Author Topic: Grand Strategy for a Divided America  (Read 274216 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #675 on: June 09, 2019, 23:05:02 »
The end was when the Berlin Wall came down and one by one the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #676 on: June 17, 2019, 10:30:55 »
Interesting ... in my mind it was President Harry S Truman, acting on George Kennan's "long telegram" who put the Soviet Union on the path to failure. He saw, quite clearly, that the US-led West would "win" by not fighting but, rather, by containing the USSR. The resulting Cold War was long but, again in my idiosyncratic opinion, it was "won" in 1959 ... at a trade fair in Moscow when then Vice-President Nixon confronted Nikita Kruschov at a display featuring a fairly typical middle-class US kitchen ... thousands of Russians saw that and they told millions that Eisenhower's adaptation of the Truman doctrine which said butter, not guns, was working for the American working class. The rest was just ~ in my opinion ~ the icing on the cake.
I've been mulling this over.  Where the Soviet Union was brought down through externally imposed containment, it appears increasingly that the US is self-containing... possibly with similar results.

The equivalent of the 'US kitchen' as a desirable role model is the world now looking at current US behaviour and turning away -- there are a growing number of trade and security arrangements being developed that actively exclude the US.  While the American economy remains sufficiently strong that they can't be simply ignored, fewer people want to have to deal with the current administration;  the cover story of The Economist  (June 8-14) is "Weapons of Mass Disruption: tariffs, tech blacklists, financial isolation, sanctions,"  with a picture of Trump as a bomb.  Unfortunately, the country is now so divided that the polarization and mindless finger-pointing (by both extremes) is unlikely to be fixable in the near to intermediate term.


An excerpt from Fareed Zakaria, "The Self-Destruction of American Power:  Washington Squandered the Unipolar Moment,"
Foreign Affairs ,  July/August 2019.
Quote
The Trump administration has hollowed out U.S. foreign policy even further.  Trump’s instincts are Jacksonian, in that he is largely uninterested in the world except insofar as he believes that most countries are screwing the United States.  He is a nationalist, a protectionist, and a populist, determined to put “America first.”  But truthfully, more than anything else, he has abandoned the field.  Under Trump, the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and from engaging with Asia more generally.  It is uncoupling itself from its 70-year partnership with Europe.  It has dealt with Latin America through the prism of either keeping immigrants out or winning votes in Florida.  It has even managed to alienate Canadians (no mean feat).  And it has subcontracted Middle East policy to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  With a few impulsive exceptions—such as the narcissistic desire to win a Nobel Prize by trying to make peace with North Korea—what is most notable about Trump’s foreign policy is its absence.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #677 on: June 17, 2019, 12:20:31 »
In the free market of foreign relationships, the US was a good deal - relatively open and wealthy markets others could readily access; relatively little reaction to protectionist policies running back the other way; willingness to bear a substantial chunk of the cost of various mutual and other defence arrangements.  The Trump administration has increased the prices, which effectively makes other nations more competitive.

For those who believe increasing trade entanglements and increasing regional foreign affairs arrangements tend to decrease the likelihood of wars breaking out, this should be a huge net positive.

For Latin America, the US is a safety valve as long as talk of border enforcement remains only talk; the Democrats and associated activists have successfully out-manoeuvred the administration.  The status quo is a huge contribution to political stabilization and peace, and US taxpayers are the ones paying for it, not Europeans or Asians or South Americans.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #678 on: June 17, 2019, 19:19:26 »
Yet the economy is the best in many years with full employment. Historically people vote their pocketbook. If the economy remains strong into 2020 Trump should be re-elected.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #679 on: June 17, 2019, 20:51:27 »
Yet the economy is the best in many years with full employment. Historically people vote their pocketbook. If the economy remains strong into 2020 Trump should be re-elected.

Is the economy strong?  Growth has basically plateaued since the beginning of 2018.  The market has hit three successive walls that it has been unable to break through.

I would say if trade wars and tariffs continue to be in play, the US economy will be in a recession within a year or two.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #680 on: October 05, 2020, 23:16:24 »
Potential bad news for the US, and thus by extention the global economy. Essentially, the banking industry learned nothing from the 2008 market meltdown, and are now investing heavily in similar investment vehicles backed by low rated corporate debt instead of mortgages. What could possibly go wrong?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/coronavirus-banks-collapse/612247/

The Looming Bank Collapse
The U.S. financial system could be on the cusp of calamity. This time, we might not be able to save it.
Story by Frank Partnoy

Quote
After months of living with the coronavirus pandemic, American citizens are well aware of the toll it has taken on the economy: broken supply chains, record unemployment, failing small businesses. All of these factors are serious and could mire the United States in a deep, prolonged recession. But there’s another threat to the economy, too. It lurks on the balance sheets of the big banks, and it could be cataclysmic. Imagine if, in addition to all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, you woke up one morning to find that the financial sector had collapsed.

You may think that such a crisis is unlikely, with memories of the 2008 crash still so fresh. But banks learned few lessons from that calamity, and new laws intended to keep them from taking on too much risk have failed to do so. As a result, we could be on the precipice of another crash, one different from 2008 less in kind than in degree. This one could be worse.

The financial crisis of 2008 was about home mortgages. Hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to home buyers were repackaged into securities called collateralized debt obligations, known as CDOs. In theory, CDOs were intended to shift risk away from banks, which lend money to home buyers. In practice, the same banks that issued home loans also bet heavily on CDOs, often using complex techniques hidden from investors and regulators. When the housing market took a hit, these banks were doubly affected. In late 2007, banks began disclosing tens of billions of dollars of subprime-CDO losses. The next year, Lehman Brothers went under, taking the economy with it.

The federal government stepped in to rescue the other big banks and forestall a panic. The intervention worked—though its success did not seem assured at the time—and the system righted itself. Of course, many Americans suffered as a result of the crash, losing homes, jobs, and wealth. An already troubling gap between America’s haves and have-nots grew wider still. Yet by March 2009, the economy was on the upswing, and the longest bull market in history had begun.

To prevent the next crisis, Congress in 2010 passed the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the new rules, banks were supposed to borrow less, make fewer long-shot bets, and be more transparent about their holdings. The Federal Reserve began conducting “stress tests” to keep the banks in line. Congress also tried to reform the credit-rating agencies, which were widely blamed for enabling the meltdown by giving high marks to dubious CDOs, many of which were larded with subprime loans given to unqualified borrowers. Over the course of the crisis, more than 13,000 CDO investments that were rated AAA—the highest possible rating—defaulted.

The reforms were well intentioned, but, as we’ll see, they haven’t kept the banks from falling back into old, bad habits. After the housing crisis, subprime CDOs naturally fell out of favor. Demand shifted to a similar—and similarly risky—instrument, one that even has a similar name: the CLO, or collateralized loan obligation. A CLO walks and talks like a CDO, but in place of loans made to home buyers are loans made to businesses—specifically, troubled businesses. CLOs bundle together so-called leveraged loans, the subprime mortgages of the corporate world. These are loans made to companies that have maxed out their borrowing and can no longer sell bonds directly to investors or qualify for a traditional bank loan. There are more than $1 trillion worth of leveraged loans currently outstanding. The majority are held in CLOs.

The rest of the article goes into more depth about what these are, how they work and how banks and financial institutions are resorting to many fo the same accounting tricks to put these assets "off the books" (although this didn't help anyone the last time).

So among the multiplicity of challenges that the United States will have to face in the coming decades, another banking implosion, or finding a way to unwind this potential threat and deter banks from going down this route again is going to be a high priority.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline CBH99

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #681 on: October 06, 2020, 01:41:01 »
Scary stuff.


Maybe I'm just being a conspiracy theorist, but I have a 'hunch' that national debt isn't something most countries are worried about paying back.

We often hear arguments - extremely valid ones - about the national debt, whether it is us or other countries.  We spend more than we take in, we borrow more than we can safely finance, and future generations won't benefit from government help the way we do, because the government simply won't have any money.

And all of this may very well be true.  Indeed, the math and simple logic would support this...and there's a very good chance this is how it may pan out.



The conspiracy theorist in me, for some reason, has the hunch that all this national debt won't mean anything in another generation or two.  No country on earth can afford to pay back what it owes - China, the US, Canada, etc etc - none of us can afford to pay back what we owe, and ever have a true surplus of 'our own money'.  Heck, the US alone now has a deficit of almost a Trillion dollars a year.

I imagine some catastrophic event will happen - whether it is financial, military, global change (devastating meteor, global plague/pandemic, war, alien contact, etc etc) - that will cause the entire world to rethink the way the global economy works. 

After all, money is a man-made creation, as is the concept of currency.  Borrowing from the World Bank, countries lending each other money, etc etc - all of this is 'human created' stuff, and thus, may be drastically modified in the future to accommodate an entire globe that can't afford to pay each other back. 


 :2c: :dunno:
Fortune Favours the Bold...and the Smart.

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #682 on: October 06, 2020, 07:12:55 »
Americans Increasingly Believe Violence is Justified if the Other Side Wins

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/10/01/political-violence-424157?fbclid=IwAR3bGWGi9Ag9PGRk1wquOhAwiI6IF3vDvhS4ibyNe7C-uuP8YGWdihPjVog

At the presidential debate this week, the Republican candidate voiced his concern about political violence—left-wing political violence. And the Democratic candidate likewise voiced concern about political violence—right-wing political violence.

They were both right.

________________________

That article is terrifying.
Lead me, follow me or get the hell out of my way

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #683 on: October 06, 2020, 09:14:06 »
Americans Increasingly Believe Violence is Justified if the Other Side Wins

That article is terrifying.

Yep, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (amongst several interested observers) strongly concurs.  Their just-published "2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment" is available at LINK

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #684 on: October 06, 2020, 09:40:47 »
Yep, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (amongst several interested observers) strongly concurs.  Their just-published "2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment" is available at LINK

Balkan North American powder keg ?
Lead me, follow me or get the hell out of my way

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #685 on: October 06, 2020, 12:13:24 »
Is this the same state like New York that put covid patients in nursing homes ? Pot calling the kettle black.  8)

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #686 on: October 06, 2020, 12:30:14 »
Is this the same state like New York that put covid patients in nursing homes ? Pot calling the kettle black.  8)
Did you actually read the report?   Don't worry, it's a rhetorical question.
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Offline CloudCover

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #687 on: October 06, 2020, 12:42:39 »
Yep, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (amongst several interested observers) strongly concurs.  Their just-published "2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment" is available at LINK

Notable slide at page 11, US Presidential Election-  Wildcard Variables.

Arguably 2 and possibly 3 of the 4 wildcards have occurred:
Supreme Court Justice dies
Deep Fake (underway)
COVID disruption (President infected)

The US is experiencing record firearms sales, ammunition being purchased far out of proportion, firearms appearing and being used at civil unrest events.  In scenarios 2 and 3 there is indeed a Powder Keg of epic proportions. 

... Move!! ...

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #688 on: October 06, 2020, 13:42:46 »
The underlying problem might just be that people who are politically engaged are too deeply engaged, coupled with the proposition that the unhappiness gap from losing is greater than the happiness gap from winning.

Political Ignorance Is Bliss, at reason.com.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.