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Mr. Roboto

This bit from the War Nerd about the uselessness of carriers and other big warships in the age of advanced missles, is only tangentally related but is interesting reading nonetheless:


Obviously, the thing that's kind of scary about the idea of the US and China slugging it out is that the whole thing could go nuclear.


What's really scary is that the destruction of our domestic manufacturing economy, which we gave to China, only makes the military industrial complex stronger, as war is now an excuse to create jobs.

Unless we start to produce and consume more of our own things again, we are beholden to the military industrial complex, the educational industrial complex, and the charity (non-profit) industrial complex. Don't ask an economist about this, they don't think it matters where a nation's production comes from. We're all just rational maximizers.

On a side note, GM decided to give China the only thing they have left, their technology. GM announced last night they intend to start a JV with state car manufacturer from China to develop electric cars. GM gets access to the China market and China gets the GM technology.


Sounds like a great idea. GM should ask Kawasaki Heavy Industries how that went. They got run over by China’s state Train companies when they were promised “access” for technology.

From the WSJ:
Some executives questioned the wisdom of dealing with China. "We didn't take part in the export project to China," says Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman of Central Japan Railway Co. "The conditions were not favorable—they wanted all the technology to be transferred for free. That was not good for us."



I don't think all out war with China is inevitable; a naval skirmish or blockade similar to the Cuban missle crisis perhaps. What's the EROEI for this on the downhill side of Hubbert?

According to the US Joint Forces Command (now disestablished)2010 report, "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD." p.29

It seems more likely, the US and Chinese governments are both going to have plenty of domestic problems to keep them occupied by then.


And let's not forget: "There is an increasingly high risk of confrontation between the world's largest economic powers - the United States and China - due to struggles for control of oil resources, says Amos Nur, Professor of Geophysics Department at Stanford University and an expert on global oil resources." http://gtepisrael.blogspot.com/2011/03/us-v-china-oil-war-scientists-speak-at.html.


The War Nerd piece is a lot of hyperventilating. He seems confused as to what exactly a ballistic missle is.

However, being incorrect on specifics does not make you incorrect on the general picture. If the Backfire Bomber didn't make the U.S. carriers a questionable asset, then certainly the introduction of large wake-homing torpedoes did.


The drumbeat has already started – we are already being primed for war. The conflict between the U.S. and Japan was predicted DECADES in advance of it actually happening, as far back as the Russo-Japanese War. After Russia’s defeat, Japan’s increasing militarism and territorial expansion in the East Asia sphere was seen by geopolitical experts as inevitably bringing Japan into conflict with the other rising power in the Pacific – The United States. In retrospect, when the precipitating event took place in December, 1941, it was not really a surprise to many – including possibly the Roosevelt administration who some still accuse of having had foreknowledge of the attack.

Read this recent opinion piece in the New York Times: “For Jobs, It’s War.” The subtext is clear: the global economy is a zero-sum game, and there can only be one winner. The alarmist book described in the piece asserts that the next decades will be “an all-out war” for jobs:


“The war for global jobs is like World War II: a war for all the marbles. The global war for jobs determines the leader of the free world. If the United States allows China or any country or region to out-enterprise, out-job-create, out-grow its G.D.P., everything changes. This is America’s next war for everything.”

This is America’s next war for everything. Get it now? And see this article – “Does the American Government Consider Economic Rivalry to Be A Justification For War?”


The reason for this is twofold - the National Security State is a huge moneymaker for the plutocracy, without having to worry about the vagaries of the “free” market or declining consumer incomes – they can just extract all the money they need via taxes, and route it directly into the companies they control. No messy competition or declining sales figures to worry about. It needs perpetual war and conflict to justify itself and keep the money flowing to the corporatists and their political handmaidens.

The second reason is even more important - Capitalism requires war in order to continue. By destroying productive capacity and killing off millions of idle workers, once the conflict is over the wealthy owners of the means of production once again can continue their path of growth and profitability. If current trends continue, China will require essentially all the world’s oil, grain, and raw materials to keep growing. Although they profess otherwise, the elites know that this is impossible:

If China's economy continues to grow by 8.0 percent annually, per capita income will equal that of current levels in the United States by the year 2030, when the nation will boast a population of 1.45 billion people, Brown said.

China grew 9.9 percent last year and 10.3 percent in the first quarter of 2006 and looks set to expand at similar rates going forward.

On the same model, Brown said China's annual grain consumption would equal two-thirds of current world grain output and annual paper consumption would be double current world production by 2030.

"There go the world's forests," he said.

On oil, Brown pointed to a similar scenario of simply not having enough to meet China's demands.

"If oil consumption per person reaches the US level by 2031, China will use 99 million barrels a day.

"The world is currently producing 84 million barrels a day and may never produce much more."

If three out of every four people in China own cars, as in the United States, there will be 1.1 billion vehicles on Chinese roads, compared to the current world fleet of 800 million, Brown said.

At a time of globalization and intense competition to produce more at ever lower prices, the contemporary economic model is doomed, Brown said.


Note that World War 2 happened after capitalism had run into a cul-de-sac created by an overproduction glut resulting in persistent unemployment of the masses. In both cases, the wealthy corporations and banks bankrolled the arms buildup and supplied weapons technology to both sides of the conflict. Isn’t it convenient that unemployment is highest among the cohort of young people who are just the right age to go to war? And what about those massive millions of rural Chinese migrants heading to the gleaming cities to look for factory work? Might putting a rifle in their hand solve that inconvenient demographic problem, and prevent a revolt of the jobless? Voila – unemployment and overproduction solved in one fell swoop, and people will be effectively distracted from their declining standard of living. Once it’s all over, the same elites on both sides of the Pacific can pick up the pieces. War solves all the problems of the elites, which is what makes it inevitable. And if you think there will be some sort of resistance, may I remind you how easily we were led to war less than a decade ago against an insignificant country that did not even attack us? Remember the climate of frothing-at-the-mouth nationalism and “you’re either with us or against us?”

As anyone who reads this blog knows full well, We The People have no control whatsoever over this process, we can only sit back and watch it happen. And now you know the burden of knowing.

Dave Cohen

Re: "According to the US Joint Forces Command... the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD as early as 2015"

I wouldn't put much stock in that hysterical military report. Ain't gonna happen. Not a snowball's chance in hell.

-- Dave


I fear CHilke is probably right on the money with that assessment, the future is getting bleaker by the minute, and you can thank the concerns of economics for it all. Nothing being done about global warming and the overall ecocide? Thank economics. Incoming third world war? Economics.


Dave said: "Ain't gonna happen. Not a snowball's chance in hell."

Why is it 'hysterical?' Would you mind clarifying what's NOT going to happen? Thanks!


The idea of the U.S. fighting a war with China is absurd.

We can barely hang on to a couple of small countries in the M.E. We can't even prevent illegals from south of the border from storming the gates. Look at the American populace these days. Do they look like a people ready to fight, and win, a war?

When America fought WW2, it was the largest industrial power and oil producer on the planet.

Nowadays, we go into debt to buy oil from abroad so that we can drive around performing services for each other.

Dave Cohen

Re: "Would you mind clarifying what's NOT going to happen? Thanks!"

Yeah, sure. If you track global oil production, you will see that it's actually been RISING in the last year. The shut-in Libyan oil (1.6 M b/d) has obscured that. That said, despite obvious declines in Mexico, the North Sea and elsewhere, there is NO evidence whatsoever that world oil production will fall off a cliff anytime soon. We are in a long plateau as far as crude oil (plus condensate, EIA) goes. As declines happen, more production in Brazil and Iraq will most likely compensate for those declines.

Now, here is the thing -- there are many hysterical people out here (e.g. the Archdruid) who DO NOT UNDERSTAND the oil production issues. They MAKE A LIVING (making money or not) by scaring THE SHIT OUT OF PEOPLE. End of World, coming tomorrow, read my blog. Sure, "peak oil" is a very important issue going forward, but as far as the world ending in the next 5 or 10 years, that is very unlikely to happen. What WILL happen is that oil prices will be unrelentingly high, relatively speaking, depending on economic circumstances.

Got it?

-- Dave


Thanks for the response.

The Practician

I don't think pointing a finger at John "Catabolic Collapse" Greer and screaming FAST CRASHER! is a good way to gain credibility.


There will be a conflict between the US and China. The conflict is inevitable with China's rise and US's apogee of its unsustainable empire. Whether it turns violent or how violent will depend on the US, the waning power.

Read David Murrin, Breaking the Code of History: http://webcast.richcast.eu/webinar/67114 and listen to his talks.

Also read Strauss and Howe's, Generations, and The Fourth Turning. I don't know of anyone else who wrote in the 1990s of a Tea Party upending US politics.

The modern "troubles" are just beginning. The next 15 years will be hell. Our modern US and EU politicians consistently show they are not up to the challenges.

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