*Winter is Coming*, by Garry Kasparov

by on October 22, 2015 at 12:02 am in Books, Current Affairs, Political Science | Permalink

That new book has the subtitle Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped.  In addition to its critique of Putin, there is a good deal of political economy in this book, including some hypotheses which are worthy of further investigation.  For instance:

Unfortunately, Putin, like other modern autocrats, had, and still has, an advantage the Soviet leadership could never have dreamed of: deep economic and political engagement with the free world.  Decades of trade have created tremendous wealth that dictatorships like Russia and China have used to build sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy.  The naive idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states.  in practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.

And this:

It is no coincidence that right-wing autocracies have a much better track record of emerging from political repression and achieving democratic and economic success.  Chile, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan — their regimes were about power for the sake of power, without a deeper ideology.  When their regimes fell, with elections in most cases, the roots, the human values of individual freedom, were still healthy enough to flourish.

It is easy enough to criticize Kasparov for being “too hawkish,” but the reality is that virtually all of his earlier predictions about Putin and Russia have come true, including ones which I have heard but he may not have published directly.

Recommended.

1 Ralph E. October 22, 2015 at 12:07 am

Is China a left wing or a right wing autocracy?

2 Adrian Ratnapala October 22, 2015 at 12:43 am

It is an example of a left wing autocracy that left a dictatorship behind after it failed.

3 Tom October 22, 2015 at 10:17 am

Bizarre.

4 Bob from Ohio October 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

“left a dictatorship behind”

Its still a dictatorship. One party, secret police, no voting, no political free speech.

5 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 1:42 am

Both. The CPC is a big tent party, tolerant of just about anything other than democratic reform. (And, not publicly opposing whatever the top dude is currently doing.)

It doesn’t fit very well at all into the simplistic left-right dichotomy.

Pragmatic one-party rule, one might even argue.

6 ChrisA October 22, 2015 at 6:07 am

China is a typical mixed Asian economy, with very hard working entrepreneurs working within an Imperial State framework. In fact the same economy that they have had for several thousand years with a small interlude for Maoism. Russia has also reverted to Czarism. Europe a mix of mildly bickering paternalistic mini-states bound together in an overall loosely controlled Imperial Bureaucracy ala the Holy Roman Empire (and the original Roman Empire before that). I guess there is something to these cultural stereotypes after-all. Sort of like that memory metal, that can be bent out shape, but slowly reforms into its natural shape. Even the Anglo-sphere (including the US for now) is just the British Empire in a slightly modified form with the only difference being its the US navy controlling the worlds oceans and bashing up Arabs.

7 Mike W October 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

Why stop regressing there? All those “cultural stereotypes” slowly reform to Tribal Hunter-Gather-ism…or even Walking Fish-ism.

8 Peter Schaeffer October 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

ChrisA,

“China is a typical mixed Asian economy, with very hard working entrepreneurs”

I would make that

“China is a typical mixed Asian economy, with very hard working entrepreneurs, a skilled, hardworking labor force, a strong system of public education, a competent civil service, strong family life, etc.”

Asian success has many origins. Chinese entrepreneurship (which is quite real) is just one. Japan is notoriously bureaucratic (and less entrepreneurial) and very successful anyway.

9 ChrisA October 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Japan’s the odd one out in Asia with perhaps Singapore and HongKong also not typical. If you remove the labels China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam (those are the ones I know well) all have the same dynamic. Very entrepreneurial at one level, people offering all sorts of personal services, a myriad of shops, restaurants, builders etc, but incredibly moribund and corrupt state bureaucracies. It is a real paradox. Many of these countries are fully democratic or at least partially so, but they don’t seem to be able to get decent governments.

10 wiki October 22, 2015 at 10:35 am

It has elements of both now, but in Kasparov’s typology, it certainly evolved from a purely left wing system under Mao and still uses some of that ideology to justify its existence. Ditto for Russia under Putin. The bureaucracies built up by communist states and their methods of indoctrination seem to make it harder to transition to liberal democratic capitalism. Or at least that is the plausible — but certainly unproven — claim of Kasparov.

11 honkie please October 22, 2015 at 12:14 am

Unrelated riddle: What costs $300k and has a resale value of zero?

Answer: A diploma from a California public (lolz!) law school. “The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Boalt for the 2013-2014 academic year is $73,933.50 for California residents and $77,884.50 for non-residents. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $291,462 for residents and $296,910 for non-residents.” (wiki)

12 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 1:48 am

What’s priceless, and has a resale value of zero?

Lifelong learning.

13 Jeff R. October 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

See the sad thing about a guy like you, is in about 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a ****in’ education you coulda’ got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.

14 Nigel October 22, 2015 at 10:50 am

And maybe in that time you’ll develop a degree of civility ?

15 Texan October 22, 2015 at 10:56 am

Please give Will Hunting his due…

16 Jeff R. October 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

You did it for me!

Besides, I thought it worked better without the citation.

17 Gochujang October 22, 2015 at 11:19 am

I don’t think Nathan excluded the library at all, if fact with “lifelong learning” went beyond credentials.

18 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

And here I thought there was some value in studying Adam Smith and JS Mill straight from his own lips, by intergenerational telephone. Hey, did you know that the “hidden hand” stuff is an almost completely inconsequential part of Smith’s broader writings?

Haha, sounds like someone who’s never been to uni and thinks it’s all leftist brainwashing. I learned to challenge EVERYTHING there, and moreover, how to put it on paper in credible form.

And I double down on what everyone else said. The point wasn’t about the value of an elite education, it was about the value of lifelong learning. Too bad most unis don’t allow public access to the stacks any more …

19 Nick Danger October 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

“I learned to challenge EVERYTHING there…”

Nonsense: that is not evenly vaguely possible. You learned to parrot the phrase “I learned to challenge everything.”

20 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm

The point is signalling and networking.

21 datroof jackson October 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

“I learned to challenge EVERYTHING there.” Ridiculous statement, but I do enjoy the thought of him shouting objections to calculus.

22 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm

That could be a deep thought: maybe learning to challenge everything isn’t a good idea.

23 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Nick – I don’t mean literally challenging every idea that exists (most of which I remain completely unaware of), I mean maintaining a skeptical attitude at all times and being prepared with intellectual tools to do so in a sensible manner. Presented with a new piece of information of new form or argumentation, being able to simultaneously give it potential credit but remain skeptical. I don’t understand why you would adopt such a condescending attitude. I’m not parroting anything.

Horhe – That’s a popular theory among some circles in economics. It seems to get a decent hearing, but some people major in things where their education is actually critical to their work. I would be unable to be competitive in the work I do today without the education I had.

datroof – haha, OK, the way you put it it’s actually kind of funny. It really depends what you study. I don’t challenge calculus as in the mathematical identities themselves, but with a background including engineering and economics, you sure have to be willing to challenge calculus. It can provide you with convenient fictions to help model things, but you cannot allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that it is a prefect representation of reality.

24 mkt42 October 23, 2015 at 1:53 am

“I do enjoy the thought of him shouting objections to calculus.”

I actually did sit in on a class that was about constructivist mathematics, which rejects the use of proof by contradiction (indirect proofs), i.e. which rejects all of mathematics, including calculus, until someone has created a constructivist proof.

25 TEP October 26, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Like Terrence Howard, you gotta stay woke on those mathematics.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/terrence-howard-not-understand-math-article-1.2360225

26 agra brum October 22, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Ignores networking that is gained through joint attendance at such an institution, and credentialism. Good luck getting a law license or top tier job with a public library education (the license without the school would require some apprenticeship, which is unusual)

27 Nathan W October 23, 2015 at 3:01 am

At one stage I had considered trying to self-study to prepare for the bar in the jurisdiction I was living in, to avoid the $100,000 or so cost of the 2-years of study at law school, but in that jurisdiction you are not allowed to sit the bar without formally passing law school.

These sort of barriers seem unreasonable, but are not uncommon.

28 Gochujang October 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

Hardly a typical case. Our main problem today is people lured into bachelor’s degrees they cannot finish, ending with debt and no credential.

Also, anyone should be able to leverage a completed law degree.

29 The Anti-Gnostic October 22, 2015 at 11:50 am

Depends on how much you paid for it, your class rank, your ability to be presentable, have good business sense, and be a rainmaker.

30 datroof jackson October 22, 2015 at 1:02 pm

“Also, anyone should be able to leverage a completed law degree.”

This is completely and utterly amiss. Law schools regularly lie about employment prospects and results, and the situation was bad enough before public law schools started charging private-school prices.

31 Gochujang October 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Even if you only leverage it into an entry-level position at a local bank, the value should not be “zero.”

32 datroof jackson October 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Correct. Factor in three years of lost earnings plus debt servicing costs and it could be less than zero.

33 Ray Lopez October 22, 2015 at 12:17 am

I thought Kasparov’s book was out for a while now…I guess not.

Kasparov wrote a six volume treatise on chess greats, that I have, but I ‘m not into his political books. Seems everybody knows Putin runs a dictatorship and when times are good the people love it; it’s the traditional Russian love of the strongman (Ivan Terrible, Peter Great, Kathy Great, Joe Stalin come to mind).

34 Boris_Badenoff October 22, 2015 at 12:49 am

But times are good in Russia, except for the oligarchs, it’s a kleptocracy that passed a 3-year budget last year depending on oil averaging over $100/bbl. Kasparov has been working on the ground there since before he retired when FIDE wouldn’t seed him into a title match.

35 enoriverbend October 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

Not sure what you mean exactly by ‘times are good’.

Russian average income barely beats Greece and doesn’t quite match Slovenia. The bottom 20% live on an estimated USD $5900 a year.

Better than it has been in the past, I’ll grant.

36 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:35 am

Russia does not have hideous and unsustainable debt, or hideous unemployment. Its economic trajectory has been one of rapid improvement for fifteen years or more.

37 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Russia’s GDP per worker has fallen behind that of the U.S. in the past three years.

Russian average income does not beat Greece and is nowhere close to that of Slovenia (the richest post-Communist country). And $5900 is not “the bottom 20%”; it’s much more than that. More like the bottom 30 or 40%.

38 enoriverbend October 24, 2015 at 11:27 pm

@E. Hardy

My numbers are from the OECD Better Life Index. You may have an alternate source you prefer….

39 DJF October 22, 2015 at 8:58 am

“””””Putin runs a dictatorship”””

Yet if there were elections today Putin would probably get the highest vote count of any leader in Europe or North America.

In the latest election in Canada the Liberals did not even get 40% of the vote even though they ‘won”

40 Vertical Driver October 22, 2015 at 9:04 am

Popular elections don’t mean that a government isn’t a dictatorship. A democratic dictatorship is legitimate concept.

A country being a “dictatorship” is based on the unlimited power that the chief executive wields.

41 DJF October 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

Such as the American president deciding not to enforce immigration laws or to bomb Libya without Congressional approval.

And similar things by various leaders in Europe and North Ameirca

42 Vertical Driver October 22, 2015 at 10:48 am

Yes. Being a dictator is not zero-sum. The aspiring dictatorship of the US President does in no way diminish the dictatorship of Putin. Dictators regularly find themselves in conflict.

43 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:19 am

Russia has had a vigorous economic recovery on his watch and a partial demographic recovery. Also, Putin behaves like a man who knows who his mob is. Occidental political leadership is very uneven in that regard. Victor Orban of Hungary knows who his mob is, as does Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is now modal for western leaders to side with their class in society against the working people in their own countries. A gross example of that would be the head case currently employed as Governor of Minnesota:

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/3860965-dayton-minnesotans-who-cant-accept-immigrants-should-find-another-state

or this candidate for tarring and feathering

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-18519395

44 The Original D October 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Why is the Minn governor a head case? He’s basically making a libertarian argument about labor mobility.

45 So Much For Subtlety October 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm

No he isn’t. He is forgetting who employs him. You don’t tell your boss that if he doesn’t like your performance, he can find some other company to work for.

Minn is doing the usual liberal thing of expressing how disappointed he is in the idiots who elected him and how they will have to work harder to regain his trust. That utterly upends the usual relationship between governed and government in a democracy.

46 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Scott Johnson on Mark Dayton:

The nonfeasance of the Minnesota media is notable. Mark Dayton is a profoundly flawed candidate. He is an alcoholic who, by his own account, has been through treatment twice, the second time only a few years ago. Dayton’s second round of treatment was occasioned by a relapse that occurred while he was serving in office as Senator. Dayton is also a man with chronic mental health issues that, also by his own account, require regular medication. According to Dayton, his mental health issues relate to depression, but one would have to be a fool to take his word that depression is the only mental health issue Dayton struggles with. Do you suppose it would make sense to ask for a look at his medical records before he is elected to high office again, this time in an executive capacity? To put it charitably, the Minnesota media are Dayton’s fool.

47 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

He’s not making any sort of libertarian argument. He’s lobbing insults at Minnesota’s white population. Some of the controversy involves Somali immigrants, who have low rates of labor force participation, making his insult nonsensical.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/10/minnesotas-governor-delivers-race-rant-on-immigration.php

48 Aaron Luchko October 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm

And that is how you can tell it’s a dictatorship.

The press has very little freedom to criticize Putin or point out his failings, opposition members are very restricted in how they can campaign against him, and even ordinary Russians are afraid to speak out because they know the law won’t protect them if someone decides to defend Putin’s reputation by carrying out retribution. Of course he gets 80-90% approval, all that really means is the state is in control and ordinary people endorse the status quo.

In Canada everyone is free to criticize or run against the sitting government, so everyone does.

This is relevant when you throw a wrench into the system. The Canadian system is very resilient because all the disagreements are already open and there’s a built in mechanism for losing power, I don’t think a full western democracy has ever fallen to another system.

Russia however… who knows how ordinary Russians really feel. If something happens to destabilize things and people start sharing their grievances then that 80-90% might drop to 10-20% in a matter of weeks and lead to a coup or revolution.

49 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm

All valid points, though I would point out that the West isn’t very free either, if the right to criticize the government, its policies and your fellow man comes at a cost to your livelihood and social standing. The sacred cows have been multiplying exponentially. Soon enough, people with the wrong ideas will be committed to the insane asylum and be given magnet therapy.

50 E. Harding October 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

“The press has very little freedom to criticize Putin or point out his failings, opposition members are very restricted in how they can campaign against him, and even ordinary Russians are afraid to speak out because they know the law won’t protect them if someone decides to defend Putin’s reputation by carrying out retribution.”

-Sounds a lot like Singapore; only somewhat like Russia. Last time I’ve heard, New Gazette is still operating. As late as 2013, Russia used to have an overtly pro-Western news agency.

51 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Everybody loves a strongman, it’s not just the Russians. The difference is in whether a country’s elites are centrifugal or centripetal, whether they are strongman compliant or not. US elites are not.

52 Dots October 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

Russia has a lot of hi quality human capital and some competitive tech industries and a lot of oil and nuclear weapons and a political culture that is not so foreign to EM

the bad things that they’re doing don’t seem injurious to the US

I don’t c what the US can do to injure Russia without taking big risks

the reformers screwed up. or maybe the US screwed the reformers by failing to bail out transitional Russia

what with our nation-building in this century and our contribution to peeling some semblance of civilization off of Africa in the 20th century, I don’t know that we’re less dangerous and unpredictable than Russia

53 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 2:03 am

“I don’t know that we’re less dangerous and unpredictable than Russia”

World survey says that the USA is (perceived as) the greatest threat to world peace: http://nypost.com/2014/01/05/us-is-the-greatest-threat-to-world-peace-poll/

54 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:33 am

So what? Lots of idiots in this world.

55 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Perceptions matter.

56 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Yeah, until they need the USA to do something.

Its a complete joke.

Look at Syria…all those groups demanding Obama act (and they believed his schtick until it was proven wrong.)

Even now you see them blaming America.

Syria is messed up due ethno-religious sectarianism that started before America even existed.

57 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Why is there a conflict in Syria? Could it be related to US invasion of Iraq? Could it be related to the Arab Spring, widely believed to have been supported by (ooooohhh conspiracies) the CIA, etc. (na, CIA neeever does stuff like supports revolutions, coups, etc.)?

Re: Syria: outside of the USA, I don’t think you get a lot of people blaming the USA for staying out.

When’s the last time the US intervened somewhere that they were actually asked to help out, and at the same time had played no role at all in the origins of the conflict?

I think the world would be a worse place if the US were to unilaterally declare that it was going to stay home and not do anything anywhere, but there are reasons that people have these opinions.

58 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

You actually do get a lot of complaints about the USA for staying out in Syria -from the Syrian rebels.

59 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Art, that’s ridiculous. Russia is far less dangerous and more predictable than the U.S. and NATO.

60 msgkings October 22, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Tell that to the passengers on Malaysian Air Flight MH17. Your Putin toady act is sad and tiresome.

61 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Tell that to the passengers on Iran Flight 665. Or the thousands of civilian war dead in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.

62 Minority Bolshevism October 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Does that “World survey” qualify as statistics?

Keep in mind that “is” is not really equivalent to “perceived as”.
Of course, this depends on what the “meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Finally, do you think that the USA is the greatest threat to world peace?

63 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Today? Absolutely. Beyond doubt. Next, Turkey, then, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Distantly, China and Iran. Then, even more distantly, North Korea and Russia. Then, Indonesia. In last place, Brazil.

64 Cahokia October 22, 2015 at 12:49 am

Kasparov should have published that aborted book with Peter Thiel and Max Levchin.

65 RR October 22, 2015 at 1:17 am

Kasparov may be good in chess, but I wouldn’t trust the judgement of anyone who pushes such spectacular gobbledygook as Fomenko’s New Chronology.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Chronology_(Fomenko)

Sample quote: “Fomenko claims the Hagia Sophia is actually the biblical Temple of Solomon. He identifies Solomon as sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494–1566). He claims that historical Jesus may have been born in 1152 and was crucified around AD 1185 on the hill overlooking the Bosphorus.”

Kasparov’s role: “Fomenko’s historical ideas have been universally rejected by mainstream scholars, who brand them as pseudoscience,[30] but were popularized by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.[31][32][33] Billington writes that the theory ‘might have quietly blown away in the wind tunnels of academia’ if not for Kasparov’s writing in support of it in the magazine Ogoniok…”

66 Moreno Klaus October 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

Hey is Russia’s answer to Tom Cruise!!!!!! 🙂

67 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

China is more right wing than the USA in many respects.

No medicare. No welfare (but very small state pensions). The state’s role in the economy has declined significantly in recent decades whereas in the USA this is not the case. To open a small business in China, one only needs a few hundred dollars, purchase some basic cooking implements, and open shop without bothering about excessive red tape. Same goes for small merchants (barrier to entry is even lower). Essentially no illegal immigration, and very very high constraints for legal immigration. Extremely low income taxes. In short, you can check off boxes that number among primary right wing complaints about left wing policy.

I make this point to undermine the claim that “right-wing autocracies have a much better track record of emerging from political repression and achieving democratic and economic success. Chile, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan”. In many respects, China is more right wing. But, you may counterargue, the state has not divested itself of its SOEs. But, I counterargue, it is the direction of change, not the absolute situation, that tells you whether the leadership is left or right wing – you cannot change everything overnight.

China is communist in name only.

A completely different line of argumentation is that China and Russia don’t fit into left-right dichotomies. They practice state capitalism, not communism.

68 So Much For Subtlety October 22, 2015 at 3:57 am

Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

The state’s role in the economy has declined significantly in recent decades whereas in the USA this is not the case. To open a small business in China, one only needs a few hundred dollars, purchase some basic cooking implements, and open shop without bothering about excessive red tape.

The state’s share of the economy may or may not be shrinking, but the state’s role in the economy is not. Moreover the state’s *claims* are not shrinking. Chinese people have no property rights. It is actually quite hard to legally open a business in China. It is just that everyone is ignoring the law.

In many respects, China is more right wing.

Only if you cherry pick a few mainly irrelevant factoids.

But, I counterargue, it is the direction of change, not the absolute situation, that tells you whether the leadership is left or right wing – you cannot change everything overnight.

They have had thirty years to free farmers from collective serfdom. They have not done so. They simply ignore them breaking the law. They have had thirty years to reject Marxism. They have not done so.

They practice state capitalism, not communism.

As if the term had any meaning.

69 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm

State’s role in the economy – Defined by number of enterprises in the economy, asset share in the economy, and epmloyment share in the economy, the role of SOEs in the economy continues to decline significantly: http://tomjconley.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-significant-is-state-owned-sector.html

Chinese and property rights – there is no land ownership per se, all land is owned by various levels of government of the state. But 70-year leases are 100% secure, and traditional landholdings from communist times continue to be respected (although my understanding is that village leaders in many places still retain the right to reallocate things once in a while to reflect family size, etc.). This is not traditional property rights according to the Western perspective, but for all the normal economic reasons, such as the ability to establish collateral, etc., it does the job just fine.

” It is actually quite hard to legally open a business in China. It is just that everyone is ignoring the law.” – On this count you are quite right. I can tell you from personal experience.

Cherrypicking – Yes, I’m cherrypicking and that’s exactly how I presented it. But a high place for personal responsibility, major ease of opening small business, very very low income taxation, a near absence of welfare and a very limited public health care are hardly “irrelevant factoids”. Your average Republican politician would see themselves as a great hero if they could accomplish any two of these (none of which I support in a highly developed country, incidentally).

serfdom – The farmers haven’t been serfs since 1949. The whole point of Maoism especially in the earlier days was to end the serfdom, take the land from the wealthy land holders, and distribute among the population. Due to the nature of taxation and collective land management, I guess you could argue the case that they still lived in pretty serf-like conditions, but the household responsibility system put an end to this in no uncertain terms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household-responsibility_system for an extremely brief overview.

State capitalism: The wikipedia definition seems pretty good. “State capitalism is usually described as an economic system in which commercial (i.e. for-profit) economic activity is undertaken by the state, where the means of production are organized and managed as business enterprises, including the processes of capital accumulation, wage labor, and centralized management.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_capitalism. This is Leninist, and not in any way at all Marxist, which presumably assumed something more along the line of evolving into worker collectives, with no need for any state apparatus whatsoever.

70 So Much For Subtlety October 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm

State’s role in the economy – Defined by number of enterprises in the economy, asset share in the economy, and epmloyment share in the economy, the role of SOEs in the economy continues to decline significantly

Which is the cherry picking. Denmark has private fire fighting companies and ambulances but it is still a socialist country.

Chinese and property rights – there is no land ownership per se, all land is owned by various levels of government of the state. But 70-year leases are 100% secure

So no landownership at all? Not very right wing is it? The leases are not remotely secure as the State or its cronies can and do take anything they want, whenever they want it. These days they toss in a little more compensation than they used to, but a large part of local government’s revenue is still the difference between the land they sell developers and the token compensation they give the former owners.

and traditional landholdings from communist times continue to be respected (although my understanding is that village leaders in many places still retain the right to reallocate things once in a while to reflect family size, etc.).

You are either wrong or spectacularly wrong. What do you mean traditional landholdings? You mean all those landlords still own their own land? Virtually no Chinese people own the land their ancestors are buried on because the State took everything, shook it all up and then gave some random part back decades later.

This is not traditional property rights according to the Western perspective, but for all the normal economic reasons, such as the ability to establish collateral, etc., it does the job just fine.

Chinese farmers cannot take out loans on their land. As they do not own it.

But a high place for personal responsibility, major ease of opening small business, very very low income taxation, a near absence of welfare and a very limited public health care are hardly “irrelevant factoids”. Your average Republican politician would see themselves as a great hero if they could accomplish any two of these (none of which I support in a highly developed country, incidentally).

I don’t hear of any Republicans praising Detroit. Where the Black market is not the same size as China’s, but otherwise shares most of those features.

The farmers haven’t been serfs since 1949. The whole point of Maoism especially in the earlier days was to end the serfdom, take the land from the wealthy land holders, and distribute among the population.

Only as a preliminary step to reducing them to collective farmers, that is, serfs. China had no serfdom in 1949 outside a few far West minority areas. Mao re-introduced it. So there was no serfdom for him to end.

Due to the nature of taxation and collective land management, I guess you could argue the case that they still lived in pretty serf-like conditions, but the household responsibility system put an end to this in no uncertain terms

So Chinese farmers have gone from working on slave gangs like the Old South, to working as Russian serfs used to – free to grow what they like but tied to the land. It happens the government ignores the serfs moving off the land, but in theory serfs they are.

71 Nathan W October 23, 2015 at 3:29 am

SOEs and cherrypicking – this is not cherrypicking. It’s macroeconomic data. SOEs used to account for over 30% of production, now they account for barely more than 10% of production. That’s not negligible, that’s revolutionary.

Property rights – points well taken, but 2 things. Rural farmers can sell (the rights for lease of the land plus net improved value of) their houses, but not the farmland. As for leases not being secure, this is generally untrue. The collective property rights especially of farmland, etc. are not secure and governments routinely claim land that has long been used by some party or another, but once you have a land lease this is protected by law. What you say still has relevance in certain rural areas with corrupt officials, but in the cities (excluding rural areas formally within the limits of the jurisdiction of a given municipal government), leases are very secure.

Traditional landholdings – the communal ones, pre-lease era, where post-HRS you get access to a number of plots where you are responsible for your own inputs, sales, etc. I’m not talking about pre-1949, I’m talking about pre-HRS.

loans, collateral – sorry, you’re right about the farms, which are collectively owned by the village (but higher levels of government often claim jurisdiction when they want to). I’m referring to housing.

serfs – again, the whole points of (early) Maoism was to end the quasi-feudal reality of wealthy land-owning and masses of poor farmers. That was his primary recruitment tool. Land redistribution and freedom from quasi-feudal conditions. You can argue what you want about whether it was serf-like conditions during Mao (the very high rice requisitions, etc. might agree with this line of thinking), but this is not at all the case any more.

slave gangs – I’ve never heard anything about Chinese peasants being physically abused to make them work harder. The abuse was related to political dissent, etc. Moreover, in the present day, while hukou formally ties them to certain land holdings in a sense, nothing is stopping them from getting on a train and going to the cities.

In short, in most cases we’re both sort of right, but emphasizing different things and using different language, which I assume to reflect approval/disapproval on whether things have been moving in a positive direction. Also, it’s a really big country, not nearly as monolithic as a lot of people assume, so there are plenty of cases of contradictions which are not mutually exclusive because many levels of government do, in fact, exercise the ability to make or emphasize different practices.

72 Ignacio October 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

China is not necessarily more tright wing than the US due to its lack of regulation or lack of a safety net. It is simply a poor country, which generally lack these things because of lack of a well-developed state. It is easy to prohibit private enterprise (it does not take too big of a government to do that), but once you allow it, it is difficult to regulate (you need a lot of sophisticated bureaucrats) so -in the areas where private enterprise is allowed-, it is not regulated too much.

I would imagine that these characteristics are also present in countries such as Bolivia or Haiti, but you would not date call them “right wing”. China would be “right wing” if they believed in prioritizing the private sector over the public sector, which definitely is not the case.

73 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm

“in many respects”. I didn’t intend for it to come across as “China is in general more right wing”.

You raise very fair points all across. The state administrative capacity is significantly improving. In areas of the welfare state, many policy experiments are currently going on in pensions and health care access in different regions, with a view to broadening the system.

But one of the defining feature of right wing politics, personal responsibility, with little additional state support, is very much alive and well in China. Low income taxes also feature heavily here.

74 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm

“The graph shows the per capita annual income of urban households in China until 2013. In 2011, annual income of urban households amounted to 23,980 yuan.”

this has a 25% tax bracket.

Is this “low tax?”

China also has a VAT, and a ton of business taxes. These make up the bulk of the revenue.

Yes, taxing businesses “very right wing.”

Next you will explain how SOE are right wing, and so are communist party flags.

75 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Huh. I make about five times that for some part time work and pay about 5% tax. Ten years ago I spent a year working in China and at the end of the year my total tax bill came to about $60.

The VAT is new since last time I was working here, I didn’t know about that (just double checked online). I doubt that very many business actually charge it, as China remains an almost entirely cash economy, but point well taken.

I’m also not sure about business taxes. Maybe there’s something on the books, but I’m not sure that very many business actually pay these taxes.

No, SOEs are not right wing.

76 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Anyways, my point was not in any way to suggest anything like “hey, China’s pretty right wing”, rather, it was to suggest something more like “there are some features of China which are arguably right wing-ish”.

77 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm

“without bothering about excessive red tape.”

Do you have experience with this?

Because I’ve seen such craziness as a strip of small restaurants arbritarily being ordered to take down their signs because they don’t comply with this or that rule…or more likely somebody’s cousin opened a sign shop.

There’s only one cement license and one electroplating license per area, so those can be given to high up people.

and Taiwanese companies will tell you the state never, ever lets up on compliance for bribes.

Oh, and have you ever had to apply for an export license for cardboard boxes? China makes exporters apply for licenses for all the products they might sell, including estimated quantities annually. If you forgot something…good luck!

Spare cardboard boxes were requested by our customer…we couldn’t oblige because we hadn’t applied for a license for those.

Methinks you have experience mainly wandering around China in some expat situation and assuming its easy to do business because you see people doing business rather than actually doing business there.

78 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Small business, not larger businesses. Larger businesses had so much red tape you need to hire an expert to walk you through it. I’m thinking of the underground economy, which is huge in China. The streets are lined with people selling all manner of manufactures, textiles and foodstuffs. That’s small business (very small) and easily tens of millions of Chinese are involved in such businesses every day.

signs – Haha, more likely someone’s cousin opened a sign shop.

I’ve spent three years in China. Again, I’m talking about small business, not export regulations, cement factories and the like.

79 msgkings October 22, 2015 at 2:32 am

Wow, that first paragraph was seriously awesome. Thanks for the tip.

80 The Devil's Dictionary October 22, 2015 at 2:52 am

Putin is a small enemy of freedom. The real and dangerous enemy is Merkel.

81 MOFO. October 22, 2015 at 9:15 am

Why?

82 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Population replacement, dereliction of duty, disloyalty to the oath she took (do the pols take oaths in Germany?), infringement of the rights of her people to property, safety, community, posterity etc etc I can get more florid, but the fact is that the woman, for reasons known only to herself, is irrevocably changing Germany, and not for the better.

83 Todd Kreider October 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

My 2000 prediction was that democracy would come to China by 2015. Apparently, this hasn’t happened, but when asking several future “China experts” at a top university (a.k.a. China related grad students) in 2000, all said either 2050 or never.

So which will be closer, my 2015 (two months left) or their 2050 or never?

84 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:52 am

The latter.

85 Mike W October 22, 2015 at 8:51 am

History would favor the former as all the known alternatives have failed. The latter depends on the creation of some as yet unimagined alternative like, for example, Confucian Socialism.

86 Diana Briggs October 22, 2015 at 3:49 am

According to the Russians I’ve met, Kasparov’s reputation is that he prefers speaking to foreign reporters in English over speaking to Russians in Russian. Even if they fundamentally agree with him about Putin, Kasparov’s decades of showboating have eroded his clout.

I see Kasparov as invoking a distinctly Russian historical malaise going back to Dostoyevsky and perhaps earlier. Why, many Russian intellectuals have pondered, is Russia so reliably and uniquely autocratic and/or backward? If you study Russian history, you will run into this question over and over again. You will also see lots of people turning this observation on its head and interpreting it as the foundation of Russian exceptionalism, as a sign that Russia is truly a place apart from either Europe or Asia with its own special destiny, one in which rule by a strongman isn’t necessarily at odds with the greater good. The latter certainly appears to me to be Putin’s interpretation.

87 Steve Sailer October 22, 2015 at 5:38 am

Unlike Britain or America, Russia has little in the way of natural defenses. So the chief lesson of history has been that victory goes to whomever can get the biggest state together and keep it together. Putin appeals to Russians because he acts like he understands that.

88 Steve Sailer October 22, 2015 at 5:40 am

That’s also more or less the lesson Chinese history.

89 Bliksem October 22, 2015 at 5:59 am

“Unlike Britain or America, Russia has little in the way of natural defenses”

Those long cold winters are not a natural defense? Tell that to the succession of Swedish, French, and German soldiers who found themselves battling frostbite, frozen up firearms, restricted mobility, inadequate shelter, etc etc…

90 ET October 22, 2015 at 6:49 am

I don’t think a Russian would agree with you. Mountains and rivers are considered natural defenses because they make it hard for the enemy to ever get in.

Winter can only kill the enemy after they’re inside your country, killing and conquering Russians. Consider the casualties Russia suffered before the French and Germans left. Winter is hardly a defense the Russians can take comfort in. It’s more revenge than defense. Moreover, Russia’s oldest enemies, steppe tribes, were used to dealing with winter without access to buildings to shelter in.

91 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

” It’s more revenge than defense. ” – lol, knowing the Russian sense of humour, I imagine that no small number of laughs have been shared on such counts.

92 Peter Akuleyev October 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

Russia had no natural defenses against the Mongols. Even the Poles were able to take Moscow and humiliate Russia. It wasn’t until Peter that Russia really managed to defend itself effectively, which in historical terms was plenty of centuries to develop a paranoid attitude. Russia also lost pretty convincingly in WWI, which people tend to forget. Only Germany’s collapse on the Western Front saved them from real humiliation.

93 Joël October 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

True. Except that one could argue that Brest-Litovsk was a real humiliation, and not a small one.

94 Peter Schaeffer October 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm

All,

Russia has been able to defeat numerous invaders (Nevsky, Peter the Great, Alexander I, Stalin), but that is exactly the point. Russia border’s have never been strong enough to prevent the invasions in the first place. Britain has the channel which has kept out enemies since 1066. The U.S. has two vast oceans. Russia has land borders that are mostly quite flat. Russia’s paranoia about invasion is well rooted in Russian history.

95 ad October 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm

If the Channel is such a great national defence,how come it did not stop Edward III or Henry V going the other way? Why did the Irish Sea not protect Ireland? Why did the North Sea not stop the Vikings?

Historically, it has usually been easier to move things by water than by land. An island effectively borders on, and can be invaded by, every other country with a coastline. Britains defence was the Navy, not the Channel.

Russia can lose several battles on its frontiers, and still survive. As in 1941. Britain (1066), France (1940) and Germany (1945) cannot. They can survive a draw, but not a defeat.

96 Peter Schaeffer October 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm

ad,

“If the Channel is such a great national defence,how come it did not stop Edward III or Henry V going the other way? Why did the Irish Sea not protect Ireland? Why did the North Sea not stop the Vikings?”

The Channel gave England the luxury of sending armies abroad to intervene in Europe’s affairs, with little fear of invasion as a consequence. Would England been able to invade a united Europe (or even a united France) across the Channel? Of course not. Had Europe (or even just France) been as united as England, the Channel would have served as a bidirectional barrier. However, given the political conditions in England vs. the continent, the Channel operated as a one-way barrier.

The U.S. and Europe have worked the same way. The Atlantic has been an absolute barrier to a European invasion of the U.S. since the war of 1812. However, that has never prevented U.S. interventions in Europe (notably aided by a large island off the coast of Europe). If Europe had been as united as the USA, the Atlantic would have been an absolute barrier to invasion in both directions. Given American unity, European conflict, and the large friendly island off the coast of Europe, it has been relatively easy for the U.S. to intervene in Europe.

The Irish Sea has never protected Ireland because Ireland was (historically) too small (in land area and population), too poor, and too fragmented to resist foreign invasion. To put this in perspective, a completely united Europe probably could have invaded and conquered the UK many times over. However, Europe has never had the unity and motivation to do so.

The North Sea didn’t need to stop the Vikings. They were raiders, not conquerors. Apparently, parts of Ireland did fall to the Vikings. Once, again Ireland’s small population, poverty, and lack of internal unity made it vulnerable.

97 Dots October 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm

one should mention that modern states with radar, highway, railroad are able to defend wet borders a lot more successfully than premodern civilizations could defend against vikings, pirates etc, ’cause in the old days coverage of the coast from the land was actually slower, less agile than selective arrival on a ship

98 Peter Schaeffer October 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

ad,

“Historically, it has usually been easier to move things by water than by land.”

Goods? Yes. Armies? No. Marching an army 30 miles is not that big a deal. Crossing the Channel is.

99 Axa October 22, 2015 at 6:29 am

Some should explain to Putin the military theory behind buffer states. You don’t conquer them, you just support them and fight on their land to avoid fighting in yours.

100 Peter Akuleyev October 22, 2015 at 7:41 am

Putin gets that. Why do you think he has not incorporated Eastern Ukraine, Abhkhazia and Trans-dniester into Russia? No one is fighting in Russia proper right now.

101 Peter Schaeffer October 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Axa, Peter Akuleyev,

I think Putin understands the concept of buffer states rather well. There is a story circulating that Bush (41) made a deal with Gorbachev where Gorbachev agreed to let the nations of Eastern Europe become truly independent politically (internal democracy) and economically (free to join the EU) in exchange for them remaining military buffer states (no NATO expansion). Apparently, Clinton and Bush (43) decided to exploit Russian weakness after 1990 by reneging on this deal and expanding NATO east.

According to this version of events, our problems with Russia are materially a consequence of U.S. (and European) violations of the deal Bush and Gorbachev made more than 20 years ago.

To the best of my knowledge the story outlined above is true and we (the U.S. and Europe) should have exactly enforced the original agreement. Using Eastern Europe as a Russian buffer zone isn’t ideal. However, Gorbachev was willing to give the former Warsaw pact nations both internal democracy and economic freedom (which some of them have used rather well). Foregoing NATO expansion to maintain stability in Europe was a good deal 20+ years ago. We should have stuck with it.

102 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 1:11 pm

An article that might interest you, for its brushes against HBD and a very good theory of development.

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/struggle-europe-mankind/

“Furthermore, not only is Westernization “extremely difficult and hemmed in by obstacles”, but is also a “thankless undertaking”, since all indigenous inventions, as well as most mixtures of Romano-Germanic and indigenous traditions, will be rejected by Europe because of their taint-by-association with non-European values.

One consequence of this is that a Westernizing nation “borrows its evaluation of culture from the Romano-Germans”. Cultural imports will always exceed cultural exports, creating a dependency relationship. And these cultural imports must always be implemented, regardless of how jarring or unwholesome is the resultant clash with indigenous traditions – “it must accept without protest everything that genuine Romano-Germans create and consider valuable, even if it conflicts with its national psychology and is poorly understood”. (This basically defines Russia’s unsuccessful attempts to create a Western free-market economy in the early 1990′s, which was carried out by ideologues and hijacked by insiders).

This has several very deleterious consequences. First, national unity degrades and there arise intense class conflicts and genealogical struggles in the Westernizing nations because of the big differences between various social groups in their degree of Westernization – “social, material and professional differences are much greater in Europeanized nations than in Romano-Germanic nations precisely because ethnographic and cultural distinctions have been added to them”. (Again, one could cite as an example the culturally ultra-stratified Tsarist class system).

The destruction of national unity and belief in oneself leads to a national inferiority complex – because the standard of comparison is with the West, and because the Europeanized nation is in a constant state of cultural backwardness, this results in low levels of social morale and lack of patriotism. The unfortunate nation is either dominated by, or is forced to take up a subordinate, dependent position relative to the Romano-Germanic nations – even though the latter aren’t really as good or talented as they present themselves.

Not only do intense attempts to catch up with the West result in permanent, self-reinforcing backwardness (because their powers of indigenous innovation are hemmed in by structural obstacles, hence their forced spiritual dependency on the West), but they are also looked down upon by Westerners – either a) for not Europeanizing far enough, or b) deceitfully repressing their “true nature” under a European veneer.This simultaneous outreach towards the West, and the West’s rejection of it, evokes a tendency in the Europeanized nation to sporadically overcompensate by making leaps into the future in Sisyphean attempts to overtake the West, but this only leads to exhaustion and long periods of stagnation.

Europeanized nations, finding it impossible to keep pace with the Romano-Germans and so gradually falling behind, try to catch up from time to time by attempting long leaps. Such leaps distort the entire course of historical development. A nation must cover very quickly a distance that the Romano-Germans covered gradually and over a much longer period of time. It must skip several historical rungs and create overnight, ex abrupto, what arose in Romano-Germanic nations as a result of a “series of historical changes”. The consequences of such “leaping” evolution are terrible. Every leap is followed by a period of apparent (from the European standpoint) stagnation, when it is necessary to bring order to the culture, to coordinate the results achieved by a leap in a particular area with other elements of the culture. During this period of “stagnation”, the nation again falls even farther behind. The histories of Europeanized nations are always characterized by brief periods of apparent “progress”, alternating with more or less protracted periods of “stagnation”. In destroying the wholeness and the unbroken incrementalism of the historical process, such historical leaps also disrupt tradition, which is already fragile in a Europeanized nation.

Let us emphasize: unbroken tradition is a prerequisite for normal evolution. Leaps and jumps create a temporary illusion that the “common European level of civilization” has been achieved, but they cannot advance a nation in the true sense of the word. Leaping evolution wastes national energies, which are already overburdened owing to the very existence of Europeanization. Just as a person who, in trying to keep pace with a speedier companion, will become exhausted and collapse after resorting to long jumps to catch up, so a Europeanized nation will perish after choosing such an evolutionary path and squandering there its national energies. And all of this will happen while faith in oneself is lost, and without the sustaining sense of national unity which was destroyed long before by the fact of Europeanization.Using Russia as an example, the red Bolsheviks – as well as their rabidly free-market, pro-Western Bolshevik descendants, the Russian liberals – are excellent illustrations of this entire phenomenon. Both tried their best to leap into the future of the West, which was perceived to be socialism in 1918, and free-market utopia in 1991 – yet both failed and were destined to fail because of the deep conflict between these Western values and indigenous Russian traditions.”

103 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm

It discusses the writing of a Russian linguist, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, who has been dead for a hundred years, so those are not the blog writer’s words.

104 ET October 22, 2015 at 6:39 am

For what it is worth, Russia’s penchant for tyrants doesn’t begin until after the Mongolian conquests wiped out a large portion of its population. Before that its leaders were very constrained by city councils compared to just about every other society of the era.

After the Mongols ransacked its cities, the institutions that counterbalanced the nobility seized to exist. Add in another century or two of Mongol influence under the Golden Horde and the surviving nobles steadily adopted the traits of their conquerors as they learned how to push them out of the country, then go on to subjugate the steppe that had been Russia’s bane.

105 Horhe October 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Natural selection. Today’s Russians are different from those of yore.

106 Steve Sailer October 22, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Right.

I find Russia’s political culture of the last 500 years alien and foreboding. It’s not at all to my taste. But I also have some sense of why they are the way they are.

107 George Whorewell October 22, 2015 at 4:35 am

I certainly would not expect countries with Russia and China’s history and levels of economic development to be low corruption states, but if central authority is strong enough to create “a boot stamping on a human face forever” then I would also expect it to be strong enough to control and reduce corruption at the periphery. And I don’t really see this happening to any large or effective extent. I would also expect those near the very top to feel more secure in their positions and sock less money away overseas. But again that does not appear to be the case. I suspect what we may actually be looking at is a Red Queen race where the center is actually working like mad and using all the tools at its disposal just to stay where it is, rather than consolidating its position. I am not saying that things can’t get worse, but societies are changing, demographics are changing, and technology is changing; and so I don’t think we will see maintance of the status quo.

108 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:24 pm

And I don’t really see this happening to any large or effective extent.

-LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! Ookrayeena. Rossiya. Belarus. Which is least corrupt? Which is least corrupt at the periphery?

“And I don’t really see this happening to any large or effective extent. I would also expect those near the very top to feel more secure in their positions and sock less money away overseas.”

-Again, Belarus.

109 Los Ranchos October 22, 2015 at 5:20 am

Think about Kasparov’s first quote vis a vis lifting Iranian sanctions.

110 Moreno Klaus October 22, 2015 at 7:55 am

What is so bad about Iran compared to Saudi Arabia? “He is a bastard, but our bastard”…Basically is just a game of thrones, no morality lessons (these are just for your own propaganda).

111 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:31 am

Saudi Arabia is not stockpiling nuclear weapons in order to kill Jews.

112 Arjun October 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Saudi Arabia also doesn’t allow Jewish activity and has virtually no Jewish community to speak of (in contrast with Iran).

113 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Iran is not stockpiling nuclear weapons.

There’s also a big difference between wanting to change the lines on the map (not recognize Israel) and dedicating oneself to genocide.

Given how many Republicans have been itching for decades to attack Iran, it easy easy to understand why they would want the nuclear deterrent, however.

114 Bob from Ohio October 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

“There’s also a big difference between wanting to change the lines on the map (not recognize Israel) and dedicating oneself to genocide.”

Yeah, “God willing its obliteration is certain” is just a diplomatic non-recognition.

Is there no Muslim group/country whose threats and actions you will not just waive away?

115 Thiago Ribeiro October 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

“Is there no Muslim group/country whose threats and actions you will not just waive away?”
Many people ask this regarding the USA and the Persian Gulf theocracies. It is hard to take American agressions against Iran (or even the embargo against Cuba–a dictatorship, no doubt here) as principled when the USA actively support much more oppressive and dangerous regimes.

116 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Bob – your portrayal of the story gets plenty of press in the US. I don’t feel the need to represent it.

I’m suspicious that translations from Persian- and Arabic-speaking folks who are anti-US are often intentionally molded for propaganda purposes by the hawks in the defence and foreign policy establishments.

After 30 years of die hard anti-Iran propaganda emanating from the US, in addition to former US interference in Iranian politics, it’s pretty easy to understand that they don’t like the US. Propaganda you say? Yes. Remember GWB and the “axis of evil”? If that’s not propaganda, then I don’t know what is.

117 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Neither is Iran. For our sake, Art, don’t be an idiot. If Iran really wanted to kill Jews, it would start with its own domestic population. Saudi Arabia does not allow Jews within its territory. And Iran has no nuclear weapons stockpiles, nor has it ever had or will it ever have any.

118 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Iran is not stockpiling nuclear weapons.

No, they’ve been maintaining these research and development programs just to amuse themselves.

119 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm

For our sake, Art, don’t be an idiot. If Iran really wanted to kill Jews, it would start with its own domestic population

It’s domestic population is subaltern. You’re not listening to what the Iranian leadership says, because you’re bound and determined to be an idiot.

120 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Iran does not have the power to destroy Israel. I can see why it wants to, but actually doing so would be suicidal. And if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it would have no need to destroy Israel, though it would gain a much greater license to harass it. Iranian propaganda against Israel is similar to North Korean propaganda against the South- far more bark than bite here.

121 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

“No, they’ve been maintaining these research and development programs just to amuse themselves.”

-That’s not stockpiling nuclear weapons; that’s building the capability to develop them. Just like the US wants the capability to nuke Tehran, but not to actually nuke Tehran.

122 Nathan W October 23, 2015 at 3:33 am

The point of nuclear weapons is not to use them, but to stop people from attacking you with conventional weapons.

123 Thiago Ribeiro October 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

It is completly different. Iran is —-as Iraq was before magically imploding with no blame to be assigned to the USA whatsoever– a ruthless dictatorship which oppress its own people and threatens the peace. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is a democracy, renowned for its free press and electoral institutions and well-known for its love for Jews and its progressive treatment of women. It also shares America’s democratic values, commitment to human rights and Christian principles. It surely would never fund terrorist groups and terrorist Wahhabist preaching around the world. A perfect American ally in every possible way.

124 Bliksem October 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm

+1.

125 Bob from Ohio October 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Thiago, outside of the paid Saudi adherents in the US State Department, no one in the US likes the Saudis and not even the State hacks say it is “democracy, renowned for its free press and electoral institutions and well-known for its love for Jews and its progressive treatment of women. It also shares America’s democratic values, commitment to human rights and Christian principles”

We deal with them with our noses firmly held. Sucks but sometimes you gotta dance with the devil. Maybe (hopefully) the fat Saudi pigs are outliving their usefulness.

126 Thiago Ribeiro October 22, 2015 at 3:19 pm

When the USA invade a country or back puppets, they say it is to further freedom, human rights, fight terrorism. How much is supporting a terrorist, totalitarian dictatorship helping?
“We deal with them with our noses firmly held.”
Be brave.
All the cheap talk about Saddam being a menace and a tyrant was just that, cheap talk. The American regime gladly supports even worse regimes than Saddam’s. It came to a point where Iran is a much lesser threat to peace tgan the USA and its Gulf puppets, something no one would have thought in, say, 1980.

127 Thiago Ribeiro October 22, 2015 at 3:23 pm

OK, I was much snarkier than I should in my reply. Sorry. It is not constructive behavior. But I still remember the double standards back in 2003 and how American puppets in Brazil did their best to convince everyone that Iraq should be crushed–and whoever doubt was a terrorist– while Saudi Arabia was the nice guy because the boss in Washington said so. It gets annoying as the time goes by.

128 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I’m glad that it’s gone out of fashion to call people a “terrorist sympathizer” for saying things like “maybe there’s a reason they’re angry”.

129 Diogo October 22, 2015 at 5:42 am

He is wrong about Franco’s Spain, though. There was a deeper ideology in place there, and, specially in the forties and fifties, that went pretty deep.

130 Peter Akuleyev October 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

Franco himself was never a strong believer in that ideology, however. He seems to have seen himself as a pragmatic military caretaker who managed to keep Spain from going Communist but also who tried to keep the Falangists under control.

131 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:30 am

The FET was a fusion of Falangists and Carlists to which the Alfonsine monarchists signed on later. The Falangists were not shunted aside in the manner of the Carlists, but pretty much everyone was Franco’s bitch.

132 ibaien October 22, 2015 at 5:53 am

first of all, he says ‘…sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy’ and I say NSA, CIA, et al. second, and more broadly, ‘someone must do something about that awful mister putin’ is not much to work with as a piece of policy. he should be asking the house of saud to keep the price of oil tanked until Putin runs out of domestic goodwill, but I’m not sure what he could offer in return. a chess clinic?

133 ET October 22, 2015 at 7:04 am

It’s interesting to note that Kasparov’s comment about autocrats using ties to the free world to strengthen themselves in ways they couldn’t without the free world is similar to Ober’s argument in the Rise and Fall of Classical Greece for why Macedonia conquered the Greek city states after Persia failed.

In short, despite being an autocracy, Macedonia was integrated into the economy of the city states, allowing it access to financial, technological, and military expertise it never could have developed on its own. It then used said imports to conquer the city states who created the knowledge in the first place.

I don’t think modern autocrats will be as successful in subduing democracies, but the point stands that autocrats use the benefits of interaction with the free world to the benefit of autocracy, not democracy.

134 rayward October 22, 2015 at 7:33 am

Is it a coincidence that the right-wing autocracies Kasparov mentions were all supported by the U.S. Did these countries ultimately achieve “democratic and economic success” because the U.S. supported the right-wing autocracies or in spite of it.

135 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:57 am

Wow, rayward says something smart again after that bomb about China.

136 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:28 am

were all supported by the U.S.

Define ‘supported’. We had mutual security treaties with Korea and Taiwan. What’s your beef re the rest of them (and what’s your alternative to Park Chung Hee and Chiang Kai Shek?).

137 Nathan W October 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I was thinking something similar.

In the Cold War context, where socialism was the evil of all evils, the tendency to ally with right-wing dictatorships, and most especially the access to the US market that came with this, could not have been irrelevant.

I’m also suspicious of the simplisms in the “right-left” thing, which might be somewhat accurate enough sometimes, but suggest a possibility for an agenda on the part of the researcher. An unbiased researcher would not refer to right and left wing governments per se, but would discuss things like measures of trade openness, the government share of the economy, whether the currency was floating and other aspects of the monetary regime, perhaps things like right to strike laws, etc. … and then observe more as a relatively inconsequential fact that this happens to define something that more right-wing on the spectrum.

138 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm

An example from Taiwan was that the US helped promote land reform which really helped boost growth later on as people had assets to borrow against to open factories.

And an open market to export to helped even more.

139 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:57 am

“Chile, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan”

All had dictators who are incomparable to Putin in their lack of democratic accountability.

140 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

For 15 years, 46 years, 36 years, 39 years, and 39 years, respectively. Could be a long haul with V. Putin and his designated successor.

141 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 8:18 am

Also, look at the endorsements. Look at the endorsements. Look at the endorsements!! This is a terrible book, and it’s easy to already tell.

142 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 11:26 am

There’s nothing wrong with any of the endorsers. If the book were endorsed by one of the Crooked Timber crew, Diane Ravitch, or, alternatively, Ron Unz, I’d guess birdcage liner.

143 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Seriously, Art? Masha Gessen? John McCain?

Crooked Timber crew I’d be wary of; Ravitch and Unz I wouldn’t consider swaying my opinion in either way.

144 Sergey Kurdakov October 22, 2015 at 9:18 am

Kasparov is not hawkish.

he is just weird. and this is what Tyler tries to cast as being visionary.

But it is easy to check.
Example – Kasparov was fighting with northern pipeline claiming it will make Baltic sea poisoned due to disturbing of wwII chemical weapons. Northern pipeline works, but neither Baltic sea is poisoned nor it will ( because assessment which was made on chemical weapons in Baltic sea concluded that it is not good it is there – but nothing dangerous – it will dissolve in 70-100 years, but the process won’t speed up, even more – all chemical weapons being dissolved immediately will pose a pressure on living things with just above medically allowed concentrations for few days – later it will undergone hydrolysis to less harmful substances )

Or take his miscalculation with Limonov ( red nationalist writer whom Kaparov financed for many years – currently Limonov happily works on Putin and ruined Kasparov efforts to organize opposition forces in Russia )

so what could be inferred from such behavior? That Kasparov really won Putin out, but uses strange approaches which are far from being realistic or workable.

only completely blind or dishonest could see really well thought ideas from Kasparov.

145 The Anti-Gnostic October 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

Chile, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan — their regimes were about power for the sake of power, without a deeper ideology.

I don’t know about Portugal, but I’d describe the others as ideological. As in, the ideal of not wanting to see your country become a communist hellhole.

146 Art Deco October 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Both Antonio Salazar and Marcelo Caetano were academics (specializing in finance and law, respectively). Salazar was also a figure in the development of early 20th century Lusitanian integralism, and his political thought animated the Portuguese constitution of 1933. He was about as ideological as any working politician gets.

147 The Anti-Gnostic October 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Just to clarify, I simply did not know about Salazar and Portugal.

I cannot even remember the last time I read a news story involving Portugal. Actually, I can, in reference to the “PIIGS”/EU debt crisis. But I don’t recall the reporter noting anything specific about Portugal.

148 Harun October 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Lusitanian Integralist is my next band name.

149 Economist October 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Yes. I don’t see what the forces pushing for democracy in Russia look like. Also, in some ways similar to China, Russia has never had a democracy. The transition out of the Soviet Union into modern Russia did not include the formation of a real democracy. So it is difficult to see how people can revolt without a vision for something better. Typically the masses revolt against a monarchy or a colonial power (or both). Russia has already revolted against the Tsar’s in 1905 and 1917. The Chinese had their revolution in 1912 and fought through 1949 when Mao took over.

In many developing countries, some version of democracy arose after independence and the motivation was clear : We rule ourselves from now on. This was also the driving force behind america’s democracy (e.g. Paine’s exhortations for American independence in “Common Sense” and “The American Crisis”).

150 agra brum October 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Russia does not need to be ‘stopped’ – merely contained. It had bases in Syria already, so is not going anywhere new. It’s bogged down in the eastern Ukrainian provinces; i’ts not driving to Kiev. Sanctions and low oil prices have caused its economy to shrink. It is not expanding in population. In short, keep the bear in its cage, and try not to poke it with a stick, and you should be ok.

151 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Well, actually Russia is expanding in population. But the entirety of the rest of what you say is true. It is the U.S. and especially Turkey that should be stopped.

152 msgkings October 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm

What should the US be stopped from? Isn’t the big complaint that Obama and his crew don’t do enough already?

153 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Arming Syrian rebels, including the Islamic State, in order to keep peace from happening in Syria. Illegally bombing Syria. Sanctioning the Syrian and Belarussian governments. Blocking various UN initiatives to assert Palestinian sovereignty. Giving aid to Israel. Arming the government in Ukraine. Overthrowing governments in the future (or pretending to) in order to keep countries in a perpetual state of chaos. Supporting (not merely recognizing while complaining) the overthrow of democratic governments. Supporting various Tibetan and Uyghur nationalist groups to keep China more chaotic.

Basically, scrap the entire NED agenda+program, and you’ll have most of what I want.

154 Nathan W October 23, 2015 at 3:39 am

” Isn’t the big complaint that Obama and his crew don’t do enough already?”

Republicans are complaining about this. I’m not sure that anyone else is.

It’s hard to see that it’s very genuine either, and that they’re not just trying to score political points, because for practical purposes I haven’t seen anything remotely approaching a constructive suggestion from any notable Republican politician with regard to foreign issues for some time (correct me if I’m wrong).

155 E. Harding October 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Nuke Turkey, get rid of IS as a territorial entity in three days, conquer Libya and declare it a U.S. territory. Those are my suggestions.

156 msgkings October 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for sharing, E. Compelling and rich.

157 E. Harding October 23, 2015 at 3:39 pm

You’re welcome for your compliments.

158 Tom Warner October 22, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Kasparov is brilliant. This generation of Americans will be deservedly condemned by history for not listening to him. At least some of his critics here are pro-Putin Russian fascists hiding behind fake Anglo names.

159 E. Harding October 22, 2015 at 7:01 pm

“Kasparov is brilliant.”

-Maybe as a chess player, but not a historian or Russia analyst.

“This generation of Americans will be deservedly condemned by history for not listening to him.”

-No; they will be deservedly condemned by history for doing so.

“At least some of his critics here are pro-Putin Russian fascists hiding behind fake Anglo names.”

-So what?

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