87 Comments
Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

This is a brilliant exchange. Both as an insightful panorama of the current geopolitical stage (and how we got here) and as a compass through the current anti-democratic cacophony and geopolitical news flow.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

God, this is good. Worth reading + sharing again and again. A bounty of wisdom that underscores timeless truth claims while raising new ones. One the latter (mixed metaphor alert): I've long banged the drum for raising the curtain on Russian influence on the GOP and, by extension, its elected representatives. As one whose ancestors (4) fought in the Continental Army and were members of / public servants in the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike, it appalls me how what once was noble has declined. My hope is that exposure + transformation will occur, not extinction. May it be so, pronto. Again, deep thanks for this master class. 🙏🏾

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Very Very Nice Article..... first time I heard "The imperative to get beyond “crotch” politics" .....a focus on the trivial. She makes a great deal of sense and her arguments are well-reasoned. Interesting observation about the "greatest generation" being the parents of WWII generation...who lived through WWI and the Great Depression. One wonders if there is a cycle of sentiment which underlies human behavior. Hard times train a population and engender key values (kindness, humility, etc) which serve as the basis for good times. Good times train the population with key values (arrogance, indifference, etc) ...which can lead to hard times. It is interesting that immigrants often serve as a dose of reality in good times.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

Excellent! And thank you for making it freely available.

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This is one of the best articles I've read on your Substack!

"The connection between their personal well-being with a rules-based order at home and abroad" - there's a couple of isolationists on Twitter that need to realize this.

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Superb. But now you’ve whetted our appetite for the experts Paine mentioned--on European defense, US production, et al.

As Paine might say, this was not the dessert but the delicious hors d’oeuvres for the banquet we’re now expecting from you in 2024.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

She is so good at interviews. Clear explanations of concepts. No vanity or blabla. Just good analysis. A true role model for analysis.

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Absolutely spectacular! I am a 65 year old, white, former Marine officer. Oh, and a devout Christian. Not exactly the ideal profile for the Democratic Party. In fact, a lot of the sub-intellectual thinking from the elite left over the last 25 years has deeply troubled me. But I am also someone who believes the U.S. is the greatest and most wonderful democratic experiment the world has ever known (with all the horrible disclaimers - genocide and a brutal system of slavery among the most notable). I am praying with all my might that Trump will not be reelected. I might have some minor differences with Dr. Paine but she is largely spot on. If Trump returns to the Oval Office it will be a disaster for the country and the world that I believe could ultimately resemble Old Testament prophecy or sci-fi. I know the internet is filled with folks that think their hair is on fire. I hate that and really have almost never done that. But when I see the guy that was responsible for 1/6 as the “presumptive nominee” for the Republican Party my head starts feeling uncomfortably warm.

Before you go high-fiving me let me be clear. I think gender abolition is not “following the science”. CRT is an absurdly naive ideology and Judeo-Christianity laid the foundation for the Enlightenment, Democracy and the end of slavery. But I am pragmatic. A vote for Trump is a vote against this upward arc.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

What a find! A true veteran of the 20th century with all its heaven and hell.

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I stopped reading when she started in with the hate speech against Republicans.

Who has misused the DOJ, the IRS and the FBI to push for banana republic absolute control? Not Republicans. I hear America's most intellectually myopic people, progressives, routinely tell me that the way to save democracy is to persecute your opponent. Have they ever read Machiavelli?

Over approximately 200 years we have seen both parties embarrass themselves with mindless idiotology, but persecuting the opposition and trying to break them thru abuse of the judicial system is a first. It's a first in the USA, that is. It's common practice under Putin. Jinping, Maduro, Mugabe and others. And now, it's common practice under Biden. Biden must be stopped. Period. This country and this world face no bigger threat than a Biden regime with unstoppable power. If you can't see that that is the Biden regime's objective, you must be a progressive.

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I also discovered her on Dwarkesh's podcast, ordered her book, and now am glad to see this 💚 🥃

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I am not convinced that Putin will attack NATO countries. the fact that so many experts take jt as given imply they think he’s mad. There is a Biden video explaining the red line in the early 90s that Putin says was crossed. Many experts completely disagree with the interviewee here.

Also the Trump animosity in the interview and comments are hard to understand, as he was the only president in recent memory not to get involved in a new war, proxy or otherwise, as well as creating normalization of relations between Israel and some Middle East countries. I don’t think people even understand why he got elected in 2016, and likely will this year. Most of the dictator-staying-in-power vibes come from the side with the guy in public office for 50-odd years and refusing to step aside.

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I found her thesis entirely unsatisfactory. This is nothing more than narrative history which Noah had criticised in the past, but now accepts without any push back. She points to no data. Just a bunch of case studies at best. Again, just a narrative. When Noah asks if there is any evidence for maritime powers being more democratic, she provides nothing. The only data point she uses is the one about the importance of shipping and coastal economies. She creates this entire thesis just from this one data point. She's not an academic. She's at best a narrative historian which is nothing more than a propagandist.

To all those might want to label a far rightist or leftist. I'm not. Although I'm not American I do support most of her prescriptions.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

Outstanding

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

This was great but still depressing for me - the level of support for Trump suggests we don’t yet understand the gravity of our geopolitical situation let alone domestic.

I’ve noticed a few CnC positions available in my area (some with Kratos) and toyed with the idea - I think those would be very helpful in a time of conflict. But future job growth in that sector is nearly stagnant and there are ample opportunities elsewhere.

At a personal level I struggle with how to help/prepare but I dearly want to mostly because I fear what’s to come. I’m getting back into shape, eating better, shooting more, and planning to buy some drones. I’m making faraday boxes for those close to me.

But I don’t think Americans want to change their minds yet.

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Jan 30Liked by Noah Smith

Excellent observation,

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