Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 09, 2019

The Demise Of The 'Western' System

A U.S. made fighter jet that is claimed to evade radar, finally evades radar:

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force says an F35A fighter jet disappeared from radar over the sea off Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Japan Time.

ASDF officials said the aircraft took off from Misawa air base at around 7:00 p.m., and disappeared at a point about 135 kilometers east of Misawa City.

This again proves that Donald Trump is right:

"Amazing job … so amazing we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new planes for the Air Force, especially the F-35. You like the F-35? ... you can't see it. You literally can't see it. It's hard to fight a plane you can't see," Mr Trump said in October.

Or is he?

The F-35 may have some good electronics but is not a good plane to fly against any competent competitor. The Marine version which can take off and land vertically, is a remake of the Soviet Yakovlev 141 which first flew in 1989 (vid). The derived Air Force and Navy versions do not have the vertical take off and landing capabilities, but inherited the disadvantages the basic design brings with it. The F-35's stealth does not work against modern radar:

[T]o shoot down F-35 one has to have two different bands radar, good sensor-fusion algorithms and decent signal processing protocols and voila'. S-300 PMU2 Favorit can do this, certainly S-400, and its inevitably coming iterations for which there is literally a line of customers, can. In general, this whole BS about "stealth" should end at some point of time--it was a good propaganda while it lasted. Reality is, with modern processing power and radar design F-35 is not survivable against modern cutting edge air-defense and air-forces.

The Turkish President Erdogan knows this. That is why he is not deterred by U.S. threats to not sell F-35s to him while he buys Russian air defense systems. He just flew to Moscow to discuss futher purchases which will likely include a Russian designed fighter:

The two sides must "strengthen cooperation in the military-technical sphere," Putin told Erdogan as they met in the Kremlin. "These regard first of all the completion of the contract to supply S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey," he said. "There are other promising projects on the agenda related to the supply of modern Russian military products to Turkey," Putin added.

The U.S. no longer builds capable weapons. As Ian Welsh wrote yesterday in America: A Failing State:

The US military is showing signs of being unable to create effective advanced military equipment: as with the F-35, which basically can’t fly. It is showing signs of intense incompetence, as when it let multiple planes be destroyed on the ground by a hurricane rather than, uh, fly them out or get them under effective cover.

Other examples of the incompetence of U.S. military design are the Littoral Combat Ships, which are essentially unarmed fast boats. The "stealth" DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers were supposed to support ground troops with their long range guns. Built at $4 billion a piece the ships are now losing their guns because the ammunition turned out to be too expensive to buy. Before that they lost much of their stealth capabilities because some necessary communication equipment was left out of the original design. The ships new task will be that of a missile launch platform, a job that any commercial ship, carrying containerized Russian missiles (vid), can likewise fulfill.

Ian points out that the lack of military competence is just a symptom. The real problem sits much deeper:

The US is a gold flecked garbage heap slowly rolling towards the ocean. On fire.

There is a lot of ruin in a nation, but for almost 40 years now America’s elites have treated the US as something to loot, and assumed that the good times would keep rolling. They were uninterested in actually governing. They were happy to move much of America’s core manufacturing overseas, to the most likely nation to replace America as a hegemon, because the Chinese were smart enough to make American elites rich.

The European Union suffers similar problems. Brexit is just one symtom of its demise.

Alastair Crooke thinks that the 'western' system at large is crumbling down:

Wherever one looks, it is evident that the post-war Establishment élites are on the backfoot. They maintain a studied panglossian hauteur.
...
More fundamentally, the question is rarely asked: can America truly Be Made Great Again (MAGA), its military totally renewed, and its civil infrastructure refurbished, when starting out from a position today (year to date) where its shortfall of Federal revenue to expenditure is 30%; where its debt is now so great that the US may only survive by again repressing interest rates to a (zombifying) near zero?

And again, is it truly feasible to force manufacturing jobs back to a high-cost base America, from their low-cost, offshoring in Asia – against the backdrop of an America made progressively ‘higher-cost’, through its locked-in monetary inflation policies – except by crashing the value of the dollar to make this high cost base platform globally competitive again? Is MAGA realistic; or will the re-capture of jobs back to the US from the low-cost world end by triggering the very recession which the Central Banks so fear?

And as the post-war élites in America and Europe become more and more desperate to maintain the illusion of being the vanguard of global civilisation, how will they cope with the re-appearance of a ‘civilization-state’ in its own right: i.e. China?

I recently re-watched the record breaking Chinese series Story of Yanxi Palace (vid). It is in all aspects better than anything Hollywood produces. Such cultural products are the next realm where China will beat the 'west' by a large margin.

The 'western' élites dragged it down. It is no longer superior. Something will have to give.

Posted by b on April 9, 2019 at 16:55 UTC | Permalink

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Here is an article that looks at the cost of flight helmets for the F-35:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/08/united-states-military-spending-coffee.html

On the upside, the Named Executive Officers at American defense contractors are doing very well financially thanks to the unfettered generosity of U.S. taxpayers.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Apr 9 2019 17:08 utc | 1

It's almost as if these "western" elites represent an occupying power tasked with stripping America of assets before steering it into a war it can't win.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Apr 9 2019 17:12 utc | 2

Western humanity has been run into the ground by a cabal of elite that own global private finance and everything else.

They have managed to brainwash Americans into believing that profit is a necessity in every human interaction or development and it has a higher priority than function or service (which is the really sick part)

The complete demise of the Western system with the private jackboot on finance cannot come soon enough.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 9 2019 17:30 utc | 3

maga - and then boeing got in the way, lol...


Mission Readiness Starts with Services

As a part of Boeing Global Services, U.S. Army Services is designed to support to the Army’s entire spectrum of platforms and equipment. The global U.S. Army Services team works side-by-side with customers to fully understand mission requirements, while delivering quality customer service and providing the highest levels of readiness to Army soldiers, operators and maintainers.

uh huh

how about something more then a cheap slogan?? and while yer at it, can you come up with another for boeing??

Posted by: james | Apr 9 2019 17:32 utc | 4

"More fundamentally, the question is rarely asked: can America truly Be Made Great Again (MAGA), its military totally renewed, and its civil infrastructure refurbished, when starting out from a position today (year to date) where its shortfall of Federal revenue to expenditure is 30%; where its debt is now so great that the US may only survive by again repressing interest rates to a (zombifying) near zero?'

And, of course we should add, by entrusting the job to a real estate conman, a man spent a major portion of his life, too, to conning the government out of his tax revenues?

It's actually all more than a little absurd. American has become something like a gigantic Monty Python skit.

"MAGA" of course is just a new take on "the American Dream," a somewhat pathetic old advertising slogan created in the unique heydays after WWII.

You cannot make it 1957 again.

link


link

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Apr 9 2019 17:36 utc | 5

America is an infant Nation that is yet reach the age of 250 years trying to dominate the 5,000 years old Chinese Nation, the 1,031 year old Russian Nation and the 2,500 year old Persian Nation who control the largest Landmass on the Planet that contains all the Natural Resources that they could possibly ever want. Leading this folly is a Delusional National Security Advisor and a Fundamentalist Christian Zionist Fanatic leading another Christian Zionist Political Novice President who they can tell all sorts of lies to make him do their bidding.

Posted by: William H Warrick III MD | Apr 9 2019 17:38 utc | 6

sally, those half million dollar F-35 flight helmets are quite impressive.

Posted by: annie | Apr 9 2019 17:40 utc | 7

ASDF jet disappears over the sea off Aomori

The Nips love irony just as much if not more than I do.
So the irony of a 'smart' fighter jet designed to make money disappear in vast quantities, teaching itself to disappear, won't escape them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 9 2019 18:14 utc | 8

$11 Billion in tariffs to protect Boeing from Airbus is Trump's latest move. Overall, the tariff hits numerous products but the main emphasis is protecting Boeing. But who pays the $11 Billion? American consumers.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 18:24 utc | 9

Re: Alistair Crooke's comment on the "shortfall of Federal revenue to expenditure," such statements are not reflective of reality and are not germane to anything. A country that prints its own money cannot incur debt, thus cannot default on it. The quote/unquote debt crisis is pure fiction that serves only to enrich certain vested interests and perpetuate a hoax of power on society as a whole. I highly recommend a study on MMT.

The purpose of a fiat currency is to facilitate trade in a given denomination and that denomination gains legitimacy through being the only form of payment acceptable for taxation. The Federal government does not run off tax revenue because it printed the money in the first place. The Federal government can print as much money as it wants and while the effects of dilution are undesirable, those are merely artifacts of a game created to divert productive economic gains to a small cadre. Arguably, America has not had any meanignful productive economic gains in decades, yet the "debt" is larger than ever, the stock market higher than ever, and inequality higher than ever.

While States rely on US dollars the same way individuals do, it is simply not true that debt is meaningful at the Federal level. Pure baloney.

Posted by: Covergirl | Apr 9 2019 18:26 utc | 10

Part of the problem may be that the American oligarchy is now believing its own bullshit, or put another way, has descended into decadence.
The United States has morphed stories many times - from a land of opportunity via theft from Natives/occupying new land, to jobs and growth opportunities via the Industrial Revolution, to economic prosperity through rebuilding other nations torn apart by war.
Under these lenses - particularly the last one - the Ukraine, Libya, Syria and other "freedom and nation building" exercises make sense.
The problem is that it is still unclear that the other major nations are willing to get themselves into another major war with each other - from which the US can sell into, both during and after.
Another way to look at it is the Dr. Michael Hudson model: that any economy which permits interest bearing debt to, by natural law, greatly exceed organic economic capability to repay and is thus doomed to cataclysm - the increase of the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) from 12% in the 80s to well over 40%, maybe 50% or 60% today, would be a good indicator.
Under the Dr. Michael Hudson model - the "western" tradition is the abolishing of the debt jubilee, replaced by the Roman looting of foreign lands model.
Note that the debt jubilee model can still work: a 100% or 150% inflation over a 1-3 year period would do it, accompanied and followed by policies which restrain FIRE going forward. However, the unwillingness of the oligarchy to accept/understand/implement is very clear.
Interesting times.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 9 2019 18:31 utc | 11

According to Google...
"An F-35A in 2019 is expected to cost $85 million per unit complete with engines and full mission systems."

That's enough loot to buy 4 of those nifty little Learjets and a year's supply of fuel; or 1 Learjet and $64 million change.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 9 2019 18:40 utc | 12

Thanks for the Story of Yanxi Palace link. Bookmarked.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 9 2019 18:50 utc | 13

Three important, fundamental questions are raised by b requiring qualification followed by further questions: What constitutes the "Western System"? Is there a corresponding "Eastern System" and how do they differ? And just what sort of system(s) are we discussing? The first hit on a Yandex search using the term Western System links to a refuse collection company called Western Systems located in the states of Oregon and Washington!

Are we to discuss geopolitics; geoeconomics; the Western System of Piracy known as Colonialism; the Western Slavery System; Western Warfare Systems; Western Ideological Systems; Western Financial System; Western What?

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 19:02 utc | 14

In addition to generating catastrophic levels of biosphere-destroying waste, the "Western System" is now also wasting humans on an unprecedented scale, just walk certain streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, practically any large city.

Posted by: Trisha Driscoll | Apr 9 2019 19:11 utc | 15

Rambling thoughts:

Can America be made great again? Of course it can. Corruption, particularly on the military/empire side is sapping its strength. All America needs to do is ... stop trying to rule the World. America's resources are huge, otherwise the country could never get away with the idiotic policies it has been following for so long. Will it give up those policies? It's hard to say. Every country has an 'elite' ... the question is to what degree does that elite care about their own country. Elites that care only for themselves are very common. Look around the World ... why do so many countries stay down for so long? Because their elites are selfish.

Trump may really be doing America a big favor. His foreign policy is so blatantly obnoxious, and over the top now, that one would think that the rest of the World would finally get fed up and opt out. Why haven't they? Because many of these countries and certainly their elites have been very comfortable living inside the American Empire. That is true for China as well. Their development could never have been so rapid without being part of the American system. And, if you don't think that is true simply look at the dollar value of China's exports to the US.

America could have kept its empire and expanded it to Russia as well, if it had played nice, instead of behaving like jerks (Israel is a BIG problem here). Times of empire have generally been good for civilization. Normally, when empires fall, there is chaos, war and a lot more bloodshed. That may not happen this time ... because of nuclear weapons. The big countries cannot fight wars any more. In fact, technology has reached a point where nations really do not need wars at all to prosper, if that were ever true. What is happening now is that a certain group of elites really enjoys playing at war and competition, etc. It's fun for them, and they really can't accept that it is all pointless now.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 9 2019 19:13 utc | 16

@ Covergirl | Apr 9, 2019 2:26:14 PM | 11

But – please do not forget that, thanks to the “Federal” “Reserve” (it's neither) every single US dollar comes into circulation as debt. The Fed creates the money out of thin air, but does not create enough to cover the interest, and as that interest piles up the US falls deeper and deeper into debt – real, honest-to-goodness, actual debt.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Apr 9 2019 19:21 utc | 17

The problem isn't just a Western one. The whole world is 'managed' in a private capitalist or state capitalist way. We are almost at the end of a capitalist large-scale cycle, overproduction is becoming more pressing day by day. This is primarily due to capitalism's inability to adequately produce and allocate what is really needed. The Keynesian way out is no longer one, nor Chinese construction-Keynesianism, even less the u.s. military- Keynesianism.
At the end of such cycles the main world powers usually go to war. This 'solution' is profoundly irrational by now because of the existence of 'über'-weapons that renders the earth uninhabitable for humans when used.

We need a different, ecological form of economy. And we need it now.

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 9 2019 19:30 utc | 18

The F35 seems to have one strong point in that it can fly higher than S-200 A.A missiles (even if they may have been updated? S-200 were supposed to be improved by the introduction of the advanced radar of the S-300 series, but the range would be the same as before).

The recent attack on the Iranians who were claimed to be in Aleppo, apparently was via Jordan and Iraq (and of course over US held territory in Syria.)

It is a bit of an open question whether they were "seen" by Syrian radar or not. Both sides have expressed different opinions.

Posted by: stonebird | Apr 9 2019 19:31 utc | 19

Khamenei's assessment:

"Enemies of the Islamic Republic like Trump & the idiots around U.S. ruling apparatus are going down the drain."

He also re-emphasized Iran's position on nuclear weapons:

"Contrary to enemies’ beliefs, IRI’s dignity & power doesn't come from nukes. We’ve always stressed that nuclear weapons violate our religious principles & we don't need nukes. Iran’s power & dignity in view of Muslim World emerge from people's resistance, sacrifice & insight."

But that doesn't mean Iran doesn't seek to utilize products of nuclear technology.

Clear taunt to Trump:

"Iran unveils 114 new achievements in nuclear technology," short vid at link.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 19:34 utc | 20

I know of F-22 destroyed at Tyndall during hurricane Michael, but I have not heard of any F-35 being destroyed. Can anybody tell me where the F-35s were located?

Thank you.

Posted by: DC | Apr 9 2019 19:34 utc | 21

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9, 2019 3:02:00 PM | 15

By "Western Civilization", we basically mean capitalism. Historically, you could trace it from the rise of the Iberian colonial empires (Portugal and Spain) and, definitely, the world sculpted by the British, French and Dutch empires from the 18th Century onwards. That's the geopolitical meaning.

Ideologically, "Western Civilization" is the one laid out by Greco-Roman civilization, in the Ancient Age. When a right-wing ideologue tells you the term, chances are he/she is referring to this (since they pay special attention to the cultural aspect of societies, often as a substitute for ethnogenesis). That's the cultural meaning.

Alternatively, we could use the term in a pure political meaning. In this sense, Western Civilization is basically Western Democracy, by which I mean the republican and parliamentary models of nation-States. So, any country that runs a representative democracy within the frame of a republic or a parliament may be considered "Western". If this is the criterium, then Western Civilization as a worldwide consensus was born with the French Revolution of 1789.

Bonus: there's also an ideology born during the Cold War called "Atlanticism". This ideology states that the USA is the inheritor of the European legacy, in all aspects (culturally, economically, socially), and, therefore, a continuation of (a perfected form of) the old world colonial empires and European prestige. This ideology, of course, was custom-made to legitimize NATO, and is still a very popular ideology - specially among the British and many French and German conservatives (Angela Merkel being an example of an Atlanticist).

Posted by: vk | Apr 9 2019 19:40 utc | 22

Covergirl, I sometimes look back at the attempted grift posed by the so-called Simpson Bowels group, and how we at least avoided that particular bullet.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 9 2019 19:42 utc | 23

@ annie #8

Regarding those helmets, I've never owned an electronic device which didn't eventually fail. I wonder what will happen to the airplane and pilot if his headpiece stops working. Besides the mechanical aspects, I'd expect the helmet could be hacked, either in real time or by a hidden bug.

Hope the Japanese pilot can get rescued. Flying over the ocean with a single engine isn't something which I'd want to do.

News stories of the B-21 Bomber are starting to surface. According to them it is invulnerable in every way. The Chinks and Ruskies can't see it with their radars, not even the S-400s - unless those radars can focus in on something which will look like an underfed mosquito. Because it will fly at night it can't be seen by the naked eye. A person gets the impression from the articles that the US doesn't really need any other weapons besides this one.

America's Lethal New B-21 vs. the B-2 Stealth Bomber

What if the Russians and Chinese decide not to surrender as soon as this Bomber takes flight? I'm going to guess it's vulnerable to at least a few countermeasures which nobody is talking about.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 9 2019 19:54 utc | 24

Covergirl @111

These dollars are worthless unless others who can't print them need to get their hands on them. The US happens to be in a position where other countries for various reasons need them. IMO, that is a very enviable position that is being severely abused by the US. Should this force others to stop using the dollar then it will fall to its intrinsic value. Zero.
There is something wrong with your theory but I'm not sure what it is.
The idea of printing fiat has been tried by many countries over time and most have failed miserably. I don't see why the US experiment should turn out any different.

Posted by: arby | Apr 9 2019 20:03 utc | 25

Yes, a little off topic, but related. The poverty rates for the USA, 2017, 39.7 million (13.9%). Families relying on SNAP cards, in excess of 45 million. Department of Offence (Defence), 714 billion USD, plus. Demise of a system? Well ya, no kidding. Waving flags, ..."thank you for your service"..., a sickening spectacle of hubris and banality. And Trump does not see this crap under his nose? He makes me sick just looking at him.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Apr 9 2019 20:08 utc | 26

Imran Khan's observation:

"When ldrs in Israel & India show a moral bankruptcy in their readiness to annex occupied West Bank & IOK in defiance of int law, UNSC resolutions & their own Constitution for votes, don't their ppl feel a sense of outrage & wonder how far they will go simply to win an election?"

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 20:09 utc | 27

In the course of closing out the browser pages I'd opened about the F-35, I ran into this nifty bit of information.

Manufacturing for the pilot’s helmet of the F-35 exclusively in Israel.

How very nice! Giving the apartheid Jewish state total control over all information reaching every F--35 pilot in the world shows how trustworthy those fine folks must be. Just a minor 'tweak' of the data would cause a pilot who thought he was flying level at 10,000 feet might actually be headed down at a small angle towards the land or ocean. Softwared "backdoors"? Would the people who tried to murder every single person on the USS Liberty do such a thing?

Surely not.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 9 2019 20:13 utc | 28

Trump is such a bitter, nasty babyman. Today Airbus stock fell 2.3% because loudmouth Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on Airbus and a whole host of other EU products including automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft parts, automotive parts, a list of agricultural products including fruits, cheeses, olive oil, sea food, handbags, clothing, you name it.

Nitwit can't get Boeing off the ground so he's punishing workers in the EU. Looks like the Chinese are stepping in. They have been meeting with EU members in Brussels today. We'll see what comes out of that.

https://www.ft.com/content/c381615a-5a55-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a

Chinese are also putting an order for 100 Boeing 737s on hold.

Chinese lessor suspends Boeing order

Trump tantrum in 3 2 1....!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 9 2019 20:13 utc | 29

Don't be so triumphalist. One could argue that it is the COIN focus and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that weakened the US military.

The US Military was investing in counterinsurgency for a long time. This allowed state adversaries to outcompete it. Now the focus will change and most resources will be allocated towards countering near peer adversaries.

The US has now started testing hypersonic weapons. It also has the best submarine fleet, someting Martyanov accepts. It does have serious problems though, such as its aircraft carrier centric fleet.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 9 2019 20:14 utc | 30

vk @23--

Thanks for taking a stab at my queries for b. One correction. The Atlantic Charter established the Atlanticist ideology when stated on 14 August 1941 by Churchill and FDR. A book on my shelf might interest you, A Short History of Western Ideology: A Critical Account by Rolf Petri, 2018.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 20:29 utc | 31

Yves Smith of nakedcapitalism had pegged this "demise" several years ago when she talked about the "crapification" of goods and services. She's still at it: Boeing Crapification: Second 737 Max Plane Within Five Months Crashes Just After Takeoff.

Is Western Civilization's "demise" due to greedy, short-sighted business interests? I think that's only part of it. The other part is a cultural malaise that allows the crapification. And here, the hubris of the elites is paramount cause they supported the corruption of ethics by sidelining critics with initiatives like Best of All Worlds and protected banker looting by claiming that "financial innovation" needed to be safeguarded.

The neoliberal Best of All Worlds theory says that our politics incorporates all views that are worthwhile. Because if an idea is worthwhile it will find a following and get heard. It ignores the fact that vested interests with great resources have the ability to smack-down critics.

The US government chose to protect "Financial Innovation" after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. This was largely an excuse for not prosecuting bankers. It meant that customers were responsible for their choices, even if they have limited information about the choices they are making. Facebook's "move fast and break things" has a similar feel.

But Obama and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner had to do something so they set-up an elaborate hoax: they created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but made those protections subject to Federal decisions by a new group: the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The result protects banks and the political establishment: when the Financial system fails again (due to "financial innovation", no doubt), instead of a government bailout, they'll be a consumer bail-in.

"Innovate or die!" LOL. Greenspan's Body Count is up to 265 as of December 2018.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 9 2019 20:33 utc | 32

George Galloway's current observation:

"Bottom Line: 'the ruling establishment in this country fear and loath #Corbyn for a simple reason whatever their fabricated criticisms. They know in the final analyses they cannot count on him to govern in the interests of the rich and powerful at home and imperialism abroad'."

Pretty good, terse encapsulation of what the "Western System" is composed of and does.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 20:39 utc | 33

"[F-35] finally evades radar."

Damn you, b! Now I have to clean tea out of my keyboard!

Ian Walsh may be correct that the US military "is showing signs of intense incompetence," but I want to assure the readers that the US military is the least incompetent sector of American society by a very large margin.

I am sure everyone knows I harp about "identity politics" the way some others here go on about "da Jooos!", but understanding the true nature of identity politics is essential to understanding how America became so comfortable with being profoundly incompetent.

Identity politics is constructed around the notion that an individual can achieve status from being victimized by something supposedly outside their control. White people thinking bad thoughts about specific ethnic minorities victimizes them and causes members of those minority groups to fail to succeed in society, for example, or men having penises causes women to be victimized by degrading penetration in the course of normal intercourse. This victimization has become the source of status in large portions of western culture, and as such it has become something of a rite of passage for young people transitioning to what passes for adulthood in the West to seek out the various ways in which they are victimized. For examples of acceptable categories of victimhood I have had obese acquaintances confide to me that they were victimized by their bodies, and other acquaintances who were suffering from depression claimed to be victimized by their own brains! Some claim both their own brains and bodies to be victimizing them. Considering this, can it be any surprise that one's own incompetence is now seen as a source of victimhood, and thus a wellspring of synthetic social status? This, by the way, is also why any sort of criticism of anyone for being stupid has become verboten in western culture. Being stupid and incompetent is a source of status as valued as winning a marathon and more valued than earning a PhD in America.

As this warped social cancer has grown to dominate American culture the population has become much more comfortable ridiculing intelligent people than stupid people. Is it any wonder Trump won the election?

To put it bluntly, incompetence has become a respected character trait within American culture, and this elevation of incompetence to revered status is what results in American designed airliners slaughtering their passengers and crew, or allows the American president to shrug off crimes against humanity with "Aw, shucks, we done screwed up and tortured some folks. We're incompetent, what can we say?"

This cultural cancer is terminal. It cannot be fixed because it permeates society at all levels. In fact this reverence for incompetence is even more entrenched among those with university educations in America as American college campuses are where identity politics indoctrination is most extreme. The very institutions that should be promoting skeptical inquiry, the society's immune system against credulity and stupidity in other words, are themselves vectors of the disease. Furthermore, America's entire corporate mass media feeds the American public an alternate reality in which this identity politics disease is actually normal and healthy. Americans cannot break out of this on their own because earning status from being human refuse is so much easier and rewarding than actually being a worthy and worthwhile human being.

That's pretty cynical, but the rest of the world needs to come to grips with that reality if humanity is to survive America's cultural cancer and mass delusion.


Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 9 2019 20:40 utc | 34

Corbyn on the current "Western System" being employed within UK--Austerity. See the video at link.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 20:44 utc | 35

The US has little chance of being great again. A military does not make a country great which is why the founders despised standing armies.

The population today is for the most part uneducated and unskilled and importing more of the same by the thousands. Having a degree in no way means one is educated today. Any products made are of very poor quality including military. The reason things seem so expensive is the dollar has been destroyed by inflation > 10% from the useless wars and other government waste. Hey, You want to believe the governments claim of < 2%,,, o k a y,,, but it ain't so.

To give you an idea as to how bad the dollar has been trashed,,, In the 1980s I raised a family of four on $16 per hour. Built a house, stick by stick and took flight lessons. My wife did not work.

Try doing that today (lol).... The nations wealth and soul has been sucked dry. And Government,,, just a big money black hole.

Posted by: ken | Apr 9 2019 20:55 utc | 36

@35 Ah so you are the new Hitler.....just kidding William. Seriously, you have touched on a taboo topic so don't expect a lively discussion. As I'm sure you know it always leads to charges of racism, sexism etc.

Posted by: dh | Apr 9 2019 20:58 utc | 37

Bart Hansen @24, did you get tripped up by a spellchecker? I think you meant Simpson-Bowles, as in this.

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Apr 9 2019 21:10 utc | 38

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 9, 2019 4:40:23 PM | 35

I think both -- the postmodern Left and the alt-right -- are two faces of the same coin: both sides refuse to admit the problem with Western Civilization is systemic (structural, economic) and claim the problem is with moral decay. The only difference is that one side claims moral decline should be solved by going all-in (the Left) and the other side claims it should be solved by going back through time (the Right). Both sides are wrong -- indeed, so wrong, that the USA transitioned from one side to the other (Obama to Trump) without significant changes in the economy.

Posted by: vk | Apr 9 2019 21:11 utc | 39

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9, 2019 4:29:36 PM | 32

Yes, but Atlanticism only became "cool"/mainstream in the 1970/1980s, when mainly the French postmodernists popularized it and thus made it acceptable to the Western Left-wing also. Before that, Atlanticism was more a thing closed to the right-wing and the European deep state.

Posted by: vk | Apr 9 2019 21:14 utc | 40

William Gruff @35--

I don't think it's "terminal" as such behavior's a hallmark of USA's culture and society, having aroused the curiosity of numerous writers beginning with de Tocqueville and more recently reflected in these two works: Richard Hofstadter's Anti-intellectualism in American Life, 1963; and Michael Kammen's People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization, 1972. I would agree that an update is required to those general works, but there are monographs showing a very different world, Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, 2001, and its 2005 sequel, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream would be good examples.

IMO, the rise of "identity politics" is closely related to the atomization of society. I don't know if you're familiar with Henry Giroux, but he wrote "Donald Trump and the Plague of Atomization in a Neoliberal Age" shortly before the 2016 election. It appears there are millions of people who are resisting and attempting what might be termed a restoration of the basic American Ideal as stated within the Constitution's Preamble thanks to Trump and his crew epitomizing Ugly Americanism. Whether we/they/us are capable of retaking our nation from what must be admitted are terroristic Misleaders remains to be seen but must be attempted.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 21:27 utc | 41

@42 I see identity politics as a Sixties phenomenon. Well before Trump. It has certainly accelerated in my lifetime to the point where it dominates political discussion. It could be economic or endemic….I don’t know. Everybody has a voice now thanks to the internet so it could just be a basic human desire to keep pushing the envelope. Nothing stands still for long.

Posted by: dh | Apr 9 2019 21:56 utc | 42

In 1999 the late Peter Gowan finished his brilliant book The Global Gamble: Washington's Faustian Bid for World Dominance:

"The most likely variant may be back to the future: back to 1920s-style grossly unequal states in Western Europe with narrow social bias alongside broken down regimes in the East; rising xenophobia and neo-fascist currents in the West, continuing stagnation and mounting social degredation. Only the democratic deficit may be different. We had thought that interwar capitalist society was a thing of the past, a deviation overcome by social progress. But it turns out the postwar gains were the deviation and the interwar state is again the norm. Postwar social progress was, it seems, a tactical, aberrant form of Europian capitalism made necessary by the challenge of Communism. We know now the second half of that sentence whose first half, so strongly believed in 1989, stated: " Western-style welfare capitalism is better than Eastern Communism..." The second half went unnoticed ten years ago. It reads: "but Western-style capitalism only existed because of communism." Europe seems to be drfifting towards a divided, turbulent and ugly future.

Posted by: Lochearn | Apr 9 2019 22:07 utc | 43

The alternative to "Western" culture is Eastern culture. The essential conceptual difference is that Western culture is ideals based, effectively reductionistic, while Eastern culture tends towards a more contextual, binary philosophy.
These reflect very different, but complimentary concepts. As mobile organisms, we naturally think we are going someplace and it will be better than here, so we seek ideals. God as ideal of wisdom and judgement, heaven as ideal of "life everlasting, perfection, etc. Gobs of money, wealth and power, for the more literal minded. The Eastern view tends toward seeing both sides of the coin and the context it is imbedded, though it doesn't compete well in the short term, with Western drive and desire. Motion creates order. Or else.
They actually have different concepts of time. We see ourselves as discrete individuals, moving through our environment and so think of the future as in front of us and the past behind. While the Eastern view is the past is in front and the future behind, as what is past and in front are known, while the future and what is behind are unknown. Which accords with being part of one's reality, as events are perceived after they occur and then it all flows onto other events.
The mind does function both ways; Reductionism and contextualization. Cycling between the two, to create more complex knowledge of reality.
As for money, it is a contract that enables mass societies to function, with one side an asset and the other a debt. Basically a voucher system. Yet we have come to treat it as a commodity, to mine out of society. Since we experience it as quantified hope, we try to save and store it, which originally drew much of it out of circulation and so the issuing powers had to add more, even though it wasn't backed by communal assets. Now banks loan it out, keeping it in circulation, but that means they have to create debts, in order to back it. Much of which is government debt. So the end result is that we are blowing up other countries, as an effect of trying to save money. Here is an essay I posted to medium, trying to flesh that out; https://medium.com/dialogue-and-discourse/the-worm-in-the-apple-of-modern-capitalism-a46081000d5a

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 9 2019 22:19 utc | 44

@ ken #37

To give you an idea as to how bad the dollar has been trashed,,, In the 1980s I raised a family of four on $16 per hour. Built a house, stick by stick and took flight lessons. My wife did not work.

Earlier today I was trying to get a bunch of files into pigeon hole folders so as to manage them, and found a 1938 Reader's Digest article titled Tomorrow's Airplanes. It predicted airliners would be flying 300mph at 30,000 feet, and that a passenger might someday expect to pay $450 for a flight from the US to Europe. Curious as to how would work out in today's money, I plugged the numbers into an online inflation calculator.

$450 in 2019 US Dollars equaled $25.10 in 1938 money. The results window said today's dollar has depreciated 94.4% since then. We drive cars and use phones and house appliances which spy on us, pay sky-high rates for second class health care, and pat ourselves on the back as being better off than all those countries with "socialized" medicine.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 9 2019 22:24 utc | 45

Let's say the cheerleaders are right, I'm not saying they are, and the F35 is a great plane and can't be detected by anything. With everything including weapons and fuel placed internally the amount of fuel carried by each plane is not substantial. The critics counter that the F35 can loiter on station and be refueled by tanker. Unless your enemy is incredibly stupid you shoot down the tanker, maybe get lucky and get an F35 at the same time, and the F35's high tail it home. Cheerleaders also brag that the aircraft carriers and their escorts will easily shoot down any barrage of missiles launched at the carrier. Maybe, maybe not. If they do indeed shoot them all down then go after the the supply ships and fleet oilers. Without oil, the rest of the ships use oil for propulsion, food and jet fuel the carriers head for home. Thus an intelligent enemy will go after the supply ships if they can't get the carriers.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Apr 9 2019 22:43 utc | 46

Dear MoA barflies,

Relax, that Japanese pilot was trained in super-secret special Ninja methods and technology that not only teach and enable ninjas to disappear using will and imagination, but also anything they are using or travelling in, no matter how large or expensive it is, or how many unwilling people they have to disappear along with them.

A major part of the Ninja technique in disappearing is to stage the disappearance in such a way that it looks like an accident.

Therefore, if the search teams find evidence of damage or a collision suggesting that the jet fell into the sea after take-off or because it ran out of fuel, that is all part of the camouflage that the ninja pilot set up.

Though you can find many Youtube videos and websites like NinjaEncyclopedia.com on how to disappear like a ninja, you will find none that teach the super-secret Ninja method of disappearing like a ninja F-35 pilot and taking the plane with you, leaving behind just enough of a false trail so as to fool search teams.

http://www.ninjaencyclopedia.com/techniques/hide.html

Posted by: Jen | Apr 9 2019 23:03 utc | 47

"Such cultural products are the next realm where China will beat the 'west' by a large margin."

I live in China and I only agree with that statement because China is good at copying what works in the west and because the west is in decline. Unlike Japan and Europe which are cultural goldmines, China is a cultural dessert: I am speaking as an average Joe observer on the street, not as someone selling investment art to the Chinese elites.

In one way they have an excuse because the cultural revolution destroyed most of China's artists, but China never did have any world standard music, never had any world standard painting, etc. Sure, the different dynasty leaders produced pottery and some 'art' but I would argue that its value is its age, not its beauty: go to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan to see the best bits that were rescued for yourselves. Go to the Yau Ma Tei theater in Hong Kong for a taste of original Chinese theater (all in Chinese) but I suggest you take ear plugs.

Let me state that I do not know much about Chinese literature although I do know that this is one of the richest areas of Chinese culture.

Hong Kong had built up a reputation for film making, Bruce Lee and the like, but that is now in decline. The only musicians you will see in China are the western backpackers busking for some cash. No original bands in bars or anywhere else - unlike Japan where music is everywhere - with the exception of western bars where there are cover bands. There are also western educated classical musicians, but classical music is not Chinese culture, it is western culture. As for drawing/painting, you will find lots of Chinese making copies of western classics, but not much in the way of original art, although as more western educated Chinese return to China this is slowly changing - for the first time ever I saw an artist with an easel at a tourist spot last week.

Of course, the Chinese government (which controls everything) has the money and appears to be willing to spend it to give themselves a cultural identity. We will see what they manage to cobble together. They will produce something as they can afford to hire the best.

There is no sophisticated religion binding together the Chinese: they do 'ancestor worship' but it is trivial and is not really 'worship' or a a religion, it involves a couple of ceremonies a year where people pay respect to dead ancestors that they knew when they were alive (grand parents etc).

Posted by: aspnaz | Apr 9 2019 23:11 utc | 48

Karlof1 @42 sez: "the rise of "identity politics" is closely related to the atomization of society"

Indeed! I would argue that "identity politics" is the very mechanism used by the elites to achieve that finer granularity of atomization beyond the nuclear family. Millions of individuals all seeking out the unique ways in which they are personally and individually victimized by their environments and the members of their own social class through microaggressions and some cultivated perception of personal slights works to maximally fragment society. What better way to achieve the ultimate division of society than to recruit you victims to concoct the rationale for their own isolation from each other?

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 9 2019 23:40 utc | 49

Well, Turkey TV shows are also not so bad.
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/MagnificentCentury
Dunno what is there but my mother was hooked in a moment, line and sinker.

What about degradation of Western world - it was outlined by one BBC operative in one lesser known novel right after WW2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

How the West can only sustain their educational-technological-civilizational level if being help on the verge oif destruciton by a peer enemy. And how it all would be reverted once the threat of military defeat be removed off the table.

1949 - 2019. In 70 years the process he described surfaced so visibly, that even Paul Craig the Captain Obvious Roberts is now writing about the seeds of it http://www.unz.com/proberts/the-growing-opposition-to-factual-knowledge/

Maybe in few years he in his analysis would reach good old Orwell's insight. But maybe not: Western civilization is in continuous regression afterall.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 9 2019 23:49 utc | 50

Within the Giroux article I linked to @42 is a reference to an article entitled "Terror's Atomization of Man" that was the second installment of a Commentary Magazine series, "The Crisis of the Individual." What follows are the editor's introductory remarks to the series, which might well be said today, 73 years later:

"The problem is stated as follows: 'In our time the individual human being has been more violently debased than in many centuries. Every aspect of the human personality—his civil rights, his individuality, his status, the dignity accorded him—all have been violated. Millions have been tortured and murdered. . . . Yet the inviolability of the individual human being has been so much a part of Western civilization that it has been taken for granted. Whatever advances we hoped for in our culture were based on this ideal....

"It is not alone that this ideal has been crushed by tyrannical rulers, but it is feared that it is dying in the hearts of men. But this would mean an ominous lowering of the level of political and moral life.

"The series seeks answers to questions such as these: “Why is this happening to us?” “Where did our Western civilization go wrong?” 'Is this merely a transition to a new society with better values?' 'Is the contemporary crisis due to technology and large-scale planning, or their present day misuse; or to a distortion of basic ideals which would require a renascence of religious belief or some other inner revaluation of values?'"

The lead article for the series also sounds quite apt for today: Reinhold Niebuhr’s article, "Can Civilization Survive Technics?" It appears all the articles in the series can be found via search, but not through the archives of Commentary. It certainly seems to dig into b's topic with intellectual rigor despite its age. Hopefully, some enlightenment can be found within the three articles I linked.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 9 2019 23:52 utc | 51

BTW, can the "relativization of objective facts" in the "post-truth" world be called Identity Politics applied to facts, not to human beings?

The all more pervasive Coincidence Theory... Observing a Kalashnikov burst "think tanks" and "experts" kind of prove - with 100% rigorous scientific accuracy - that all the bullets flew their perfectly individual trajectories with not a slightest communication and coordination between them in flight. And MSM with politicians rightfully observe that every that bullet was absolutely dumb and uneducated and only competent in making a loud sound, huffing and puffing so to say. So, there is no "larger picture" and all the bullet holes were perfectly random events. Ever.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 9 2019 23:52 utc | 52

> Ideologically, "Western Civilization" is the one laid out by Greco-Roman civilization, in the Ancient Age.

Posted by: vk | Apr 9, 2019 3:40:37 PM | 23

That is the pretense. But it is hardly true.

Greco-Roman civilization culminated in Roman Empire, AKA Byzantium.

Western Civilization - building upon francs and germanic tribes and their warchiefs-kings-emperors - was chasing down and destroying that very civilization/empire. First in western Europe, then in Britannica (England), then finally in Greece itself, overrunning and looting Constantinople, the last capital of once proud Roman Empire.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 9 2019 23:59 utc | 53

Liberal elites like "Identity politics" not because of what it highlights but because of what it erases: class.


Consequently, the politicians most hated by liberal elites are not Republicans and Tories but (the very few) politicians on the (real) Left, which is not the Liberal pseudo-left, who still speak to class: Corbyn and to a lesser extent Sanders.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 10 2019 0:00 utc | 54

> Ideologically, "Western Civilization" is the one laid out by Greco-Roman civilization, in the Ancient Age.

@vk #23

That is the pretense. The reality is different.

"Greco-Roman civilization" means, well, Roman Empire, fermented by Greek philosophers and mathematicians (back then mathematics meant just science and engineering).

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 10 2019 0:06 utc | 55

@54 Cont'd--

I tried to find the additional essays in the series but they apparently aren't available electronically, unless they're behind a paywall at Commentary. One note on the source, it's not anyway near like the magazine of today, with its ties to radical Zionism and Neoconism, the very ideological forces the series exposes and rails against. Another item of interest I discovered is the second essay at this link "Will Nuremberg Serve Justice? What are the issues of Nuremberg and how did they arise?", which is as relevant for our time as it was when published in January 1946 before the trials were completed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 10 2019 0:22 utc | 56

I feel a false flag op is near.

US is shell entity being contrlled by others.

The general public will figure it out
a little too late.

Posted by: jared | Apr 10 2019 0:24 utc | 57

Your faction is losing b.

Posted by: sentinel-H345 | Apr 9, 2019 6:56:28 PM | 49

Because they don't do their homework, and are beguiled by surface matters.

That nation has been kept back for 40 years now. They now control every single religion.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 10 2019 0:47 utc | 58

67

I agree. Shell entity.

The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. Zbig 1969

Land Grab aka Territorial Expansion and Resource Extraction runs apace. Does it matter whether ISrael is commanding the actions, or the USA, the City of London or some other entity?

The big players don't care where they reside as they endeavor to rape and pillage.

Domestically, they squeeze the commons more and more; little by little or in greater measure when they can do so.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 10 2019 0:48 utc | 59

Big fan of B's work, but this (quoted excerpt below) is just ridiculous and seems to be spoken/written by someone completely out of touch with how most American movies are made in 2019.

"I recently re-watched the record breaking Chinese series Story of Yanxi Palace (vid). It is in all aspects better than anything Hollywood produces."

For one thing, "Hollywood" is an outdated way to describe American movie production. Sure there are a few huge bloated studios whose on-the-ground execs are located in and around Hollywood, and who dedicate their budgets to re-making every superhero movie ever produced as well as attempting to put out previous foreign language "blockbusters" (such as "The Secret in Their Eyes" - highly recommended Argentinian cinema), but most American movies are now financed by loosely affiliated groups of production firms based all over the country.

In addition, I see nothing super special about the movie that B linked here. If one is going to make such a sweeping statement about the quality of such a film, and on top of that compare it to literally everything "Hollywood" - there needs to be at least some kind of qualification, not to mention quantification behind the critique/comparison.

TL/DR to B: What's the last American movie you watched and liked, and what's so great about this Chinese flick you've linked us to on YouTube?

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 0:51 utc | 60

In response to my own comment, I meant to say the following:

...as well as attempting to put out previous foreign language "blockbusters" (such as "The Secret in Their Eyes" - highly recommended Argentinian cinema) in English language versions with big, often fading, Western movie stars,...

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 0:53 utc | 61

While I'm on the topic of China, let me first say that I'm far from a Sinophobe or rah rah America super-patriot. But some of the stuff coming out of China (often enabled and profited by American companies like Google and Apple) truly scares the living bejezus out of me. This system of social credit they've developed sounds like something out of a nightmare (or "Black Mirror" episode - also highly recommended) and deserves further attention in the Western media, IMHO, lest it be unveiled on us one day when in reality we would have had plenty of time to criticize and truly ponder the implications.

China's president appointing himself ruler for life, and some of the the horrifying human rights crackdowns over the past couple of decades don't exactly endear their culture to my American heart either, rampant American hypocrisy on some related practices/policies notwithstanding.

Speaking of.....I have been waiting for your next dispatch on Venezuela now that the DC vulture class has seemingly abandoned its overt attempts at regime change and look to be employing all sorts of other sick methods of sabotage (economic, utilities, food supply chain, etc.) with the help of the Venezuelan upper middle class (which would mostly qualify as rich in the US) who have, for decades predating Chavismo policies, held controlling interests/stakes in many of these systems that are crucial for any government or soceity, "socialist" or not, to function.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 1:00 utc | 62

There is a Reuters article up that I will not link to that details a class action lawsuit brought against Boeing by shareholders. This is not to be confused with lawsuits brought on behalf of the families who lost loved ones nor the lawsuits by the Boeing pension funds that will lose with the demise of Boeing.

And the Liberace grifter is telling the EU that they have to shoulder a tariff on Airbus because Boeing is corrupt.....

When does the world grind to a halt and what does that look like?

Or as someone above commented, it is time for a Huuuuge false flag to change the focus bigly because the West is ok with not playing fair or having morals other than fealty to the God of Mammon.....and it will take breaking trust with the rest of humanity to bring it down.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 10 2019 1:01 utc | 63

39 - John, my spelling was as intended.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 10 2019 1:15 utc | 64

@William Gruff - #35

That has to be the biggest load of horsesh*t couched in comfortable terminology that I've ever encountered in comments here, and I've been following B since the Billmon days.

Identity politics is truly a scourge and excuse mechanism, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the happenings that B is discussing in this post. Not only that, but your opinion seems to be thinly veiled racism, typical of the capitalist class in the US which has for centuries now played the plebes (white, black, red, brown and yellow) against one another in order to exploit that labor and usurp/hide away the national treasure. Mainly from the perspective that poor whites, through their *slightly* elevated social status have been propagandized for a hundred years to attribute the failure of some minority groups to achieve the apparent successes and perceived generational mobility/ability to pass down accrued wealth to their imagined cries for government handouts and reparations, in lieu of "hard work" and "pulling themselves up by the bootstraps."

Too bad, because indeed incompetence is a celebrated trait in some sectors of American society - namely, the VERY RICH and VERY CONNECTED - who we all just witnessed paying hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get their incompetent kids into otherwise not all that difficult university degree programs. Then of course there's the Bush and Clinton (crime) families not to mention the absolute moron and complete fraud Donald Trump who currently occupies the White House, mainly by virtue of the failure of the previous black guy to appease the left and the former's years-long campaign to play to ignorant Americans and their false beliefs about race (the birth certificate thing and false accusations of affirmative action/bad grades). In fact, Obama was indeed a huge failure - but not because he was stupid or incompetent. It was the opposite - he failed most of us because he was smart, accomplished, well spoken and just so happened to put the interests of the UBER rich, Wall Street, and corporations - many of whom use a culture false meritocracy to promote the very same incompetence you bemoan as "identity politics" to positions of great wealth and power, not to mention worship among the petty plebes who must be constantly propagandized by the not-liberal corporate MSM to put the very rich, our betters, on a pedestal while we are conditioned to hate the "welfare queens" and beneficiaries of "affirmative action."

Nah, the idiots who designed the F-35 and every other failure of a military program are the same incompetents who crashed the world's economy in 2008 (and got very rich from it, often at taxpayer expense - gotta pay those bonuses) are the same corporations keen on gutting regulations so that they can dump arsenic into our drinking water are the same heartless politicians such as the Repubulican leadership of Michigan who allowed thousands of children (mostly black, of course) to be poisoned over the span of many years (you do know lead decreases IQ, correct?) are the same mealy mouthed 'liberal' pundits who told us to trust the technocracy and our leaders like Obama (who also let the kids in Flint, MI rot as a service to the corporate owned right), etc.

Blame identity politics for what it is - another cudgel used by the neoliberal crony capitalist banks and corporations to divide the poor and middle class along easy to spot lines while they continue to exploit and poison us. The incompetence, however, starts at the top and in the upper white crust.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 1:15 utc | 65

So, there is a propulsion to events.

History isn't exactly controlled by anyone.

Posted by: donkeytale | Apr 10 2019 1:19 utc | 66

@William Gruff - My apologies. I seem to have taken you at opposite intention there. You are indeed very correct and if there was an edit feature I would go back and make a few changes. What you describe is INDEED 'horsesh*t' but like me, you are criticizing it, not promoting it. My apologies again.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 1:19 utc | 67

Apologies for the volume of posts in the past 20 min. I hope I don't trigger some kind of filter, but I wanted to address one last thing that William Gruff said, seemingly with a straight face. I've since corrected my previous rant and apologized (though everything else I said stands), but this is ridiculous:

....but I want to assure the readers that the US military is the least incompetent sector of American society by a very large margin.

You've got to be kidding right? If there is a single example of the failure of promotion based anything BUT merit, it has to be the US military. Furthermore, other than the ranks of the uber rich and corporations, can anyone think of a more overtly "socialist" structure, according to the most negative connotations pushed by the American right, than the US military? LOL!

The US military has not won a single war against any opponent with a pulse in two of my lifetimes. The US military is responsible for some of the biggest humanitarian disasters and fraud currently known to man. The US military is the embodiment of incompetence, and most of those drawing a pension or once employed by the services, are still stuck on the government teat whether as "defense" contractors, pensioners, or working in a field that serves the military community in some way.

The US military is a massive false economy that has been foisted on the AMerican (and European) public and embedded so deeply within the fabric of our society and economy that to even slightly rescale or rethink it would mean immediate financial pain and suffering to many, many communities. That is the ONLY reason that this bastion of incompetence is maintained - in fact it is the shrine of incompetence in the society you describe where such stupidity is worshiped and promoted.

I seriously hope you were kidding about the US military.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 1:27 utc | 68

@karlof1

Thanks for the Giroux. From his lastest:

While there is no perfect fit between Trump and the fascist societies of Mussolini, Hitler, and Pinochet, “the basic tenets of extreme nationalism, racism, misogyny, and a hatred of democracy and the rule of law” are too similar to ignore…

The mix of white nationalism and expansion of policies that benefit the rich, big corporations and the financial elite are increasingly legitimated and normalised in a new political formation that I have termed neoliberal fascism…

Democratic Party policies under Clinton and Obama paved the way for Trump. Clinton signed a draconian crime bill in 1994. The bill slavishly indulged the then “national frenzy” for law and order as a form of punishment and enacted policies such as “three strikes,” “truth in sentencing,” and “mandatory minimums…

Clinton signed on to NAFTA, and deregulated the financial industry. The class and racist thread that connects these two bills is shamefully obvious…

Rather than bailing out people who suddenly found themselves in massive debt and prosecuting the financial elite who caused the economic crisis, Obama bailed out the bankers who rewarded themselves with big bonuses and even bigger profits…


https://www.tikkun.org/rethinking-the-normalization-of-fascism-in-the-post-truth-era

Posted by: Fec | Apr 10 2019 1:28 utc | 69

reply to WJ 57
"Liberal elites like "Identity politics" not because of what it highlights but because of what it erases: class.
Consequently, the politicians most hated by liberal elites are ...who still speak to class: Corbyn and to a lesser extent Sanders."
Exactly! Because if they can make class an non-issue they can obviscate the fact that they and they alone are the "ruling" class.

Posted by: frances | Apr 10 2019 1:58 utc | 70

Arioch @ 53, KC @ 70:

TV shows about scheming, conniving, manipulative, hot-babe women at each other's throats in the harems of Ottoman sultans or Manchu emperors, or any other series of despots in whatever long-ago empire, always pull in the audiences.

Here in Australia we just had a series of such women at each other's throats: it was a reality TV series called "Married at First Sight". The only difference was the women were all married off separately to different men.

US television used to produce similar shows, like "Dynasty" or "The Bold and the Beautiful".

Posted by: Jen | Apr 10 2019 2:12 utc | 71

reply to Jen | 81
"US television used to produce similar shows, like "Dynasty" or "The Bold and the Beautiful".
Used to?? You are forgetting the largest, splashiest, most implausible TV show possibly of all time; Game of Thrones. Which is an American television production, admittedly filmed all over the place.


Posted by: frances | Apr 10 2019 2:17 utc | 72

Warrick @ 7
Appropos the terrible misunderstandings between cultures that have developed under grossly different circumstances, I present this episode to explain the successful evolution of modern China.

Edgar Snow wrote the first accounts of Mao's struggle to transition a China from warlords/serfs stuck with foreign occupiers to a self-determined sovereign country. Snow's Journey To The Beginning, wherein he relates his insight of what would enable that transition in the midst of famine and helplessness.

It's about 1933 and Snow has travelled to the remote end of the railway line with Washington Wu, a government official and translator who had studied in America. They are shocked by scenes of mass death and starvation and hopelessness in northwest China. Snow recalls this dialog:
[ Wu-]-- "Terrible! Terrible!" he suddenly muttered one day when we discussed what we had seen. "I had been in America so many years I forgot about things like this. What a miserable , miserable country our China is!"
[Snow]-- I felt a bond of sympathy with Wu when I first I heard him concede some evil in China apart from the sins of the white imperialists. His facade of arrogance and false pride cracked. There was a new spirit of protest against injustice in his voice, a new sense of humility and personal responsibility.
[Wu]--"We must, we must do something to save China--quickly", he said. "But how?"
[Snow]--"There you sit with 30 centuries of experience behind you," said I. "As an American, I can trace my origins a few generations. How can I answer that question for China!"
[Wu]--"There has to be a new birth," he said thoughtfully. "It can only come out of our own body--the body of our own history."
[Snow]--Wu was silent for a long time, locked by his thoughts, as I was by mine.

Shortly after that incident, Snow learned of a "Mao Zedong" leading a small army of rebellion. This becomes Snow's Red Star Over China, in which Snow sneaks thru enemy lines to meet Mao in his Baoan cave, July 1937 .

And by the way, consider this: At the end of World War 1, the secret Peace Treaty of Versailles awarded the former German territorial colony on China's coast to Japan. Thus, protests and riots began in China to prevent such from happening. One of the student leaders was named Mao Zedong! [This related by American journalist George Seldes who knew the truth of how the "secret" terms were scooped and made public, so that the U S Senate actually refused to ratify it thanks to the representative from China who leaked it. See Seldes' Even The Gods Can't Change History.]

Posted by: Chu Teh | Apr 10 2019 2:28 utc | 73

Jen @81 - Interesting observation.

Off on a tangent, one way to look at it is from the identity angle in a modern context. Not "enough" minorities playing roles of normal people in as many movies as there should be, and when there are, they are always playing sultans, warlords, thugs or military types. I don't guess, however, that a JRR Tolkien based movie should be "required" to have a certain number of, say, black actors because it doesn't fit with the story and location as originally described.

But seriously the CIA has infiltrated Hollywood since the 50s and there has been a surprising dearth of coverage of it. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hollywood-cia-washington-dc-films-fbi-24-intervening-close-relationship-a7918191.html

The predisposition does always seem to portray Muslims as terrorists and white guys (occasionally Asian and black/Hispanic) as the good guys or, when they're bad, the exception to the rule. Of course I digress quite a bit here from your rather straightforward point.

However, there are a number of good independent American (and Aussie, Icelandic, British, Spanish, Argentinian, Swedish, Japanese, Indonesian, etc.) pictures coming out that don't fit the typical Hollywood script, for lack of a better word. If you're into "black" (not the skin color) comedy, I highly recommend "Under the Tree", an Icelandic horror/comedy/drama that came out on video recently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVqs94YBnrc

Cheers.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 2:28 utc | 74

@83 Chu Teh

Nice story, thank you.

Lately I find myself less concerned with wondering where the west will end up, and more excited with where the east is going.

Ramin Mazaheri has the 3rd part of his 8-part series on the Cultural Revolution out today at the Saker, and he asks and answers, Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

It's a good question. The answer is that after the Communist victory, socialism ruled the land, but this then became stratified and static, so that the village leaders were more focused on pleasing the governing structure than with solving the problems of the village. What was needed was to turn this upside down, and thrust power directly to the bottom, in order to create empowered villagers.

The economic force of China began with this second revolution. It was Mao and his colleagues who saw the need to make this effort and had the extraordinary will to do it.

Some snippets:

The CCP had done a lot of redistribution of wealth, but the two pillars of Marxist thought simply cannot exist independently: redistribution of wealth is nothing without a concomitant redistribution of power and control over politics/workplaces. But the CCP did not really derive their power from politics and workplaces – they derived their power from the battlefield and human hearts.

“The CCP cadres who ruled rural areas after 1949 did not derive their power from villagers. They were not elected by the villagers…. Consequently, commune and village leaders were more inclined to please their patrons than respond to villagers’ needs and aspirations.”
[..]
This failure to implement Marxism’s second pillar is truly the hardest part of socialism – anyone can write a check – and when socialism has collapsed it has been because of this failure.

Collectivization is good and more productive than capitalism, but only alongside Socialist Democracy, which did not fully exist pre-CR [Cultural Revolution]

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 10 2019 3:51 utc | 75

Zachary Smith@25

There are a lot of articles on the quantum detection system that China claims can detect any stealth plane. It does have a limited range of about 60 miles at the current time.

ALL:
The F35 debris has been located in the water but no sign of the pilot.(didn't defect to China)
https://sputniknews.com/asia/201904101073976640-japan-missing-jet-debris-reports/

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 10 2019 3:59 utc | 76

The Golden Sprocket Wrench Award goes to Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, for its F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter, a fifth-generation interceptor said to be the best in the world.

That is when it works, which isn’t often.

When Hurricane Michael swept through Florida this fall, 17 Raptors — $339 million apiece — were destroyed or badly damaged. How come the Air Force didn’t fly those F-22s out of harm’s way? Because the Raptor is a “hanger queen”— it loves the machine shop. Less than 50 percent of the F-22 fleet is functional at any given moment. The planes couldn’t fly, so they got trashed at a cost to taxpayers of around $5 billion.

Lockheed Martin also gets an Oak Leaf Cluster for its F-35 Lightning II fighter, at $1.5 trillion the most expensive weapon system in U.S. history. Some 200 F-35s aren’t considered “combat capable,” and may never be, because the Pentagon would rather buy new planes than fix the ones it has. That may cost taxpayers $40 billion.

The F-22s and F-35s also have problems with their oxygen systems, but no one can figure out why.

However, both planes did get into combat. According to Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, the F-35 achieved “tactical supremacy” over the Taliban (which doesn’t have an air force). The F-22, the most sophisticated stealth fighter in the world, took on Afghan drug dealers.

As for Lockheed Martin, the company was just awarded an extra $7 billion for F-22 “sustainment.”

https://fpif.org/are-you-serious-awards-2018/

Posted by: denk | Apr 10 2019 4:01 utc | 77

Frances @ 82:

Ah, I don't watch "Game of Thrones" - those kinds of mediaeval fantasy shows don't appeal to me.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 10 2019 4:22 utc | 78

Posted by: Jen | Apr 10 2019 4:32 utc | 79

KC @ 84:

Tried to post something to you @ 88 but the comment was lost.

I saw the Conversation / Independent article that you linked to had been written by Matthew Alford. He wrote a book about the Hollywood / Pentagon connection "Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy" which is available on Amazon.

Maria Pia Mascaro made a documentary "Hollywood and the Pentagon: A Dangerous Liaison"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r20a7nHpnY

I must add though that it is not only Hollywood that makes propaganda films on a large scale. The British film industry, often in collaboration with Hollywood or in joint ventures with various other US film companies, makes a lot of propaganda films. You can smell them from a million miles away: they usually have a historical setting (the 1930s and 1940s are popular) and the same actors who appear on TV shows like "Downton Abbey", or the sort of actors you can imagine appearing on such shows, are in them.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 10 2019 4:43 utc | 80

Studying political science in the nineties I was struck by the awe in which the cooperative decision making process (US-model on which the EU was created) were held. I saw it as institutionalised corruption - inevitably leading to ever increasing levels of wasteful investments and stagnation. Thus I have always voted against EU-legislation i Denmark whenever I had the chance (The Maastricht treaty, the Edinburg Agreement, The EURO).

Seeing how the F-35 (A first-strike offensive weapon that have zero utility for the defence of Danish territory) are going to become the sole air-plane of the Danish Air-force - I feel 100 % vindicated.

Posted by: Bjorn Holmgaard | Apr 10 2019 5:32 utc | 81

It is as if the media is creating a two headed hydra using propaganda and an illusion of "facts". The two headed hydra political order reinforces the feeling but they are only paid operatives. Actors to ugly to make it in Hollywood. Comfortable in their grifter mentality as it suits their success in life.

Mix in some history of past wrongs and aggression of minorities, a tiny class who knows how to manipulate the system and you get some strong flavors of the toxic soup we live in.

Many are "educated" in their beliefs. The Ivy league type institutions have taken on the role of a church state institution. Their endowments exceed religions of old. They crank out adherents to their religion of modern statecraft, economics, business, and war.

People are walking wounded from a war aimed at their minds. There is a collective insanity taking hold. Among those doing well their is a strong desire of escapism into entertainment.

Most are happily miserable in their role of left or right adherent. Being not an apologist for either side leaves one out in the cold. Unable to bring voice or power into the system.

I visited my local legislators office decades ago to talk to an old friend who was his top aid. He was one of the very few (I think the only actually) moderates in the state. He told me how that sort of view was dying as one could get nothing done and one was regularly shot up by both sides.

It has become much worse since that day years many years ago and the collective insanity is our punishment for being conformists. Maybe we will get lucky and these cell phones we carry around will sterilize us in mass. A peaceful and painless end of the destroyers of the Earth.


Posted by: dltravers | Apr 10 2019 5:32 utc | 82

@Jen #90 (and whoever the idiot was that claimed the US military/defense dept. is the most legitimate organization in this BS societal rot) - you may remember the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from Portugal in 2007. Google "McCann disappearance and Oakley International" - you'll see what the types of people who make their name in DC from "defense" connections - real or imagined, it doesn't matter in that environment - do in order to sell themselves as competent professionals.

The US government, the US military, the US "Defense" establishment are all incompetent frauds, propped up by fleecing the taxpayer in a manner never before seen other than in the former Soviet Union and in modern China.

This is truly a nation of "official" frauds. And until people start talking about it as such, we're going to go nowhere toward change.

Posted by: KC | Apr 10 2019 6:24 utc | 83

The West's embrace of Faux Democracy has two destructive fatal flaws.
The first is the ubiquitous and irrational addiction to secrecy, especially unexplained/ unjustified secrecy imposed for secret reasons - usually related to Fake War, Looming War or Possible War. This type of horseshit should be illegal and the perps and advocates of it should be removed from office and, if necessary, Society.

The second is the embrace and implementation of government policies which justify extra-judicial killing - the 007 Syndrome. This could be stamped out relatively quickly by extra-judicially killing its advocates. It could be called the Poetic Justice principle, or the Be Careful What You Wish For principle.

In a true Democracy The Will of a majority of The People would be enshrined in the Constitution as the irrevocable court of last resort.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 10 2019 6:34 utc | 84

Bart Hansen @74: So may I take it that you were going for the pun, then? Okay. (I'm not sure Erskine is that much more worthy a target than Alan, but the wordplay is more straightforward.)

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Apr 10 2019 6:46 utc | 85

The Demise Of The 'Western' System
----------------

It's true. It is enough to look who takes the first places on the last school and student Olympiads.

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 10 2019 7:41 utc | 86

The last best things I bought made in America were a couple Fender guitars, yes, rosewood and maplewood, ya come to think about it the USA makes shit.

With the last 5 tests with Polaris nuclear missiles, 70% of them failed, I would not be surprised if the missiles got a 'thought' and decided to change course and destory the launcher.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 10 2019 8:13 utc | 87

The Demise Of The 'Western' System
--------------------

ReMix:

Juncker almost set delegation on fire in Rwanda

The President of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker almost set fire to the participants of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Polish internauts were quick to respond with witty memes and jokes.

Sunday saw the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, which led to the death of 800,000 people. Participants included: the leaders of Chad, Congo, Brazzaville, Djibouti, Niger, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, the African Union and the European Union.

The EU was represented by Jean-Claude Juncker, who as always seemed indisposed and nearly set fire to another participant.

“During the commemoration in Rwanda, Jean-Claude Juncker drew attention to himself once again, the President of the European Commission. He almost set fire to another member of the delegation!” wrote Mateusz Magdziarz on Twitter.

Other Polish internauts were quick to supply memes reflecting on Juncker’s gaffe. One of them included a photoshopped picture from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

“Drunk, you can drive a: tractor, b: car, c: bus, d: European Union”
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D3ph4XOXsAAFBN8.jpg

video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OAAhm3_WX8

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 10 2019 8:15 utc | 88

The reason why the F-35 is such a dog is a simple case of incompetence: the damn thing doesn't follow the Area Rule.

It can't because the common baseline airframe has to be barrel-chested in order to accommodate the lift fan of the VTOL version. All of 'em: F-35A, F-35B and F-35-bloody-C.

As a result the F-35 is responsive at the slow end of the performance envelope, but gets progressively more sluggish as it passes through the transonic range, and is little more than a brick-with-an-engine at supersonic speeds.

The drag grows dramatically as the speed goes up, which is exactly what the Area Rule seeks to minimize. It makes the plane slow, with appalling acceleration and an abysmal rate of climb.

So an F-35 is a wonder-machine if it isn't spotted. But if it is detected then it'll be dead-meat against even a previous-generation jet fighter. An SU-35 will have no difficulty besting the F-35 in a knife-fight, and the only hope the F-35 has is if it can fight outside the range of the enemy's radar.

And against Russia or China (the "near peers" as the Pentagon so arrogantly puts it) the F-35 simply isn't going to stay hidden. The F-35 is designed to intrude *into* their airspace, and that's a situation where Andrei Martyanov has it exactly right: those "near peers" will be pointing everything they have - ground based, airborne, heck, maybe even space-based - in every direction.

They *will* see the F-35, and that will enable them to vector their fighters towards that intruder. At which point it'll be All Over Red Rover.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 10 2019 8:41 utc | 89

the rot starts with political party politics and the requirement that party representatives present a united front.

That requirement causes the best and brightest people to stay out of party politics and hence out of government, and with every rinse and repeat the problem gets worse until you get to the current point in the cycle where the people are willing to accept any leadership that looks halfway competent regardless of the nasty ideological baggage in the back seat.

All problems are leadership problems and when leadership is sourced from a group who do not understand conflicted interests those being led are up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe in a hurricane. Best the Yanks keep their mouths closed.

Posted by: eagle eye | Apr 10 2019 8:56 utc | 90

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine praised the agency's 2020 budget proposal from the Trump administration today (March 11), describing how the budget will help the agency reach the moon, and then continue on to Mars.

This path is a common refrain for Bridenstine, who as NASA administrator is tasked with executing the president's Space Policy Directive 1, which called for a renewed focus on human exploration, including a journey to the moon and eventually Mars.

"For the first time in over 10 years, we have money in this budget for a return to the moon with humans," Bridenstine said in a presentation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "I'm talking human-rated landers, compatible with Gateway, that can go back and forth to the surface of the moon."
------------------

NASA's $17-billion moon rocket may be doomed before it ever gets to the launch pad

Some stakeholders are asking if there are better alternatives to the Space Launch System, whose construction is behind schedule and billions over budget.

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 10 2019 9:00 utc | 91

I tend to be cautious about the dominant narrative of the military drowning in expensive ineffective bloatware. Not because it is wrong but because it gives us a satisfactory explanation and thus blinds us to other facets. I just read an article at https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2019/04/02/at-its-70th-birthday-nato-is-militarily-americas-fifth-wheel/ and I take from that another aspect, that of an Apple-like interoperability strategy (see Multifunctional Advanced Data Link (MADL)). There the concept is that either you pay through the nose to get the compatible material and you're in, or you buy other stuff which is cheaper but then you're on the outside.
It's easy to say that the F35 offers little value, and the stealth features are weak, but stealth is not a primary feature for planes. It's a nice to have. And eventually the F35 and its evolutions will be workable. they don't have to be the best.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 10 2019 9:42 utc | 92

Problem with the US is corruption. From that all productions what so ever are mediocre.

Posted by: fayez chergui | Apr 10 2019 10:34 utc | 93

@KC comment 70.
r/e "In addition, I see nothing super special about the movie that B linked here."

Actually The Story of Yanxi Palace is not a movie, it's a 70 Episode long tv drama, and not a movie.

The Story of Yanxi Palace cost an estimated $48 Million USD to produce.
It had 5.8 BILLION views as of July 2018.
It was the most Google searched television Show in 2018.

For people new to Chinese tv or movies who also enjoy geopolitics (that's why we're here at B's right?)
you may like the movie "Red Cliff" a John Wu production. Rival states join against empire.

Posted by: L Roslin | Apr 10 2019 11:21 utc | 94

@103 "And eventually the F35 and its evolutions will be workable. they don't have to be the best."

The basic design of the F-35 is compromised.

You only need to look at the pig of a thing to know that this is true.

I mean, look at the damn thing. It looks for all the world like a flying walrus.

When you look at the VTOL version it looks like a pregnant flying walrus.

The. Damn. Thing. Can. Not. Be. Made. To. Work.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 10 2019 11:24 utc | 95

"[F-35] finally evades radar"

I believe that DSP engineering can defeat F35 stealth but it is possible that disappearing from radar means that it lost contact with its transponder signal. After all this is a story linke from Japan translated into English.

I have nothing but contempt for our military industrial complex, defenseone.com publishes regular apologetics for the F35 from 'pilots who have flown it' that sound like a brochure (I'LL BUY TWO!). It smells fishy.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Apr 10 2019 11:57 utc | 96

I don't think it is a matter of "choose your culture" as many commenters here are stating. It's not like the theoretical "western culture" will disappear and we will have to choose the "eastern culture" (that's the Clash of Civilizations doctrine, by the way).

Culture is a concept of the late 19th Century, an abstraction some social scientists (and pseudo-scientists) created in order to do some studies. Even in its most simple definition -- a collection of morals and habits by a closed society -- then we have that it is the rule, not the exception, for "cultures" to change and be extinct.

--//--

We also shouldn't try to moralize decline. I don't think the West is declining because of some kind of bad generation of politicians, but simply because capitalism is in a declining phase. Every system dies of "old age": even when it is successful, it is nearer to its death, that's simply how the world works.

Posted by: vk | Apr 10 2019 12:02 utc | 97

@107 CJC The apologia that most annoys me is the constant refrain that it doesn't matter if the F-35 performance is utter shite because it doesn't need to dogfight: it'll just stand off at a distance and shoot at targets that won't even know it is there.

Hellooooooo.

A moment's thought will make clear that this theory works fine if the F-35 is up against opponents that don't have stealthy aircraft. In that scenario the F-35 will indeed be able to stand off and launch missiles against the enemy.

But when BOTH sides have stealth then stay-at-a-distance is not an option.

Sure, the F-35 can't be seen, but the F-35 also can't see anything to shoot at, which makes this an exercise in pointlessness.

So both sides will need to close the distance, and that is exactly the point at which it becomes a knife-fight. And that's a scenario where the F-35 can't hope to win.

Stealth for one side means long-distance turkey-shoots, in the USAF's favour.
Stealth for both sides means a close-quarter dogfight, and the USAF gets decimated.

Once the window of opportunity for the USAF closes then the Americans will be left with a pig of a plane, up against stealthy and agile opponents that can fly rings around it. And it will be the very same pig of a plane that the USAF will be laden with for the next 20-30 years.

It is beyond incompetent. It is Boeing 737Max criminal.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 10 2019 12:23 utc | 98

vk @108 said: 'Every system dies of "old age".'

True, and it isn't unexpected that an entity descend into delusion, denial, and dementia as the end nears. While this could be due to physical failures of the facilities used to maintain reasoned thought, it is also brought on by an attempt to escape the inevitable by flight into fantasy.

The United States is exhibiting all of this, as we have seen with prior big empires.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 10 2019 12:30 utc | 99

I don't know.

The west is in much better shape when it is loosely confederated and decentralizes, as opposed to orientalism in the east.

Elaine Pagels laid it out succinctly in her famous book, 'The Greek Way,' when delineating the difference btw the two through history. It is a must read.

All attempts at hypercentralization in the west begins with short-term benefits, i.e. the EU or Patriot Act but zaps the spirit of the individual in the long run. Yes, there will be a reckoning for the elites in the west. That it will ruin us is overblown IMO. The resource wealth is too great here to squander it ad infinitum.

The Chinese-lovers in here, while I sympathize with their view and applaud China and Russia as the antithesis of western hegemony in overreach mode, need to check themselves. You are fundamentally of not the same spirit as these other people. Your values are incompatible. And you resemble Pausianas, the Spartan General who defected to the Persians after Platea after commenting: "Why would the Perians come attack us Greeks? What with their wonderful food and our cuisine which is lacking in comparison."

Just my two cents.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Apr 10 2019 12:55 utc | 100

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