Obama’s Speech II

I already mentioned that Barack Obama’s acceptance speech was rhetorically brilliant but deeply dishonest.  One example of this dishonesty: Obama’s view on the ‘critical’ Afghan War.

A minor point, there – victory. It’s not a word that resonates with Democrats except at the ballot box.

Obama pledged to “finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban,” forgetting it was President Bush who took the fight to the enemy with Obama in opposition. The fight in Afghanistan isn’t over. But Obama failed to explain why, as chairman of a subcommittee having jurisdiction, he held not a single hearing on a theater of operations he now deems critical.

Someone else will have to take the risks for him, he’s got an election to win.

What the Heck Was I Thinking!?: Investor’s Business Daily Fisks Obama’s Speech.

Don’t worry if you’re confused — liberals will soon oppose the Afghan War anyway.

Another example of the dishonesty were Obama’s weird comments about being his brother’s keeper, when Barack’s brother lives in a hut.  I understand why Obama might cut his extended family off.  That’s part of the American experiecen even: breaking free of clan, abandoning traditions, and embracing freedom.

But for Obama to support big government policies by emphasizing the need for that sort of old-world community, only to ignore it (with very concrete negative effects for one’s own brother!): that’s deception.

Russia, spurned by China, lashes out at Europe

In the wake of the SCO’s (China’s regional club’s) humiliating refusal to back Russia (hat-tip to Dan Nexon), Russia responded to its growing international isolation by reducing the flow of energy to Europe.

Russia’s government may prompt at least one oil company to cut supplies of crude oil to Europe in response to the threats to impose sanctions in the wake of the conflict with Georgia.

It is rumored that supplies via Druzhba pipeline that meets oil requirements of Poland and Germany will be probably reduced and that the LUKOIL leadership has been given the notice.

The reduction might happen already starting from September 1, the sources speculate. People in LUKOIL, however, say they know nothing about the plans to cut down supplies, and people in the Kremlin declined to comment.

Russia to Cut Oil Supplies to Europe In Response to Sanctions – Kommersant Moscow.

Two other news pieces for context: China has a new oil deal with Iraq, and even Sudan has refused to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The simplistic analysis is that Putin’s bumbling is just continuing, with his historical uniting of Serbia and Kosovo in condemnation of Russian attempt to redraw borders now leading to the genocidiers of Sudan in taking an anti-Russian line!

A better analysis goes back to the Core/Gap divide: Russia, like Sudan but unlike China, is a gap state.  It creates no wealth, but provides energy that makes it easier for productive countries to generate wealth.  Core energy-consumers, such as China, help develop the Gap and work towards peace in order to do business.  Gap energy-providers, such as Russia, create chaos and extort wealth from the Core in order to pay for their eratic behavior.

Related: Europe looks like it will respond in a reasonable way. So good news for the Southern Energy Corridor, but news for Russia’s South Stream.

What Palin says about McCain

Nykrindc’s summary of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is very in-depth, and highly recommended. Perhaps the most efficient comparison, however, is Tom’s, who contrasts McCain’s pick of Palin with Obama’s choice of Biden

Interesting difference in Veep choices (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
Again, a pretty bold call given the circumstances, suggesting a difference in leadership style: Obama will be more careful and McCain more bold.. So the flip-flop of party identities remains in tact: Clinton was more conservative (despite all the talk) and Bush was more radical (despite all the talk). I think Obama would end up being surprisingly conservative in leadership style (despite all the hype) and McCain more the radical (despite all the imagery). Social issues aside (the great mania of the Boomer generation), the politics remains upside-down compared to the GOP and Dem parties I grew up knowing.

This echoes something I said a while ago: John McCain is smart enough that he can make potentially dangerous decisions. For instance, what if this story is true?

Obama is not that smart (he appears to be on the same level as Sarah Palin but, as he’s much more arrogant, Obama will act as if he’s much dumber), and so was forced to rely on the establishment to choose his mate. He thus chose Mr. Establishment, Joe Biden. McCain is smart enough to make risky decisions.

Hillary Clinton Proud of Palin

Obama has a habit of holding grudges against those who do not support him.  It’s one of his “Bush III” qualities which raise red-flags about his ability to lead the country.  Hillary Clinton is one of the victims of Obama’s vindictiveness, so it’s not surprising that she’s not simply parroting his party line on Sarah Palin, McCain’s pick for Vice President:

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton praised the historic nature of John McCain’s vice presidential selection in a brief statement released Friday that was eagerly anticipated by both presidential campaigns.

“We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain,” Clinton, the first woman to win a presidential primary, said in the statement. “While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

Palin directly mentioned Clinton by name in her acceptance speech earlier Friday, saying, “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

Clinton’s statement reacting to Palin is markedly different than the Obama campaign’s initial reaction which made no mention of the historic nature of the Alaska Republican’s VP candidacy — instead painting her as woefully inexperienced to be commander-in-chief. The Obama campaign later released a joint statement from both the Illinois senator and his running mate, Joe Biden, praising Palin for making history.

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – Clinton congratulates Palin « – Blogs from CNN.com.

Finally, an attractive Vice Presidential candidate!

Online Dating

I like to help out fellow bloggers.  Many times this involve linking to new blogs, discussing the podcasts they produce, etc.  Half Sigma’s approach — opening an online dating review site — is…  unique. Still, HalfSigma’s website “eDateReview” is an online dating review site of personals / singles / match-making pages.

Many other bloggers beg for money. For example, Steve Sailer has a permanent panhandling drive posted on the upper right of his blog. (I just noticed that Steve lives in Washington, CT. That’s a very expensive part of Connecticut; a place where rich people have country homes. [UPDATE: That’s not Steve Sailer’s address, but the address of the very successful Peter Brimelow who can afford to live there. Steve Sailer lives in the Los Angeles area. This all makes a lot more sense now.])

I’m not asking for anything as crass as money. I’m asking that you place a link on your website or blog to eDateReview.com, my website of online dating reviews.

Half Sigma: Half Sigma needs YOUR help.

Half Sigma’s business, eDateReview, has been mentioned by Reuters, CBS  MarketWatch, and Knight Ridder, among others.  It’s certainly an ambitious project.

Best of luck!

The SCO and Russia

I noted last week that Russia’s invasion of Georgia was partially aimed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (the security alliance including China and China’s energy providers — the former soviet states of central Asia including Russia, Kazakhstan, and so on):

Russia’s actions hurt the things that would have supported Russia as a new core state. By violently attacking neighbors, Moscow is violently asserting hegemony in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is properly a way of China to organize her resource suppliers (including Russia). By attacking a reforming neighbor, Russia is helping to make her own government more obscure. By attacking sources of investment, Russia is helping to disconnect her own economy from the world.

Those who never read this blog may not have caught the Russia-SCO subtext. AFP clearly is in the list, as their particularly ignorance piece demonstrates.

Better analysis is available from Chirol and Tom, who both note China and the SCO are in no mood to play Russia’s expansionist game.

All levers, my friends, all levers.

A really excellent post by Tom, and not just because it echoes some of the countermeasures I suggested using against the Russian Federation:

Specific ideas involve holding up all top Russian transactions to minute inspection re: any legal irregularities.

Point being, “Russia’s governing elites place their personal interests ahead of Moscow’s raison d’etat.”

Hit ‘em where they is! (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

Tom’s great post goes on to discussin “teachable comments,” which I filed under learning strategies and Chirol discussed as well.

Tom’s post is fantastic, and is a must read.

Mapping the Core

Very interesting to see the international reaction to Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia is a gap state — a Central Asian dictatorship best analyzed in terms of functionally similar countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic — and its invasion of Georgia was an attempt to increase the amount of wealth it could extract from the Core. It appears that the Functioning Core is closing ranks, and expressing its near-unanimous disapproval of Russia’s use of war as a tool of politics.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s an incompetent when it comes to foreign policy, and the Georgia debacle is no exception. If you look close at the map, you see that he has even brought Serbia and Kosovo together!

Russia’s invasion of Georgia, in Context

From Russia’s perspective
Grand strategic: increase the capacity for the Russian state to exist on its own terms
Strategic: extend “hard” control to the former Soviet satellites to the extent possible
Operational: Overthrow the Saakashvelli government of Georgia, halt European and Atlantic expansion
Tactical: Use secessionist regions to either cajole former soviet Republics or directly incorporate them into the Russian Federation

From our perspective:
Grand strategic: Shrink the gap
Strategic: Limit the ability of gap states such as Russia from slowing or reversing economic, political, and military integration
Operational: Add Ukraine and Georgia to NATO and the EU, expel Soviet forces from Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and so on
Tactical: presere the Saakasvhelli government, limit recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

It is in this perspective that cheap talk of “Old European” solidarity (from Britain, France, and Germany) is heartening. Also encouraging is that even Russia’s client Serbia (for whom this whole mess started) is against Russia’s move.

Putin’s policy of “alienating friends and repelling people” is heartening for the West, because it helps our objective of shrinking the Gap, preventing the Gap from interferring with the Core, adding new states to the Core, and preserving our allies.