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PostPacifism Has Never Worked; Xi's Visit to San Francisco (Istvan Simon, USA, 11/18/23 2:02 pm)
Cameron Sawyer (November 17th) wrote some interesting points about the Russia-Ukraine war. It is obvious from our exchanges in WAIS that Cameron and I do not agree on who is winning and losing this war.
Looking at it from a narrow point of view, both Russia and Ukraine are losing: people are dying on both sides. Yes, it is true, war is always terrible. Cameron is right that we should learn to live in peace with each other.
On the other hand, what to do when Russia invades Ukraine or Hamas murders 1400 Israelis? It seems unlikely that preaching about peace would ever stop such blatant aggressions. History is full of examples when pacifists caused wars rather than helped avoid them. I have written here that no sane person can be for war, and I consider myself sane. I am a man of peace.
I have never fired a weapon in my life, in anger or otherwise. I hate killing, I am against hunting, and consider the killing of animals, even for food, a grave moral sin. I hate violence in society in general, or between nations. Yet, I am not a pacifist. All of us singing Kumbaya will not bring peace to the world.
I am not a pacifist not because of any philosophical principles, but out of practical realism. I recognize that war cannot always be avoided. Pacifism never worked, and it seems to me that there is no good reason to believe that it will ever be different in the future, that humanity suddenly would learn how to live in complete harmony and peace.
Once a war is started, there are only one of two ways it can end: one side wins and the other loses, or else both sides reach a stalemate. Cameron apparently believes that chances are that the result will be Russia wins and Ukraine loses. Frankly, I think he has no rational basis to believe this. His belief in a Russian military victory in Ukraine is an impossible pipe dream, or nightmare, depending on one's point of view. I have given detailed analyses in previous posts, supported by both compelling evidence and numerous military experts who contradict Cameron.
Cameron then reviews Russia's war economy, military production, and budget. I suggest he double-check his facts with the Russian economist that hosts Inside Russia on YouTube. He will find that he contradicts every one of his assertions. Once again, it seems clear to me that Constantin of Inside Russia is right, and Cameron wrong.
I will just cite one further fact which implies all by itself that Russia has no chance of winning the war: Cameron says Putin's military budget tripled to $100 billion. Well, the USA yearly expenditure on our military was $1.52 trillion. See quote below:
"In FY 2023, the Department of Defense (DOD) had $1.52 trillion distributed among its 6 sub-components. Agencies spend available budgetary resources by making financial promises called obligations."
It is irrational to believe that we will run out of weapons or ammunition or intelligence to supply Ukraine. We will not. It is Russia that will run out of armaments, ammunition, manpower, everything.
Cameron Sawyer's forecast of the outcome of the Ukraine war has zero probability of ever happening.
On another front, Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco shows that China itself recognizes explicitly what I have been saying about Chinese-American relations versus Chinese-Russian relations. Xi's speech was most conciliatory, trying apparently to convince the business community of Silicon Valley to stop the outflow of capital from China, and reinvigorate Western investments. How successful he has been in selling this to Bay Area businessmen is not clear at this point, but I believe that there are good reasons for the outflow of capital that has been happening, and so I think that at best he will be only mildly successful.
Note, however, that Xi Jinping's visit reinforces what I have been saying in WAIS on the Chinese way of thinking. Money is always on top, not geopolitics. If it were otherwise, we could have expected Xi to be less conciliatory, especially after his "marriage" to Russia. But just as I predicted, the marriage turned out to be fake.
My prediction was not based on immediate events, e.g. the Russian-Ukraine war. No, China and Russia have historical disputes that go back further than 75 years. Mao Zedong was suspicious of the Soviet Union, even though the two were Communist countries.
In July, Henry Kissinger met Xi Jinping in Beijing. Xi praised Kissinger, and celebrated his 100th birthday which occurred on May 27, 2023. The meeting itself was a message to the US, reminding everyone of Kissinger's role in making possible Nixon's historic visit to China. The Chinese are fond of such symbolic messages.
JE comments: WAIS did note Kissinger's centennial, although belatedly. His major achievement was the normalization of relations with Beijing. One could argue that this move set in motion China's phenomenal rise to the world's #2 economy. Might it be time to ask a hard, Cold-Warrior question: was this a good thing?
Kissinger, Nixon and China
(Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA
11/19/23 7:42 AM)
Just a quick response to John E's comment on Kissinger and China:
Kissinger and Nixon opened up the global economy to China, thereby making it the world's largest economy and our most dangerous enemy ever.
Their second most influential move was to get Russia (USSR) out of the Middle East.
JE comments: Yesterday I dared to raise the question of whether opening up to Beijing was a good thing. Inevitably it would have happened by now, Kissinger or no Kissinger. But suppose, for the sake of argument, it had not? Is a fully integrated and prosperous China more (or less) of a danger to the West? I have no idea, but one good insurance policy is owing the Chinese a lot of money.