Monday, December 7, 2015

Q&A - 7/12


Jimmy Carter reports he is cured of cancer.


According to Louise Hay's book Heal Your Body, mind / body connection is stronger than most people realize; to the degree that most ailments have direct psychological explanations. The mapping seemed to make sense, so Hay's method became another approach I use for profiling now.

According to Hay, cancer is a sign of repressed anger (Carter must have been pissed at something -probably Israeli government-). Having a cold: confusion, too many things going on in a person's life. Tooth problems: indecision. Coughing: wanting to be recognized, paid attention to - "barking at the world" so to speak, another way of saying "notice me!". On and on..


If there was no peace agreement after the end of the Cold War, how did countries manage?

It was called "globalization"

.. which was actually a by-word for Pax-Americana. Noone sat around the table to hammer out the new division of power among nations after the Cold War, USA's hegemony was subtituted for an agreement between nations. This left Russia in an odd position, "am I the WWII victor, or the Cold War loser?", the UN arrangement pointed to the former, post-[Cold-]war status pointed to the latter. Everyone else, fearing an agreement of some sort would come at some point, started to "prepare" for this eventuality.

And now,  US wants to pull out of certain regions (i.e. Middle East) then this creates a double-weird situation, no agreement + no hegemony.

Zlkhlkhlkjkjlk Brzezinski

[From his book Strategic Vision] Historically, Russia considers itself to be too powerful to be satisfied with being merely a normal European state and yet has been too weak to permanently dominate Europe. It is noteworthy in this connection that its greatest military triumphs—notably, Alexander’s victorious entry into Paris in 1815 and Stalin’s celebratory dinner in Potsdam in mid-1945—were more the byproducts of the folly of Russia’s enemies than the consequence of enduringly successful Russian statesmanship. Had Napoleon not attacked Russia in 1812, it is doubtful that Russian troops would have marched into Paris in 1815. For within less than five decades of Alexander’s triumph, Russia was defeated in the Crimean War by an Anglo-French expeditionary force deployed from afar by sea. Five decades later in 1905, it was crushed in the Far East by the Japanese army and navy. In World War I,  Russia was decisively defeated by a Germany that was fighting a prolonged two-front war. Stalin’s victory in the middle of the twentieth century, precipitated by Hitler’s folly, gained Russia political control over Eastern Europe and extended into the very heart of Europe. But within five decades of that triumph both the Soviet-controlled bloc of Communist states as well as the historic Russian empire itself disintegrated due to exhaustion resulting from the Cold War with America.

Nonetheless, the contemporary postimperial Russia—because of the wealth of its sparsely populated but vast territory rich in natural resources—is destined to play a significant role on the world arena. Yet historically, as a major international player, Russia has not displayed the diplomatic finesse of Great Britain, or the commercial acumen of the democratically appealing America, or the patient self-control of the historically self-confident China. It has failed to pursue consistently a state policy that prudently exploits its natural resources, extraordinary space, and impressive social talent to rise steadily while development. Rather, Russia has tended to engage in bursts of triumphant and rather messianic self-assertion followed by plunges into lethargic morass.

Moreover, though Russia’s territorial size automatically defines it as a great power, the socioeconomic condition of its people is detrimental to Russia’s global standing. Widespread global awareness of Russia’s social liabilities and relatively modest standard of living discredits its international aspirations. Its grave demographic crisis—a negative population growth marked by high death rates—is a testimonial to social failure, with the relatively short life span of its males being the consequence of widespread alcoholism and its resulting demoralization. At the same time, the growing uncertainties regarding rising Islamic unrest along its new southern borders and Russia’s barely hidden anxieties regarding its increasingly powerful and densely populated Chinese neighbor, situated next to Russia’s empty east, collide with Moscow’s great power hubris.

[..] Russia’s social performance ratings—despite the fact that it ranks overall number one in territory, number nine in population, and number two in the number of its nuclear weapons—are actually somewhat worse and can be considered at best only middling in a worldwide comparison. In the area of longevity and population growth, Russia’s numbers are disturbingly low. Cumulatively, Russia’s and Turkey’s ratings dramatize the dialectical reality that both are simultaneously in some respects advanced industrial countries and yet still somewhat underdeveloped societies, with Russia specifically handicapped by its nondemocratic and corruption-ridden political system. The comparisons with other countries ranked immediately above or below Turkey and Russia respectively are especially telling. Russia’s demographic crisis, political corruption, outdated and resource-driven economic model, and social retardation pose especially serious obstacles to a genuine fulfillment of the understandable ambitions of its talented but often misruled people [..B]oth nations would benefit greatly from a genuinely transformative relationship with a Europe that is able to reach out confidently to the East because of its ongoing links to America.

Moreover, the persisting disregard specifically in Russia for the rule of law is perhaps its greatest impediment to a philosophical embrace with the West. Without an institutionalized supremacy of law, the adoption of a Western-type democracy in Russia has so far been no more than a superficial imitation. That reality encourages and perpetuates corruption as well as the abuse of civil rights, a tradition deeply embedded in the historically prolonged subordination of Russian society to the state.

Complicating matters further, the current geopolitical orientation of Russia’s foreign policy elite [..] is quite conflicted and in some respects escapist. At this time [..] full-fledged membership in the Atlantic community through eventual membership in its economic as well as political and security institutions is not yet Russia’s explicit and dominant aspiration. In fact, there exist within Russia’s political and business elites multiple interpretations of Russia’s appropriate global role. Many wealthy Russian businessmen (especially in St. Petersburg and Moscow) would like Russia to be a modern, European-type society because of the resulting economic advantages. Meanwhile, many in the political elite desire Russia to be the dominant European power in a Europe detached from America, or even to be a world power on par with America. And still other Russians toy with the seemingly captivating notions of “Eurasianism,” of Slavic Union, or even of an anti-Western alliance with the Chinese.

The “Eurasianists,” mesmerized by the sheer geographic size of Russia, see it as a mighty Eurasian power, neither strictly European nor Asian, and destined to play a coequal role with America and China. They fail to realize that with their trans-Eurasian space largely empty and still underdeveloped, such a strategy is an illusion. A variant of this notion, the idea of a Russo-Chinese alliance presumably directed against America, also represents an escape from reality. The fact of the matter, painful for many Russians to acknowledge, is that in such a Russo-Chinese alliance—assuming that the Chinese would want it—Russia would be the junior partner, with potentially negative territorial consequences eventually for Russia itself.[..]

Finally Moscow’s relationship with the West is still burdened by Russia’s ambiguous relationship with its Stalinist past. Unlike Germany, which has repudiated in toto the Nazi chapter of its history, Russia has both officially denounced and yet still respects the individuals most directly responsible for some of history’s most bloody crimes. Lenin’s embalmed remains continue to be honored in a mausoleum that overlooks the Red Square in Moscow and Stalin’s ashes are installed in the nearby Kremlin wall. (Anything similar for Hitler in Berlin would surely discredit Germany’s democratic credentials.) An unresolved ambiguity thus persists, reflected in the absence of a clear-cut indictment of Lenin’s and Stalin’s regimes in officially approved history schoolbooks. Official unwillingness to fully confront head-on the ugly Soviet past, epitomized in Putin’s own equivocations on this subject and his nostalgia for Soviet grandeur, has obstructed Russia’s progress toward democracy while burdening Russia’s relations with its most immediate Western neighbors.

Therefore, a Russia left to its own devices, and not deliberately drawn into a larger democratically transformative framework, could again become a source of tension and occasionally even a security threat to some of its neighbors. Lacking leadership with the strength and the will to modernize, increasingly aware of its relative social retardation (with only Moscow and St. Petersburg regions matching the West’s standards of living), still uneasy regarding China’s growing global power, resentful of America’s continuing worldwide preeminence, proud of its vast and resource-rich territory, anxious over the depopulation of its far east and its general demographic crisis, and alert to the growing cultural and religious alienation of its Muslim population, Russia remains unable to define for itself a stable role that strikes a realistic balance between its ambitions and its actual potential.


Q&A - 21/5

Question How do you empirically prove interest rates do not cause increase or decrease in GDP growth? There is a test for that Data ,...