5 August 2017

Past and Present - 08/2017 (last updated Aug. 5)

Ughh, July was a real pain for me but it's finally over, meaning more free time at last! Hopefully I can finally do that post on Seeing Like a State like I wanted to 2 months ago but first, some current events stuff.

Translation of Wombs will be resuming btw, for those of you wondering what the fuck was going on.

Just had to link this hilarious video about Turkmenistan's president showing off his stuff. I honestly thought it was a parody video when I first saw it but it's the real deal. More politicians should do this so we can take them even less seriously than already.


Moral Panic Over Paper Technology: The more things change, the more some things stay the same. And in this case, it's old-timers complaining about degenerate youngsters and their new-fangled tech. As Socrates jii-chan used to (supposedly) grumble, "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise."

Can the US get a foot in Vietnam's door?: With the tension over South China Seas brewing and anti-Chinese sentiment rising in Vietnam, things might look good for the US, but for now it seems the Vietnamese leaders readily realize that should a serious war come to pass, few Americans would be willing to die for Danzig  some rocks on the other side of the globe. Also, purely from an economic point of view, what good reason is there for Vietnam to pick a side when there's much profit to be had by not doing so? It seems unlikely that the US will ever be able to make an offer good enough for Vietnam, and despite all the usual talk about China being a natural bully, I doubt its leaders will be so stupid as to be so flagrantly aggressive that Vietnam will see no other option. Then again, one should never discount the role of human stupidity in the course of history...
Europe's Afghan Crime-wave: Is the Afghan crime-wave really so baffling, though? I mean, if someone asked me to take a blind guess which refugee nationality would show the highest crime statistics, I'd pick countries that have A) long history of weak or virtually absent state power and B) high levels of endemic war in the last half-century. Afghanistan and Somalia would seem to best fit those criteria, and those two are almost always mentioned in any alt-right or conservative hit-piece against refugees and immigrants. That gets me thinking though, I would love to see a rigorous study that goes through the crime statistics on a per capita basis and compare it to these two categories. Maybe that can tell me whether I'm full of shit or if  I'm right on the money.

$1 billion CIA secret funding to Syrian rebels ends: Pathetic how shit like this is played up for partisan rivalries. More interesting is D-bag Charles Lister's comment: 
In many ways, I would put the blame on the Obama administration. . . They never gave it the necessary resources or space to determine the dynamics of the battlefield. They were drip-feeding opposition groups just enough to survive but never enough to become dominant actors.
Sure, more explicit US military support could have helped, but if you're spending over 1 billion fucking dollars only to see your weapons end up in radical jihadist hands and accomplish jack shit in terms of long-term strategic goals, maybe you ought to start back from the drawing board again. "It's not the size mate, it's how you use it."
What Happened was you blew it, Hilary: The book isn't out yet, but all signs indicate to a refusal to own up to reality. The real question that an honest confession would talk about is, as the article's author Lister puts it, "Why was it [the election] so close to begin with?" It's a good soul-searching question and it's something that should be thought by not just Clinton, but all Americans. There's plenty of Americans praying for Trump's impeachment and a return to "normalcy" but what is normalcy anyways? Is normalcy when a country spends the last quarter of a century fighting costly wars overseas and continues to show no signs of stopping, failure be damned? Is normalcy when politicians regularly accept money from foreign governments and interest groups and work on their behalf? Is normalcy when spending money is simply a form of political speech?

India facing the Chinese hegemon: Quite useful article to contextualize the recent Doklam/Donglang dispute. I really gotta read through some stuff comparing India's late industrialization experience to that of China's one of these days so I can better understand the roots behind the divergence of these two regional powers.

Battle over Tibetan Medicine: Land ain't the only thing the pajeets and slant-eyes are fighting over.
Macron's declining popularity: Not surprising for anyone who didn't buy into the Macron-hype and thought he was another typical preacher of neoliberalism. Next French elections should be fun...

Myth of Dunkirk: I ain't afraid to say it. Dunkirk was fucking shit and I regret watching it even if I didn't pay for tickets. I thought if anyone could give a fresh look at Dunkirk that breaks with the tired old-mythical narrative that many of us suffered through in school, surely it would be Nolan. But nope.

Logic behind China's treatment of Liu Xiaobo: Lots of typical China-bashing from most western media in light of Liu Xiaobo's death, but this is one article I liked. There's a good logic behind China's actions if you bother to think about it. And let's be serious now. How enthusiastic would you really be for a countryman if he seriously called for "300 years of colonization" and regretted that the colonial era had passed and with it, the chance for China to be civilized by the West? You don't need stereotypes of conformist Asians brainwashed by the state to explain his lack of popularity among many Chinese people, especially those among the younger generation who've grown up in a moderately wealthy China.

Kagame, the (only) solution for Rwanda: Like this article and others have predicted, Kagame "won" another landslide victory today, securing his status as president. In an ideal world, one would have political stability and political liberalism, but you sure as hell won't find that in Africa, especially when it's even hard to find it in the West these days. Despite how romantic the notion of "give me liberty or give me death" sounds to liberals, I'm pretty sure most of them would change their minds quick if they were to experience the Rwandan genocide and Rwanda's rise from the ashes since then. Like I pointed before, Rwanda still stands as one of Africa's least corrupt country, so how much do Rwandans really care if Kagame gets his hand dirty every now and then to paint himself as the nation's father? Reality is unromantic by nature and ideals, while important, have to be followed in a compromised form lest be impractical.

Westaboos of Japan defend Wonder Woman:
"This is what happens when a polished, sophisticated story like this goes through the Japan filter - it just turns into trash," tweeted one enraged fan. Another tweeted: "We're not the bigoted, ignorant audience that these studios think. We deserve better and so does Wonder Woman."
Ahahahaha. Dem parallels, man.

Turkey's Syrian strategy: Pretty convincing article throughout, but I'm not sure why the author makes it seems as if US choosing between Turkey and the YPG is some sort of agonizingly difficult choice rather than a pretty obvious one. The US has, and will again, sell out the Kurds. Turkey's far too important of a country for US to alienate and I assume Turkey will wish to leverage its position as a NATO-nation rather than abandon it and side with the economic basket-case that is Russia. But hey, I'd love to be proven wrong and see the poor Kurds get a good deal, possibly even a nation, during this century.


  1. How goes the Futago no Teikoku translations?

    1. It'll start this month, I swear.

    2. Are you doing the Futago no Teikoku translation?,I have the raws for vol3 if you are interested

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Sure,here you go

    5. I can't get it to download. I tried using Usenet, but it won't let me see it.

    6. The usenet link is just an advert/fake,zippyshare or sendspace is probably your best bet

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What's your take on the Venezuela situation, if you've been following it?

    1. Not entirely sure what to say on it. I mean, just going by these numbers (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/venezuela-unprecedented-economic-collapse-by-ricardo-hausmann-2017-07), shit looks real fucked up, but then there are also articles like these (https://www.thenation.com/article/how-severe-is-venezuelas-crisis/) that say otherwise.

      But then again, you don't really need "failed-state" levels of catastrophe to know that something's gotta give when so many people are deeply dissatisfied with the current situation. Some of the interventionist-rhetoric (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/venezuela-is-in-desperate-need-of-a-political-intervention/2016/04/12/d7071d98-00c9-11e6-9203-7b8670959b88_story.html?utm_term=.59b780c73891) is concerning and I hope some sort of political reform can be reached by the Venezuelans themselves within the near future.

    2. Venezuela is yet another case of the US feeding local opposition groups to make artificial coups d'etat. Maduro lacks Chavez' political expertise and couldn't handle the combo of economical coup (markets purposedly holding merch, banks swaying money value, etc.), US meddling and low oil prices. Particularly the last one, because with expensive oil dealing with the other two problems would be feasible. But without that income and Maduro's inability to deal with problems, even pro-Chavez people are turning on him.

  3. Hey hox, sorry for the off-topic but have you read Jabberwocky? It's about a secret Dinosaur society in Tsarist Russia so it sounds right up your alley. The TL is stalled, too...