the-jockcreep-theory-of-fascism?utm_source=publication-search

John Ganz, in "The Jock/Creep Theory of Fascism": "The relevance of this theory today is obvious when one looks at the contemporary American right, with its paradoxical and strange unity of jock-bullies like Trump and the online incel-tariat. In addition, good deal of the intellectual or Professional-Managerial cadre of the right celebrates the sheer idiocy and barbarousness of Trump’s rhetoric as a totem of virility and potency. Fantasies of ultimate power swirl around Trump. Look for instance at the “Trump as God-Emperor” meme that emerged on 4chan, the original reference of which was the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000. One could also say there is a more-or-less conscious desire for fascism in the pseudo-intellectual nerd demimonde, expressed in their grandiose theorizations and fantasies, while there is an unconscious identification with the Jock-Douche dimension of fascism present in the population at large. "

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The 4 Chaners are trolling. Looks like they were successful with you. My favorite is when thet started rumors that the OK fingers were white supremacist signaling, and then Kavanaghs wife did ok symbol at him.

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This comic is a caricature of how it actually works in real life: https://thenib.com/clowning-around/

Watchers of online extremists (ADL, Southern Poverty Law Center, Cal State San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, among others) note that chan culture adopts trolling as a cover story when mainstream media or Congress cast their eyes toward them.

That is because a long time ago, channers created a culture around edgy memes, trolling and the like. Then, actual neo-Nazis began showing up, and either because of the anything-goes culture of these online subcultures or because trolls harbored extremist ideations and aligned their values accordingly, and chanboards became an incubator of online extremism.

See, because there is self-awareness that trolling can confuse and misdirect attention away from extremists who kid on the square, there is the mens rea on the part of the channers that they know they are fashoid or know someone who is and "trolling" offers plausible deniability.

For more about online extremism, see Data & Society's "Oxygen of Amplification" * https://datasociety.net/library/oxygen-of-amplification/ ) and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network's article on irony poisoning ( https://www.antihate.ca/understanding_defining_irony_poisoning ).

Too savvy by half, David.

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Sorry, but whatever the ADL and SPLC used to be, they are nothing but a woke circle jerk these days. Sure, one "source" says 4Chan is credible, and then they all cite that source, which is usually just some shrill humorless wokester (redundant), who claims to be the gateway for EXTREME views, I mean FAR FAR ETREME RIGHT WING views, like only men have penises or that capitalism is superior to socialism. Then, they all cite each other. They need to please their AWFL donors with such scary bullshit.

Go find your EXTREMISTS! if that's how you choose to spend you time.

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You're one of those guys who deploys "woke" like a tactical nuke to shut down arguments, right? Reductio ad wokem?

Randomly capitalized words indicate that a hit dog is hollering.

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May 29·edited May 30

Is it possible that Putin has kompromat on Trump, maybe ultimately originating from Jeffrey Epstein's island?

It's notable that almost all of Russia's male fifth columnists in the west are sex pests, as that is what the FSB (or previously the KGB) looked for when recruiting agents. The goal was to groom them into being filmed having sex with a child, at which point they'd have to do whatever the Kremlin wanted them to do to avoid having the pictures released.

Only a few of the individuals thus kompromized actually ended up in positions of power, with the remainder being used to help said few rise up the ranks.

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I don't think it is sex. Trump wouldn't care enough, and powerful men have sexual impunity as he has already demonstrated He cares about money and about staying out of jail, and I bet the hold is financial and evidence of financial crimes.

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What more could be revealed about Trump that would actually change how is cult regards him? Bribes? Unlikely. S&M basement complete with skulls? Maybe. Incest? Maybe not.

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May 29·edited May 29

Russia's favorite form of kompromat (going back to Yuri Andropov's KGB in the '70s) is the pedophile honeytrap.

If photos were to come out of Trump naked with a naked 12-year-old girl, it wouldn't matter what his base thought of him because he'd be going to jail for life.

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Not so sure. Remember the dust up over Miss Teen Universe or whatever. Didn't work then.

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May 29Liked by Noah Smith

I agree. And, like you, I am frustrated and concerned about the lack of urgency in DC and also European capitals to face this new reality. I'm even more frustrated and concerned by the lack of urgency in Taipei and other Asian capitals, which would be most immediately affected by an aggressive China move in the Taiwan Strait or South China Sea.

But "we must do X!" isn't really a helpful argument to make. What's stopping us (and them), then, from doing X, really? Is it that we (or they) can't? Probably we *can* do everything you're saying. But we haven't, so we just don't want to, presumably. It does involve risk and cost, after all. And "political will" is this vague construct. Where does it come from? Why should the United States fight in Ukraine and/or Taiwan? It's a valid question and, more importantly, it's a politically salient one because a large plurality or even majority of Americans don't see the argument right now. Which is hard for people closer to the world of international relations policy to understand, spending so much time thinking about these various future expected crises.

It would then be helpful to examine previous historical parallels: Americans weren't eager to fight Nazi Germany in the 1930s, either, for many of the same (and, at the time, seemingly reasonable and popularly-held) reasons. What worked to side-step or push through the resistance? There was quiet support for the Allies even before the US entered the war, as you've alluded to here. There was, obviously, the utter shock of Pearl Harbor and outrage thereafter, which was the precipitating event to formally get us to enter the Pacific War (but not immediately the Atlantic War, a decision made for us by Germany, actually, when it declared war first!).

Unlike in 1940, though, a Pearl Harbor moment isn't one that the United States could actually recover from, probably. We don't have the industrial base. We don't even have the pre-Lend-Lease industrial base that we did in 1938. And aircraft carriers and F-22s take A LOT more time to ramp up production of than Liberty Ships did. So, waiting to get sucker punched and then counterpunching isn't an option here. We'll need an informed strategy to get people to care before the crisis hits. But how?

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There were a few Hong Kong tycoons and industrialists that opposed Beijing, but most collaborated.

Most Taiwanese industrialists are not strident anti-Beijing patriots. They are business people, with factories and personal real estate in China and with their entire livelihood at risk. The KMT has switched from being the nationalist party to being a collaborationist (or at least accommodating) party when it comes to Beijing.

This isn’t a 1776 situation where the elite are going to be pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. Life is pretty good right now.

It is the lower classes and native Taiwanese that want independence for Taiwan. Even if they carry the day politically, they don’t have the forces to oppose China, and China is likely to pursue a gradual undermining strategy (as it did in Hong Kong over the years) that doesn’t necessarily present to the US public a trigger point necessitating all out war.

I would love to see the US come out and say that China and Taiwan should be one nation, but that we do not consider the CCP to be one and the same with “China”. It is just the junta currently controlling the mainland. The people of Taiwan and the people on the mainland should peacefully determine the time to unify, voluntarily and at a time of their choosing, not based upon the CCP’s timetable. This would clarify our “one China” stance 😊, but I don’t see anything like this happening. I think China will successfully undermine Taiwan and the US, with the collaboration of Taiwanese and American tech tycoons.

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RemovedMay 29·edited May 29
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This is extremely silly and easily discarded: "Nationalism is the bedrock of any nation, and nationalism and pride of ethnic identity are basically the same thing." How is nationalism and pride of ethnic identity the same thing in a famously multi-ethnic nation-state like the United States? From the very beginning, the English American Colonies weren't populated by the same ethnicity, unless you're going to contradict the 18th Century view that Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotsmen, Germans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Dutchmen, Swedes, et al were all the same ethnic groups? And that's just what we'd now call the white people! Never mind the various non-white groups of residents that represented pluralities or even (in the case of various West and Central African slaves) the actual *majority* of certain American colonies. And of course let's not forget the Native American tribes who first populated all these places and didn't think of themselves as a single ethnicity. There hasn't been a time in the last three-to-four centuries of American history when what became the United States was an ethno-state!

This statement is even more absurd: "Ethno-states are the historical default." Ethno-states are not only FAR from the historical default, they're not even the current default. Most nation-states on the earth today aren't ethno-states. Almost none of them are! You could maybe make that claim for the likes of Japan, but it's the exception that proves the rule. Name me another one! Historically, *multi-ethnic empires or kingdoms* were the default for the vast majority of the history of political organization. If you actually mean that "ethno-states are the historical default... for modern nation-states," even that isn't true. One of the OG nation-states in Europe, the UK, isn't an ethno-state today and wasn't at its founding. It was a kingdom of kingdoms, originally formed by an invading (foreign) Norman elite who didn't speak the local languages and also conquered Wales, which was populated by an entirely distinct ethnic group from the English, speaking Welsh. It could have easily been ruled by Norwegians, as Harald Hardrada shot his shot at the same time in England's north.

And who were the people that became known as the English whom the Normans successfully subjugated? Were they even a single ethnicity at the time? They certainly didn't share a nation. What became England was four distinct kingdoms only just united under an Anglo-Saxon king. Alfred and his tumultuous successors ruled over a motley mix of Celtic Britons, Danish Vikings, and Anglo-Saxons (again, an earlier foreign import), mostly. Their people didn't even speak the same language at that time, conversing in a half dozen dialects of North Sea West Germanic (Old English) imported from the aforementioned Anglo-Saxons just a few centuries prior: Kentish, Mercian, Northumbrian, West Saxon, et al.

Nor did things get any more "pure" thereafter: England and then Great Briton/UK were then and for a thousand years thereafter multi-ethnic states. Just like almost every other nation-state since.

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-> Seeing the elites scramble to figure out how to get the american public to become nationalistic again so they can fight a war is funny when these elites consistently undermined the nationalism of their majority under the guise of wokeness, DEI, and minority appeasement. The people who are waving the American flag proudly and who commonly went into the military are the same people the democratic elites despise. 'White trash' and so forth.

Tell me that you don't know that how the US Military is made up without telling me. It's not only "White Trash" that makes up the US military, there are college grads, a lot of people who self identify as Democrat or left leaning, and over a 1/3rd of the US military is made up of minorities.... Additionally, it seems like you spend a lot of time worrying and thinking about "DEI, "Wokeness", (Whatever that means), and minority appeasement. It literally comes up in almost everyone of your posts on Noah's substack. You seem to be more conservative minded and like the idea of ethno states, but guess what there are a lot of us who think that a country like America and others like it throughout history (i.e. France or England), that can pull on the best from multiple cultures can survive and thrive. Americans do have a uniquely selfish and independent minded culture sometimes that doesn't always think about collectivism, but the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the people throughout history who fought and died for all of us are still important. This left leaning liberal who is also has 3 generations of people behind him who fought for this country waves his US flag proudly. Nationalism isn't owned by the poor whites in this country mate. You need to stop over generalizing and actually stop being chronically online if you think you know everything about America.

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thank you for saying this. I think of the units I served with, and the US Air Force was one of the most diverse organizations I was a part of. Yes, we had country boys who (were NOT trash), but we had so many different cultures in our units. The units may have been mostly white but 50%+1 isn't exactly a whitewashed squadron. The officer corps definitely tilted whiter but wasn't uniformly so, and I think "elites" would see the officers as, well, "elite" and not "trashy," if we're judging based on socio-economic background.

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Canada, Australia, and the US are not ethno states. Places like Brazil or Argentina aren't either.

Most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere are founded on the idea of ethnic diversity within a set territory.

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There's a world where the US fights and wins a war, and there's a world where the US sits around complaining about DEI and "wokeness." The first step in winning a war is for Americans to stop bitching about stupid culture war bullshit. If I was a foreign adversary, I would absolutely fill the Internet with accounts named "boogaloo" designed to make sure the US gets distracted by bullshit and loses the war.

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May 29Liked by Noah Smith

I believe and still hope that we have 2 more years before direct confrontation. Not a lot of time for ramping up, but we must nonetheless.

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Nice article, but an unnecessary and snide comment on Trump. With all due respect to the commentors, one can make a strong argument that Trump would be a better choice than Biden as President. Biden has decimated the military with his budgets and, more importantly, decimated moral with his woke policies. I would be willing to bet that the majority of soldiers, sailors, airmen, etc would rather serve under Trump than Biden. The only military who support Trump are the sycophants at the top of the food chain, the Joint Chiefs.

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Someone in the military would probably know the concept well enough to know it's spelled "morale."

How has Biden "decimated the military?"

Noah Smith is upset that the budget hasn't gone up fast enough, not that it has been cut.

Similarly, the preferences of the rank and file politically isn't a good proxy for how well the US would fight a war.

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As someone else said it’s two terrible candidates and honestly I don’t think it matters who wins - (I happen to favour Trump) Bidens woke agenda is hurting America while Trump is, well Trump. Long term regardless of who wins we (the world) are between a rock and a hard place

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I think it absolutely matters who wins, anyone who denies there is a difference between Trump and Biden’s stances on foreign policy issues is deeply ignorant about the world.

Trump is erratic and capricious. He also does not believe in the cause of democracy, either at home or abroad: ranging from his attempts to fabricate votes in the 2020 election, to his vague aspirations for some kind of Ukrainian Munich Agreement. A second Trump presidency will force current American allies to hedge their positions regarding American adversaries such as Russia and China. This is cancerous to American interests, and everything the advocates of a “multipolar world order” (I.e. Russia, Iran, China, etc) could wish for.

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What actually is "woke" about Biden's agenda? Define "woke" please.

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Congress hasn’t let Biden decimate it. You should look at Biden’s actual budget proposals and adjust for inflation - decimation in real terms. Biden’s priority is subsidizing Chinese battery tech

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What are your thoughts on the tug-of-war between opposing Chinese aggrandizement vs fighting climate change?

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Most of the federal government actions are focused on pleasing donors and activists, not “fighting climate change”. With current EV tech, the net CO2 benefit over ICE and hybrids is small and takes years and a lot of the IRA is about creating union assembly jobs.

If we wanted to fight climate change I would have preferred to invest in the power grid and also basic and applied research in storage solutions and new battery tech and also streamline the nuclear generation approval and construction process. However, I don’t consider myself to be well-informed on the subject (haven’t taken the time to research as I don’t consider it to be in my top 3 issues for politicians currently). I rate fiscal sustainability number one, education and job training number two (and one could throw immigration into that mix, I suppose, as the priority is creating an employed and employable/capable American workforce, which would include a reasonable number of legal immigrants but as few illegals as possible and zero criminal illegals), and foreign policy number three.

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What does that mean, "subsidizing Chinese battery tech"? You can't subsidize tech. Also, I am unaware that China has any major battery patents. And I am pretty sure we aren't subsidizing Chinese companies. Biden has been much harder on China than Trump was.

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May 30·edited May 30

I think Treeamigo is referring to subsidizing EVs in general, most of which will not be Chinese brands but still contain batteries made in China.

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Here is a list of which battery manufacturers supply which brands of EV

https://spectrum.ieee.org/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNzI3Nzc5NS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTg0MDA0Mn0.hNLZyz2lzgQO2AE2xo929UFJR88ZI8deMggYf--x2Gw/image.png

When you pay someone $7500 to buy an EV, even one “assembled in the USA” you are sending part of that money to China.

Even some of the battery plants being subsidized under the IRA are using Chinese tech/IP under license and Chinese parts.

Biden’s subsidies are meant to benefit union labor doing assembly - they are not designed to have the US build its own battery industry necessarily. Even the “100 pct tariffs” on Chinese EVs is for EVs built in China. If they are assembled in the US or Mexico this need not apply, just as Mercedes and BMW assemble cars (with German tech and parts) in S Carolina and Alabama to avoid the 25 percent SUV/light truck tariffs.

Part of your tax money is going to China. Or rather, we are borrowing money at 5 percent to send it to a Chinese companies

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founding

The military officer corp despise Trump as the ideals of "Duty, Honor, Country" are not Trumpian ethos. From the Military Times, hardly a bastion of DEI.

"The splits between officer and enlisted views within the poll are notable. More than 59 percent of officers said they have a poor view of the president, with more than half saying they strongly disapprove."

The enlisted don't have a much better opinion of him either. His crass, materialistic, self-centered and immoral ethos stand in opposition of the ideals of patriotic self-sacrifice.

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How has Biden decimated the military with his budgets? Biden increased the budget by 4% vs what it was the year before. He hasn't cut the budgets. Also specifically what policies have decimated morale?

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Making the obligatory snide comment about Trump in any conversation is required in certain circles. Shows one is among friends and also drinking the kool-aid, and then allows some mild criticism of Dem policies (which would be taboo without the anti-Trump abulations)

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Pretending that honest appraisals of Trump are, "snide comments," is required in certain circles when are unable to wear your Trump kneepads. \S

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Trump is a corrupt moron with no understanding of even the most basic geopolitical issues by the admission of people who served in his own first administration, so no he would not be a better option than Biden as CiC.

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Do you mean to say "the only military who support _Biden_ are the sycophants at the top of the food chain, the Joint Chiefs"?

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May 29·edited May 29

Strong alliances aren’t just for manufacturing- they constrain bad actors from normalizing war and conquest. The apogee of American power was when in 1991 it led an alliance to smack down Saddam Hussein for trying to annex Kuwait. While the war is most famous for the overwhelming technological superiority the coalition forces displayed against Iraq, it also highlighted how critical it was that America was a trusted partner to it’s Arab allies. Saddam Hussein had tried to turn the war into a broader Israeli-Arab war, by provoking Israel with Scud attacks. The US carefully negotiated with both Israel and the Arab States, ensuring that Israel, while being attacked by Iraq, remained neutral- which stopped public unrest in the Arab world and kept countries such as Syria within the coalition, thereby constraining the scale of the war.

In a modern context, such alliances are equally critical. Had Ukraine or Georgia already been NATO members, Russia would not have invaded- as it has refrained from attacked the Baltic states or Poland. If Trump were elected, and states he will not honor article 5, then the calculus changes substantially in Russia’s favor. Similarly, constraining a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be hopeless if the US had no allies: in any war the US will need bases and support from Japan, and probably the Philippines, South Korea and Australia too. If India and Indonesia were hypothetically as close to the US as Japan is today, then China would almost certainly be deterred from any cross-strait invasion.

Long term democracies tend to have better outcomes than authoritarian states (look at how ossified the late USSR became, for example). However over the short term the US will need to use the power of current, and possible future alliances to hold the line until it builds up the capacity to challenge the China - Russia axis. What’s terrifying is that you currently have Biden who isn’t great on alliances, and Trump who doesn’t seem to understand geopolitics or history at all, coupled with an American electorate which has a naive view on the value of that the rest of the world holds for American interests.

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How is a blockade supposed to work?

1. Taiwan has plenty of anti-ship missiles, so the Chinese ships seeking to enforce the blockade would be sitting ducks, particularly those operating to the east of Taiwan.

2. Taiwan could similarly enforce a counter-blockade by announcing that it would not allow safe passage through the Taiwan Strait

3. A blockade is legally an act of war, so there's no legal/propaganda benefit in terms of making Taiwan the first mover.

4. Even without military responses, a boycott of trade with China undertaken by the US, Japan, EU and Australia would have much the same effect as a blockade, since these countries account for the vast majority of China's imports and exports. This was pretty much the situation in Cold War I

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Just some counterpoints.

1. Taiwan would want to save the missiles to deter an invasion... China would actually love it if Taiwan spent a lot of expensive, advanced anti ship missiles targeting ships 70 km away from the island.

2. Taiwan could shoot Chinese ships... but all it takes is one mistake and Taiwan has murdered 34 Argentinians and Taiwan loses the world... Not worth the risk. China can also just trade through Guangzhou which Taiwan can't stop.

3. Taiwan isn't legally an independent country... this is a military exercise in China's own territory.

4. That would be devastating to China... but also super devastating to the US, Japan, EU, and Australia... as they don't have the manufacturing to make up for China. Why would the Spanish prime minister tank the Spanish economy to uphold the international order in Asia?

I think a Chinese blockade is unfortunately very plausible.

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Any aggressive strategy will work if you assume the other side won’t retaliate in any way. There are quite a few instances where that assumption has been made with unhappy results for the aggressor.

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I am thinking that it will be an unhappy result for everyone.

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>> Matt Yglesias has an excellent post about how long-term national security requires us to embrace high-volume skilled immigration and expand trade with allies and potential allies

He also has a whole book about it...

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"the most important thing the U.S. can do in order to get through the crisis of the 2020s is to not elect Donald Trump this November."

The world has been blowing up since Biden came into office, but but electing "No New Wars" Trump will make shit really hit the fan.

Get real!

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A frighteningly large percentage of Americans don't know how coincidence works anymore.

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Biden controls the world now? You can't blame everything on the US president.

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Thank you. Over at The Dispatch I have been ringing the alarm bells for a while now. Also telling members that China will blockade Taiwan. Why destroy the thing you covet?

As I suggested last week I am not confident that either Biden or Trump would be willing to go to war over Taiwan. We could easily lose 3 carrier groups and 15,000 airmen and sailors. Tiawan is only 100 miles from Mainland China.....We are 7000 miles away. Breaking a blockade would be difficult owing to Chinese Air Power would be used against any Naval attempt. I am going to post this article today.

I hate to use the word I over and over again but frankly voices need to be heard. We are in the most dangerous of times with the two worst candidates I can imagine.

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This is one strategy. A different one is that we "go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy".

We can't manufacture antibiotics or ammo much less jet fighters.

We effectively have no southern border.

Our federal and state governments are broke.

Our shared culture (what America means) is in tatters.

Time to face reality. We were the indispensable nation after WWII. At the start of the Cold War, we had a unified WASP culture, money, productive capacity, educational advantage, and were the only unscathed industrial power on the planet. We have none of those things today.

Interesting interview with George Yeo, Singapore Foreign Minister, executive and politician: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoWf_uqM9g0 His perspective on China is very different from yours. Yeo understands multipolarity and believes America completely fails to understand Chinese motivations. My favorite line: "Chinese diplomat jokes, 'Every time we end up in a bad way with America, someone from the Middle East will save us'."

What's the solution? We give Taiwan nukes, tell them quietly that we are not going to war with China on their behalf, and open up visas for skilled immigration from Taiwan. We tell Zelensky to shut up, go home, and find a way to make peace with the Russians. We are in the opposite position as we were during the Reagan years: we can not outspend China. So we can either bankrupt ourselves trying to police every conflict in the Northern hemisphere (we ignore Africa and always have)... or we can take our use 2 oceans and defend our Monroe doctrine. Many will falsely lampoon that as isolationism. It is not. It's called knowing your sphere of influence, and it's time for us to accept that ours is no longer global. That's what "multi-polar world" means.

Noah is correct that Ukraine has served as a warning on US military productive capacity (or lack thereof). However, Ukraine has also given Russia incredibly valuable battlefield experience against current-generation US/NATO equipment. And you can be sure they're sharing that with China.

Bottom line: I'm not sending my daughters to defend Taipei or Kyoto or Kiev or even Berlin.

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The Caucasus is an interesting place to watch here. Armenia’s moving away from Russia but is still isolated from Europe. It’s only European gateway is Georgia, which is seeing civil unrest from an increasinly more openly Russia-aligned government, with in recent days also some Chinese overtures in the ports.

Georgia especially is really worth watching; 80% of the country supports closer ties to Europe but the oligarch who has captured most of the government and the economy seems dead-set on moving in a different direction, enacting a law that stifles civil society by labelling them as traitors. Thankfully American sanctions are underway, but Europe still seems to move too slowly

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Georgia must have one of the world's worst concentrations of wealth, with a single billionaire owning wealth equivalent to 34.9% of GDP.

By contrast, Russia has 77 billionaires with 22.87% of GDP, while the United States has 540 billionaires owning 13.35% of GDP.

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I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He has an elaborate patronage network that includes the Georgian Church which receives massive yearly ‚reparations’, land grants and tax deductions. That’s in addition to foreign holdings. He might have more assets than the nominal yearly GDP of the country

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What would you say that an individual can do, besides vote for Biden and be in favor of American power and state capacity?

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How about partnering with Japan and ROK for shipbuilding? Interoperability, similar training. Why restart that was given away so long ago? Yes buiild us up, but fast track joint building go there. CHIPS Act may actually work. Stop all focus on green tech and develop SMRs. All this computing takes gobs of power. Let’s roll!

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I'll just hope you're wrong about Trump, considering how grim Bidens re-election chances look.

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Why are we getting all these pro-Trump weirdos? Is commenting back on for free subscribers?

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Chinese and Russian agents

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