China – Georgia

Good news on China’s latest symbolic rebuff to Russia: using its position at the Asian Development Bank to offer money to Georgia, to rebuild in the wake of Russia’s aggression:

Russia’s military success against Georgia is having repercussions that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his stand-in president, Dmitri Medvedev, surely do not welcome. Simply put, Putin has alienated China and other countries that share his interest in countering U.S. power.

The Asian Development Bank, in which China plays a leading role, has extended a $40 million loan at the lowest possible rate to Georgia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization – which includes China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as Russia – refused to countenance Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Georgia. The rebuff of Putin is all the more striking because – at least from Putin’s perspective – the central purpose of this group was to form an eastern counterweight to NATO.

Asian displeasure at Russia’s move on Georgia – International Herald Tribune.

China is in the New Core of world economy, and is vital to any peace.

Georgia is a Seam State, which should be integrated into the Core.

Russia is in the Gap.  It is a threat to the world economy, attempts to disrupt the Seam’s journey into the Core, and possess an existential threat to the New Core.

Russia, a Gap country disconnecting from the world

Ralph Peters notes that Vladimir Putin prefers a wealthy government to a wealthy society. That’s essentially right: Putin prefers a government with a great freedom of action to a wealthy society. So Putin will happily oversee the destruction of the Russian economy in order to free himself of the “golden straighjacket” that integration into the Core could have brought.

For the second day in a row the Russian Markets Halted as Emergency Funding Fails to Halt Rout . Russia’s capital markets have lost more than half of their wealth since 8/8/08. The petty billionaires who once trusted Putin to manage their wealth are now seeing that his plan for them is the same classic maneuvering in the Gap: befriend when you are weak, crush when you are strong.

While we can adjust to high oil prices pretty easily, high oil prices allow Gap leaders like Putin to stay in power through the wealth that oil brings. High prices are — for lack of a better word — bad, because of the way they further warp Gap societies.

Obama’s Intelligence

One of the many annoying memes that was going around early in this campaign is that Obama was an unusually smart and intelligent candidate. My impression was exactly the opposite, and the meme seems to have slowed down, so perhaps otehrs are coming around to that realization, as well.

Half Sigma, however, now disagrees. In a series of posts (including More on Obama’s intelligence, Was Obama in the top 10% of the class at Harvard Law School?, Barack Obama’s high-IQ brother, and Harvard Law Review confirms Obama’s magna cum laude),

In the posts, Half Sigma misunderstands the role of general intelligence (or IQ) in higher education. Sigma claims that higher education is highly g loaded (that is, depends on general intelligence). Well, it’s definitely true that people with more higher education are much more likely to get into these institutions, but once there success depends more on study behaviors, access to high quality peers, prior knowledge, and so on.

With the sole exception of grades, Half Sigma’s other arguments for Obama’s intelligence are equally true of George W. Bush. And remember, even Bush’s grades were better than Kerry’s.

Of course, if you come from a politically correct background (as did both Bush and Obama), the g-loading of graduate school goes down anyway.

So: Obama’s smart enough. He’s smarter than most Americans. Like Bush. And also like Bush, would come to the office after the great shift of the talented and ambitious to business.

We may now be in the age of second-rate Presidents.

(Obviously, however, in the form of intelligence that may matter the most — experience — Obama is as lacking as Palin.)

Group Differences in the News

Evolution has, is, and will continue to go on all around some. Some recent blog posts about group differences, and how selection effects them.

AIDS resistance, personality, politics, disease-risk, and intelligence are all heritable, thus the common thread of these psots.