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The death of the “rules-based international order”

by | Feb 24, 2024 | Politics | 1 comment

Exactly two years ago today, we all woke up to discover the Russian Federation, under the orders of President Vladimir Putin, had launched a powerful invasion of its much smaller neighbour, Ukraine. It was a dark and terrible day, one that I will forever remember because of the deep foreboding and paralysing fear that we all felt on it.

I have close people in Russia, whom I have helped and supported for years. On that day, I had no idea whether I would ever even see them again, let alone how I might contact them and help them if they ever needed me. Worse, at that time, I had a very close friend from Russia living nearby – she has long since returned to her homeland, and is much happier there with her family – who has relatives living in precisely the parts of Ukraine that were invaded. She had no idea whether they were alive or dead.

Such was the story repeated across southern and western Russia. The two peoples are not merely related – they are BROTHER PEOPLES, though not many Russians on the streets would argue this any longer, even if their elites mouth the words.

Despite the fratricidal nature of the conflict, certainly at the early stages, it was inevitable – and, at some level, NECESSARY.

Someone had to confront Clown World. Someone had to beat the genocidal lunatics and GloboHomoPaedoPharisatanists into submission with a nail-tipped baseball bat. And someone had to stand up for traditional values, the Orthodox Christian faith, and the very concept of a nation-state.

That someone was, and remains, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. I firmly believe history will show he was the only one who could do it – despite his tremendous reluctance to do so. Events confronted him, despite his best efforts to avoid this conflict. And, through careful preparation, planning, forethought, and understanding of his enemies, he helped his country and government prepare for an existential conflict.

Zugzwang on the Grand Chessboard

Two years later, we can see the ruins of the old world order shattered and broken around us, thanks in no small part to the Neo-Tsar’s fateful decision to order the invasion of Ukraine. The so-called “rules-based international order” was always a non sequitur, for the simple reason that no one could ever explain exactly who sets the rules, or what they are. In reality, “the rules” were whatever the neoclowns in charge of the FUSA’s foreign policy said they were – which, inevitably, meant an unstable and nonsensical approach to real geopolitics.

It is critical to understand this is a feature, not a bug. And to understand this, one must therefore understand neoclowns, who have two defining character traits, which make them very poorly suited for governance.

First, they are utterly clueless about the workings of the real world – most of them have backgrounds in philosophy, history, “international relations”, and “political science”, which means they almost universally lack any kind of grounding in HARD MAFFS. This in turn means they cannot count, and therefore cannot understand the cost and the benefit of actions. They also lack the theoretic foundations necessary to actually understand game theory – which, despite its reputation as being a tool of economics, originated in mathematics. (John von Neumann, a contemporary of John Nash, and another true genius for the ages, once famously derided the “Nash Equilibrium” concept as “nothing more than a fixed-point theorem”, which, in fairness, it was.)

Second, and on a related note, it is precisely because they lack any concept of cost and benefit, that they are almost universally so smug and self-assured. They genuinely believe the FUSA is an exceptional nation, immune to the laws of history, economics, and geopolitics. They think the FUSA can throw its weight around as and when THEY please, at THEIR direction, to achieve their own inchoate and poorly defined, poorly thought-through ends.

The Neo-Tsar put those foundational principles to the test. They have been weighed, they have been measured, and they have been found BADLY wanting. It turns out that degrees in political science ARE NOT a match for degrees in mechanical, aeronautical, or nuclear engineering, and that neoliberal economics is not rooted in actual human action and behaviour.

The upshot of all of this is the foreign (and domestic) policy establishment in the West – which is really to say, the FUSA – sits on a foundation of, basically, nothing whatsoever. And when you have no real ability to think strategically, decades or even centuries ahead, and you run into rivals and enemies who do think in such alien terms… well, you tend to LOSE the game of geopolitical chess.

This is precisely the point Big Serge raised in his most recent piece, about how the West is now in an “age of Zugzwang”, where there are no good moves to make – only bad ones, and worse ones.

Global Encirclements

The West has very stupidly and foolishly trapped itself into a pocket from which there is no escape. Just as Russia’s armies are doing to the Ukrainians on the battlefield, by applying constricting pressure on every front, in an application that I call “anaconda warfare“, so the Neo-Tsar is doing to the West in the world of geopolitics. He is forcing them into an encirclement, where the West’s only options are to surrender or die.

This is not an exaggeration. The West’s most potent weapons have proven, to their complete shock and horror, to be utterly useless against Russia. The real true weapon of mass destruction the FUSA has – or rather, HAD – is not its nuclear stockpile, but rather its control over the global financial system. Yet Russia has managed to evade and avoid those sanctions, and is now thriving.

How is this possible?

Because Russia is an ancient country, with a thousand-year history of defeating its enemies through patience, preparation, unity of the state and people, and vast reserves of real stuff. Russia is the most resource-rich nation anywhere on Earth, both by virtue of its colossal size, and by virtue of the just incredible mineral riches it has on, in, and under its soil.

And because Russia’s elites, by nature, are patient, calculating, methodical, and trained to think in terms of decades and centuries. The Neo-Tsar’s rise to power was NOT accidental. I have long maintained that the “grey man” of the Kremlin got to where he did, precisely because the Russian military saved the Motherland in her hour of greatest need – just as it has always done.

The Russian military, in turn, has a tradition of a General Staff that goes back well over 250 years. Their General Staff is older than the entire FUSA is as a country. As such, they have an appreciation of history and tradition, as well as of how to deal with existential threats to the Rodina, that most other nations cannot even hope to match.

All of this came together after the 2014 Euromaidan, when the Russian elites realised just how deadly serious the West was about their infamous policy of “extending Russia“, as that RAND Corporation paper from 5 years back says. Having seen the West’s willingness to use sanctions to try to beat Russia into submission, the Russian authorities methodically and patiently prepared, by putting in financial guardrails and alternative systems for payment processing.

That is where their MIR system came from, and that is why Russia began building its own interbank messaging system. It is why the financial architecture and infrastructure in Russia began to evolve in ways the West could not control, and cannot oversee.

Today, the Russian economy is stronger, more resilient, and more self-sufficient than it has EVER been. And the West is now trapped in an encirclement of its own creation, from which it cannot escape.

This is zugzwang, where there are no good moves – only bad ones and worse ones.

The collective West cannot go back on MUH SANKSHUNS!!!, for that would be tantamount to admitting failure (and they HAVE failed). It cannot sanction anything much more in Russia – if they sanction UniCredit or Raiffeisen, the banking sectors in Austria and Italy will take big hits, with potential catastrophic consequences for the already weakened and overleveraged European banking sector at large. Doing so would potentially create a whole new global financial crisis.

The only possible option is to sanction third-party entities, in India, China, and elsewhere – which, catastrophically, is exactly what the collective West is now doing. Yet those same countries are no longer afraid of those SANKSHUNS, because they can simply take their business elsewhere.

Nor can the West abandon Russian energy. Despite unprecedented sanctions, the West is actually buying MORE Russian LNG than ever before – because, being governed by idiots, voted in by morons (yes, the European electorates are very much at fault here), the European nations very stupidly cut themselves off from cheap and abundant Russian pipeline gas. They are also buying MORE Russian crude oil than before – through intermediaries in India and Greece, who are getting extremely rich off the trade.

The result is a deindustrialising West, particularly in Germany, the economic engine of Europe. The biggest manufacturing companies in Germany are fleeing to America and Asia, where energy is abundant and/or labour costs are low. The Germans themselves are going to become an impoverished, broken, beaten nation – just as was evidently always the neoclown plan.

Shattering Old Dogmas

It is also important to understand, two years on, that by launching the SMO and defying the MOAR SANKSHUNS NAOWH!!! crowd, Russia laid completely bare the intellectual bankruptcy of the neoliberal economic doctrine that has guided the West for centuries – specifically, the dogma of free trade.

This is a hard one for free-market types like me to accept. But the facts are what they are – and the FACT is that the dogma of free trade never had any solid intellectual foundation whatsoever. The entire idea of “comparative advantage” really came from essentially freezing all variables affecting an economy, save for two, one being a cause and the other being an effect, and then analysing what might happen if those two variables changed.

This is not how real economies work.

In fact, when you introduce multiple variables into the equation, the entire idea of free trade completely falls apart. While protectionism is not necessarily a good thing – it can create a sclerotic and completely uncompetitive domestic environment, as it did in India for forty years after independence – a protectionist policy FORCED upon a nation will, by definition, force the people of that nation to innovate.

And when you have a nation with a history of technical and engineering excellence, and the kind of industrial strength and power, that Russia has, along with the colossal mineral and resource wealth it has… well, you should not then be surprised that such a nation can shrug off sanctions with relative ease.

Independence is Strength

For that is precisely what happened. The Russians produce near-as-dammit as much steel as the United States does in a single year – with less than half the population. They produce nearly twice as many STEM graduates every year as the FUSA does – and unlike the FUSA, those graduates are overwhelmingly RUSSIAN, not foreigners looking to earn a green card.

Westerners like to mock the Russians for being “a gas station masquerading as a country”, as that hoary old chestnut from Sen. John McCain (may he burn in Hell) goes. Yet, how many nations on Earth have the ability to build space stations, and maintain them with their own space taxis? The FUSA can’t do it anymore, and has not been able to do so for many years.

How many nations can build their own, 100% domestically produced, airliners with high-bypass turbofan engines produced from 100% domestic components? Literally NO ONE outside the FUSA can do so – the French, Germans, and Brits can’t. The British have Rolls Royce, which makes engines, to be sure – but their domestic aircraft industry went bust decades ago. Airbus is a consortium of multiple European nations, which relies on a long and complex supply chain to produce its (excellent) aircraft.

Even the Chinese can’t do it. If you look at the COMAC C919, it is NOT a fully domestic Chinese airliner. Much of its components and construction come from Western vendors.

By comparison, the Russian MS-21 and Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100, are domestically built through and through.

How many countries on Earth can claim to have a serious nuclear navy? Perhaps five – and two of them barely count. The Brits can’t even get their aircraft carriers out of port without problems, and their most recent SLBM test failed SPECTACULARLY right in front of their defence secretary. The Chinese have nuclear-powered submarines, but their surface fleet is quite shoddy.

The less said about the French, the better.

Only the Russians and Americans can claim to have a serious nuclear navy – the Russians with their submarines, the Americans with their aircraft carriers. And, given the vast and growing Russian lead in hypersonic missiles and air defence systems, the American nuclear-powered supercarrier is looking more like a target and less like a tool of power projection, every single day.

All of this underscores the monumental achievements made by the Russians over the past two years. They never wanted to divorce themselves from the West – their whole policy, for three hundred years, since the time of Peter the Great, was always aimed at becoming a European power, which is why some 80% of their people and the majority of their GDP actually exists in the westernmost third of their country. The Far East has barely 15 million people in it, and you could drop ALL of the US landmass into it with pretty much nobody noticing, other than the Siberian mosquitoes in summer.

Conclusion – No Way Back

It is well past time for the West to recognise and understand that the Banderastan War is LOST. Ukraine is not merely losing, it has LOST. Even as I write this, Russian forces are pushing past Avdeevka and ever deeper into the western DPR, liberating those territories, taking village after village. The collapse of Ukraine’s strongest point in its Donbass line, is evidently creating a cascade of failures in the rest of the line.

The Russian strategy from the outset was very simple. They wanted to force the Ukies to the negotiating table, so they went in with a much smaller force than anyone expected, aiming to pin down the Ukrainian forces in Queef and push a political settlement. Once the Ukies reneged on that settlement, at the urging of one Bozo BoJo – whom I believe future historians will condemn as the worst of all failed warmongers and evil men – the Russians tried to move to an economy-of-force footing, while they prepared their economy for the needs of war.

Then, after the Khostly Khreat Khokholite Kharkov and Kherson Khounteroffensives – which khollapsed khatastrophically, despite winning back khonsiderable territories, as it were – the Russians finally moved to a proper war footing, mobilising hundreds of thousands, and enticing hundreds of thousands more to volunteer and sign contracts.

Today’s Russian military is NOTHING like it was 2 years ago. It is fully spun up, with overwhelming power, the latest technologies, a colossal industrial base behind it, and – most importantly, and most valuable of all – tremendous amounts of integrated warfighting experience against the very best NATO could throw at them.

This modern Russian military does not fear NATO. It does not fear the West. It only fears the stupidity of Western elites, who might just be insane and crazy enough to commit the FUSA and the NATO alliance to a course that will lead to outright nuclear war. This is the one unthinkable event that makes even Russians blanch – because, unlike Western elites, who have no understanding of cause and effect, the Russian elites actually want their civilisation to survive.

That is why the Russian leadership, starting with President Putin and all the way down to the colonels and majors commanding units on the front lines, are trying so hard to keep things contained and bottled up. But, if the West is genuinely stupid and crazy enough to confiscate frozen Russian assets – as seems all but certain – and is insane enough to deploy F-16 fighters from NATO bases around Ukraine to attack deep into Russian territory…

Then all bets are off. The Russians WILL take off the kid gloves after that, because the West will have crossed lines that should never have been touched.

Pray God this does not happen – that some sense of self-preservation will stop the West from taking that final, suicidal step.

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1 Comment

  1. SupremeCannon

    Absolutely agree the GAE has no reverse gear. Cause and effect are alien concepts to them because any time they ran into difficulty they either removed a government, bombed someone or just wrote a cheque.

    The biggest schoolyard bully the world has EVER seen got a couple of careless punches blocked and wasn’t even hit back, and has completely, utterly lost its shit.

    Imagine feeling smug and confident enough to publicly threaten fellow U.S. citizens with ‘F-15’s and nukes’. There’s Tall Poppy strategy, and then there’s that. As if the Beltway is some invisible Masonic force field protecting them from Sarmat and Poseidon – or even their own citizens for that matter.

    Drunk on their own Kool-Aid. It’s DEFINITELY a dangerous moment.


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