Tuesday, January 09, 2018

ISM: Mikhail Gorbachev: the man who lost an empire

Anyone who has watched a western knows that if you put your ear to the ground and hear a faint rumbling, it’s the signal of an oncoming trend. Bison are in the area, and if you stick around long enough you will soon see that trend materialize, like poor Simba in the Lion King.

Identifying world political and market trends is largely about keeping your ear to the floor, listening out for the distant rumble of approaching shifts of direction in various countries and industries...
Socialising losses and privatising profits 

At the time of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, David Chen was a 25-year-old student. Using a camera his uncle had given him, he spent a week taking photos of the protests. Those photos have been hidden away until now: the NY Times has published a selection of them today.

China: The Aging Dragon

The weight of the policies from previous decades hangs over China as it attempts to confront an upcoming demographic crisis

It's that jolly time of year when China jails free-speech activists while other countries are busy with holidays.

Beijing complains about Australia's 'irresponsible' attack on China's Pacific aid program

Mikhail Gorbachev: the man who lost an empire

The first comprehensive biography of the USSR's last leader – who unwittingly gave rise to Putinism – is a masterpiece of narrative scholarship.

Last year, journalist Jules Suzdaltsev wrote:
Just wanna make sure you all know there is a Russian handbook from 1997 on “taking over the world” and Putin is literally crossing shit off. 
The book in question is The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia by neo-fascist political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, whose nickname is“Putin’s Brain”. The book has been influential within Russian military & foreign policy circles and it appears to be the playbook for recent Russian foreign policy. In the absence of an English language translation, some relevant snippets fromthe book’s Wikipedia page:
The book declares that “the battle for the world rule of [ethnic] Russians” has not ended and Russia remains “the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution.” The Eurasian Empire will be constructed “on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.” 
The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.
Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because “Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics”.
The book stresses the “continental Russian-Islamic alliance” which lies “at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy”. The alliance is based on the “traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization”. 
Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements — extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”
Ukraine, Brexit, Syria, Trump, promotion of fascist candidates in European elections (Le Pen in France), support for fascism in the US…it’s all right there in the book. And they’ve done it all while barely firing a shot. 

End of an era: surveying the ruins of Merkelism

As Angela Merkel struggles to form a viable government, it's time to ponder what lies ahead in

Germany's political landscape.


China’s richest woman just made $US2b in four days

A share surge at developer Country Garden Holdings has sent Yang Huiyan's wealth up by $US2.1 billion ($2.7 billion) – and that's just in the first four trading days of the year.

Making China Great Again New Yorker 

 Catherine Deneuve and Others Denounce the #MeToo Movement New York Times. I’ve seen only a few reaction, but the denunciations seem big on straw manning and/or seem to view sex as so inherently a matter of male domination so as to pretty much prove the point about Puritanism, that sex is so fraught for women that they have to approach it with extreme caution.