Thursday, December 1, 2016

Putin made a master stroke and few people noticed it.

Only someone, very wise in the ways of the world, could have crafted such an action. Nor is there any need to guess at where this action will take the world, but Putin is jockeying to become a world leader and he's well on his way to accomplishing that task. Read on:

The utility of war and warfare has a long history, steeped, as it were in deception, intrigue and economics. For those who have read the classics you know that at the root of all wars is resources. Tribes held productive lands while nomads wandered from place to place. As these wanders grew in numbers, and as settled people prospered, the wanders, seeking to survive, decided that it was better to die in battle than to simply sit patiently and starve to death. So, first they drove hunter gatherers from productive sections of jungle, then gouged themselves on the fruits of their conquests.

The trouble was, they were not as good at husbanding their newly acquired lands as the former settlers had been. Why should they be any good at caring for the land? They were wanders, when the land they were on gave out, they simply picked up and sought another battle for the resources they needed.

Then came the farmers. With care, and labor they tended their crops and were able to raise more than sufficient produce for themselves and so there was something to trade. Trade allowed people to leave the land and pursue other ideas about creating resources. For example potters and masons. It was no longer necessary to have everyone working at farming and tending animals. But raiders came to take away the farmers production as well as any resources, gold, copper, silver etc., that the non-farmers had earned.

After a while the farmers realized they needed an army to protect their stores and so gov't was born. With gov't came leadership and power in the hands of a few. At first the duties of gov't were rudimentary, simply to protect from invaders and collect taxes, which were gov't's principal source of income. Then they expanded their powers to settle disputes and regulate trade and finally as they became more sophisticated, they began bestowing and removing rights. As a societies ultimate weapon, gov't came to hold the power of life and death over each and every citizen. As the system of governance became more complex, with the growth of the population and trade, a forum of associates, known by various titles, was devised to share these immense powers.

In the course of governing, the immense power of leadership allowed for the public treasuries to be either handled in a proper fashion, or squandered uselessly as the prowess (or lack thereof) of successive leadership provided.

As you can easily see from this “quick and dirty” narrative, the problems faced by governments was the selection of leaders and the matter of ruling by law. In the first instance, the means of succession of leadership was often decided by matter of birthright, this did not work so well as Caligula's two year reign of terror reveals. Still this method continued to be widely used. More modern governments use various voting schemes. These tend to fail because the population of voters isn't fully apprised of what constitutes good leadership.
Those who would be “king” realize that people are attracted to “strong” leaders, thus they hold themselves out to be “strong” by posing in a dictatorial fashion, rather than having some operational plan. At times campaigning for votes becomes more like some sort of movie script or tv commercial, than an actual appeal to be the next leader.

Look at Rome 1000 CE (or AD if you prefer), they had waterwheels and even hydro-dynamically driven piston motors. Now can you imagine what Rome could have become had they invested in that technology? So, the question is “why didn't they?” The answer is: Slavery! Because they had slaves to do the manual labor, they had no need of labor saving devices. Because they had not deemed it wise or prudent to educate the citizenry, there was no effort engaged to take technology to the next step. Slavery held them back, away from a future that would have been more prosperous than anything they could have imagined. That should be a lesson for every nation on earth, but sadly no, it isn't.

The use of steam engines would have been advanced almost a thousand years earlier. They had the metal, they had the means, the early start would have been troublesome without stainless steel to resist corrosion, but they also had glass which might have been used as a coating. Who knows how fast technology would have produced needed solutions. We do know, however, how much a water or steam driven mill can produce. But then, here we are, almost one thousand years of wasted effort, because leaders and public valued “strong” over “smart”.

Today we live in a world that is much more technologically advanced. So much so, in fact, that without our technology a good portion of the worlds population could not survive. Meaning that today, we are more dependent on smart than we ever were on “strong”. Terrorism? The Romans suffered it too. Why you ask? Well, because they wouldn't let people outside come inside and join in their prosperous society. They pressed invidious distinctions to keep “outsiders” out and it became their down fall.

Their own prosperity had weakened them to the point where they could no longer raise armies, they fell to hiring mercenaries. Mercenaries are loyal only to those who pay their salaries. Who pays the most, or offers the most, gets their support. When Rome fell under siege they could no longer trade, they could no longer pay and they were starved into submission by a horde with no education at all, just an ability to kill more and quicker than anyone else. Nature abhors a vacuum, to be of greatest use, education must flow to the masses or be rendered useless. If people cannot understand the intricacies of the systems that support the social/economic structure they survive by, they'll senselessly trash it without a care, only to face the consequences later. And “later” does nobody any good.

Which brings us back to today. Today where the Bush administration wildly sold the nation on the futile utility of war, in an effort to appear to be strong, he squandered both human and economic resources and gave the world reason to pause and reflect on US leadership. One doesn't lead by going around kicking people in the head. One leads by convincing others that their plans are good and/or better than what has gone before. In that light, the PNAC seems so outrageously silly, it appears to have more likely been crafted in an insane asylum than in some lofty “think tank”, by people of high caliber. The notion that one can stop terrorist attacks from occurring by the willful and wanton, randomized killing and displacement of millions of people, is something for psychiatrist and mental health professionals to behold. For example, the PNAC hadn't a clue that the oil they intended should pay the costs of the war, was already under contract to US oil companies. Thus, we wound up, in effect, taking possession of oil we had already brought and paid for. Worse, our European allies also had contracts for that oil, which, it turns out had to be honored as well. So “Mr and Mrs “PNAC” no war spoils oil for you! It should not have taken a genius to figure that out, long before the first shot was fired.

So here we have Donald J. Trump, planning to write some invidious distinctions into law. Yet another simplistic solution to a problem that, in reality doesn't exist, except in the minds of “supremacists” who seem to believe that, no matter your schooling or intelligence level, no matter your commitment to hard work, somehow the color of ones skin or their state of origin somehow makes them better suited to enjoy life, liberty and the right to peacefully pursue happiness. Go figure.

The gravest danger to the republic is that, like nations of old, a leader, untutored in governing will make an ungovernable mess of things. Putting into high office, officials whose main calling is some ideological bend, rather than people with a good grasp of the paradigms in operation therein, we get mangled decisions that either require constant correction, or that block the deployment of critical resources to fix problems while they're still small enough to be fixed. Try to imagine what a Clarence Thomas or an Antonin Scalia would have been at The First Continental Congress. At a time when a word here, a phrase there could have altered the course of U.S. History for the millions of people we have today.

But no, I won't say what Putin's masterful stroke was, if you didn't get it, don't worry you will eventually. I just don't want it's effect to be minimized by premature attention. It's already made the news once, fear not, it will again.