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Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Films and Books
Last post by ersi -
But I'm expecting a science-fictiony turn in Klara and the Sun. Perhaps artificial intelligence sinking into abuse mode while failing to sense anything out of the ordinary?
It was a different twist. Probably better, because it was something I did not expect.

I have a relatively minor discontentment about it, but let me stay silent about it. I am rather happy that great humanist fiction continues in 21st century.
DnD Central / Re: The awesomesauce with Chimerica
Last post by OakdaleFTL -
I have a slightly different take! (But I found the report of these war games hugely entertaining — and maybe even cogent.) What I'd ask is:
What does the CCP gain if it subjugates Taiwan?

The best they can hope for is the destruction of a vibrant and successful economy.

Typical leftist reasoning: If everybody else is doing as poorly as we are, we're doing okay...
DnD Central / Re: The awesomesauce with Chimerica
Last post by ersi -
War Game scenarios: This Is What Happens When China Invades Taiwan

Average playout:
1. It is more preferable for China to attack in south of Taiwan. In north they would fail to get a foothold.
2. An assumption is that Japan will let USA use their bases.
3. USA will overpower the Chinese navy.
4. Chinese infantry in Taiwan cannot sustain themselves and would eventually be defeated.
5. All events from beginning to end take some four or five weeks.

- Taiwan is a difficult island to conquer. The difficulty is comparable to World War II's D-Day or Philippines battles.
- One would think that when both sides use war games to predict the outcome and the outcome is clear, they would not engage in real war. In reality the risk may be taken anyway.
- Sometimes politicians, citing some political factors, encourage military action despite the pessimism of the generals. For example, Iraqi generals in the Iraq war did not see any point in fighting, but Saddam Hussein said he was talking with the French and Russians and that victory was possible.
- Ukraine holds on strategically because USA/EU supports Ukraine and Russia is unable to disrupt the support. Such support is not possible for Taiwan. A longer war would be lost for USA and Taiwan would have to put up an internal resistance, build on asymmetric capabilities, landmines and such.

My own takeaways:
Western policy makers think they have already done everything they could for Ukraine. Victory for Taiwan is plausible, so it is okay to call the current status in Ukraine a day. Their Plan B: Even if the West loses Taiwan, so what.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Last post by ersi -
Funny thing is, like mentioned in the Map thread, few in Europe seem to think that our support of Ukraine is just right. A fairly clear majority want us to do more, and a minority want us to do less (or preferably nothing at all).
Yes, the majority wants us to do more and a minority wants to do less, but these are people who don't have much power over either national or union-level policies. The only effect they have is to get politicians to act busier for a few months before elections.

This applies to the political circles as well.
Not true. A majority of the political circles cannot "want to do more". They are the ones in position to do as much as they want.  If we assume that the political circles would like to do more, but cannot, then why is it exactly the political circles in western EU who are unable to do more?

Nope. Support for Ukraine is precisely at the level that the political circles have set. It is in their nature to think that they have already done their best. The state of affairs is as it is not because they cannot do more even though they would want to, but because they think they are performing top-notch according to polls, charts and maps.

Edit: An easy test for the members of the political circles is to ask them to formulate victory for Ukraine or defeat for Russia. Make a poll and see what sort of answers you get. Actually, how do you formulate victory for Ukraine yourself?

And I have yet to see anyone (outside that minority) happy about the current sorry state of the US, because of our own sorry state.
The western EU political circles are afflicted — always have, always will — with the superiority complex. Under this complex, they never see or acknowledge their own sorry state. Sorry state does not exist for them. Some foreign country such as USA can be in a sorry state. Eastern EU members can be blinded by a sorry "survivalist" mindset. EU biggies themselves in their own mind are not in any sort of sorry state, never have been. EU biggies don't think they have made any mistakes that need correcting.

For a moment Scholz was able to enounce that the Ostpolitik had led to an "Irrtum". What was the lesson he took from this in the same speech? To start militarising Germany. So this "Irrtum" has been taken care of this way. It did not involve doing more for Ukraine. In his mind, Scholz was briefly in an embarrassing situation, but he got quickly out of it.

Another example: Remember Macron's flights and phone calls between Putin and Zelensky, trying to get them to agree to a peace or ceasefire or negotiate a deal over something he himself was not certain of? Clearly Macron had no idea what he was doing. Clearly he had no idea that he was undermining any possibility of formulating a common EU policy. (Actually, I assume he was doing it deliberately precisely in order to kill anobody else's better initiative just to pretend to be relevant on the world arena just to ingratiate his own narcissism, but that aside.) His attempts fell through massively. His counterproductive "diplomacy" was overrun by USA/Baltic initiative of providing Ukraine with unconditional support. Has Macron regretted his macroning for a second? Does he see how destructive and dangerous he was? Or at least that he was or is in a sorry state? Nope. Nothing. Sorry state does not exist for him. Not for a second did he think he was doing anything wrong. He does not think he is doing anything wrong now and there's no chance in the universe for him to get in any sort of sorry state.

US and EU has had a well-working partnership through decades: US breaks things with weapons, EU rebuild them with money. US feels strong, EU feels good, and both get results, often the wanted ones.
Now, once you get over this flashy oversimplification, take some time to count the wanted results as opposed to unwanted results, and you should see how skewed this characterisation is. At least, you would if you took the on-ground situation more seriously. The EU has been miserable at diplomacy at every crucial turn. Not occasionally miserable, not getting "often the wanted" results, but making things worse at every single crucial turn, such as Balkan wars, messing up relations with Poland and Hungary after they joined the EU (and almost messing them up with more countries, Estonia being a close call), failing to see any threat in Russia. The results in those situations were deaths and misery, having to call in external superior firepower (against Serbia, which means that diplomacy failed), and signing agreements (Minsk Agreements) that were doomed to be either broken (which again means that diplomacy failed) or, if not broken, then perpetuate unlawfulness (which means that whoever signed the agreements had no sense of justice).

A far more accurate characterisation of the EU activities is the way Ukranians characterise it — it was Ukrainians who came up with the words "macroning" and "scholzing" as far as I know — and the way North Africans see it — as plain old French colonialism, slightly modernised, but still unmistakably colonialism. Moreover, the entire "Global South" perceive the EU/USA/Nato/IMF etc. "seven-headed beast" as a single colonial power headquartered in the so-called collective West.

Why do they perceive it this way? I'd say, given the actions of the entity, how could they not.

... even if Trump should happen...
The final test for USA is whether Trump happens again. All branches of government should demonstrate the resolve to take him out. Thus far the judicial branch has yielded the best results, but kind of mixed. For example, the gag orders produced no consequences, even though Trump clearly breached them. The best would be for SCOTUS to decide that Trump cannot run, which is up next, seems to me.

A party whose leader attempted a coup and who fails to condemn such a leader — quite the contrary, lets him run for presidency again — should be banned. This is probably in the competency of Congress, but the current Congress is absolutely not up for it. The executive branch is making a fair attempt by driving the secret documents case, but it seems to be narrowly running out of time.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Last post by jax -
Funny thing is, like mentioned in the Map thread, few in Europe seem to think that our support of Ukraine is just right. A fairly clear majority want us to do more, and a minority want us to do less (or preferably nothing at all). This applies to the political circles as well.

And I have yet to see anyone (outside that minority) happy about the current sorry state of the US, because of our own sorry state.

US and EU has had a well-working partnership through decades: US breaks things with weapons, EU rebuild them with money. US feels strong, EU feels good, and both get results, often the wanted ones.

Europe is on a rearmament trajectory, but the political goals are running ahead of the mechanics. That the US might break down in 2025 was a remote risk. Not only is the risk less remote, the US is breaking apart already in late 2023 already, which I didn't expect. That said, even if Trump should happen, the administration and Congress can ship a last package in the lame duck period. Election over, there is nothing the MAGA can do to what is left of the Republican party.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Last post by ersi -
Ukraine's president Zelensky visited Estonia this week. It caught my ear that he wants to get back those refugees who would be eligible for the army. Not sure how warmly the refugees take this.

This is the status on the politico-rhetorical front, as officially expressed by the most pro-Ukraine EU member:

I'd say the status is pretty bad. At 12:08: "I think there's a difference between 2014 and 2024. In 2014 I saw how quickly it went from Let's support Ukraine to Let's sit down and negotiate, give away the territory so that Russia is happy. This time we have been able to explain how giving in to the aggressor only gives you more war. Weakness provokes Russia. Strength doesn't."

Unfortunately no, we have not been able to explain this. First, we failed to explain this in 2014. As she acknowledges both earlier and later in the interview, there are still EU members who are unclear on the support for Ukraine and unclear on the needed outcome, and it is clear (to me) that she implies other/more members than Hungary. For example in the same context she mentions that there is still the illogical strategic requirement on Ukraine to not attack Russia's soil — this is something Hungary has nothing to do with.

The current support and sympathy that is flowing out towards Ukraine is not due to our explanations, but due to our strong example and initiative, and even more so due to the actual situation on the ground that very concretely proved the falsity and perversity of the position of western EU that left them utterly embarrassed. The concrete material proof did the trick. The EU biggies are convinced by no explanation ever. They needed an outbreak of hot war to lift their asses a bit.

However, their embarrassment is wearing off and they will soon fall back to their old attitude. Republicans in USA have already stopped the support from USA to Ukraine, so that the current balance of EU's support surpasses that of USA. This has the effect of the EU biggies thinking Our support to Ukraine is absolutely fabulous, bigger than that of USA, therefore we can pat ourselves on the back now and take it easy. Elections in USA are scheduled at the end of this year, so Democrats (and as a result entire USA) will be, in best case, cautious and indeterminate on the Ukraine topic for the entire year. In practice, "cautious and indeterminate" means a halt, and EU biggies will do the same with a delay, which is the way they have behaved all these decades.
DnD Central / Re: The State of Israel ~ vs ~ Hamas ---- A "Natural Right" to Self-Defence?
Last post by ersi -
I discovered Travelingisrael some five years ago or so. I appreciate a good professional tour guide. I have passed some of the same training and done plenty of tour guiding informally. Most of what I know about the attitudes and culture in Israel I know from the videos of Travelingisrael.

Anyway, on topic: Travelingisrael is an outright Zionist. He considers his positions "centrist", positions such as that there was no such thing as Palestinian people in the first half of the 20th century, so the land was up for grabs, and of course Jews/Israelis have a historical+moral+divine priority to it over everybody else. Plus Israel has committed no atrocities that would not be overshadowed by atrocities against the Jewish people.

This being a debate forum, feel free to debate.
DnD Central / Re: Philosophy, Logic, Formal Systems
Last post by ersi -
such as basic arithmetic! If you have difficulties with such, it's a matter of memory and apperception...
I passed, so I did not have difficulties to any significant degree. And I may be underestimating myself, since I am comparing myself to my primary school deskmate who was the school primus, particularly in arithmetic, being able to calculate large numbers in his head and even play blind chess.

Anyway, there are several areas in math, arithmetic being one, geometry being another. I was excellent in geometry.
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
Last post by ersi -
What you mean is that you have no idea about anything. Russia welcomes Trump. Russia contributed to Trump's election campaign in 2016, significantly so, if not outright decisively. Trump and Putin are best buddies. Not as best as Trump and Epstein, but almost.

CCP also warmly welcomes an erratic American leader once again. The status of the war in Ukraine conveys the following message to the Far East: Westerners don't help even those of their own race, so they definitely won't help Asians. Meaning that Taiwan is entirely on its own, absolutely helpless in case USA gets a pact-ignoring Nato-demolishing president who has no idea about geopolitics, no idea about global trade and does not care to get an idea. For CCP this means: If Trump wins, we have Taiwan in our pocket. Foreseeing this, Japan has decided to remilitarise.

The EU is divided. Ever since the end of Cold War, the western half spearheaded by Germany and France has been working to undermine Nato (as a defence alliance against Russia) and USA's role on the continent. The western half of the EU has been working to approach Russia economically and politically, envisioning Russia's membership for the EU. A part of this policy has been to divest the new members of their voting rights with every new renegotiation of the EU constitution, and the next such step is right now on the lips of all western EU leaders, including Scholz, Macron, and Leyen.

The eastern half has no use for this kind of the EU. The eastern half of the EU sees Russia as an existential threat. They joined Nato and the EU (and Nato first) in order to counterbalance and counteract this existential threat. The current status of the war in Ukraine conveys the following message: Despite all treaties, alliances and memberships, the West does not do anything to hold itself to their declared values and signed commitments. The West sees no problem giving up the eastern countries to Russia. The following action by the eastern EU countries depends on how fast they are able to take this message in and reorient themselves. The fastest one to correctly foresee this coming was Orban who already reoriented Hungary pre-emptively. Hungary is best positioned for the post-Ukraine-war situation by having operable relations both with Russia and the EU biggies and also with USA, whoever the president there be. Hardly anyone else will (be able to) reorient themselves this radically, but at least nobody has any reason to hold to their commitments to the West any longer, since the West has by now clearly dropped all commitments (and even pretension of fairness) to the East which, for the East, held existential value, the most important value of all. The betrayal from the West has been absolutely total and thus reorientation is forced, inescapable. So, even though nobody in the eastern half of the EU welcomes a Nato-demolishing president in USA, realistically nobody can expect any president in USA be capable of saving Nato's reputation either. As a result, nobody in the eastern half of the EU gives a damn who becomes the president of USA. But the western half would welcome a reasonably polished diplomatic figure who would not look too bad to take a photo together with. Trump is not welcome for that reason.

And what is your reason to favour Trump for president, OakdaleFTL? I get it: He is the treasonous nepotist election-denying dictator wannabe with no morals, no principles, and no professionalism. He represents everything near and dear to yourself.
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
Last post by OakdaleFTL -
What you really mean is: The EU, Russia and the CCP don't want this... :)
 I understand your point of view: Bureaucratic power is the most important thing to maintain!
The U.S. must be cobbled... if it won't accede to its bureaucracy.
Good luck with that!

What you want is something that you can't deal with...  A United States that adheres to its original principles.