Thucydides Trap

1. Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? https://www.belfercenter.org/thucydides-trap/overview-thucydides-trap

2. “Prospect Of U.S.-China War Rising” After US Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-23/graham-allison-tensions-taiwan-strait-prospect-us-china-war-rising

3. History of Peloponnesian war

4. What is Thucydides’s Trap? https://www.quora.com/What-is-Thucydides%E2%80%99s-Trap

The Thucydides Trap is a theory proposed byGraham Allison who postulates that war between a rising power and an established power is inevitable:

“It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Thucydides from“The History of the Peloponnesian War”

The two key drivers allegedly being “the rising power’s growing entitlement, sense of its importance, and demand for greater say and sway, on the one hand, and the fear, insecurity, and determination to defend the status quo this engenders in the established power, on the other.”

Key pointers from “The Great Man” Theory Debunked

Source: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-09/hitler-trump-great-man-theory-debunked

The “Great Man Theory” [Link] tells us that history can be largely explained by the impact of great leaders.

Herbert Spencer [Link] forcefully disagreed with the “Great Man Theory.” He believed that great leaders were merely products of their social environment. 

One of the significant shortcomings of many political philosophers is their ignorance of human nature.

Donald Trump, He’s a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base.

I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump.

China is building a large, new embassy at the mouth of the Panama Canal visible to every ship “as they enter a waterway that once symbolized the global influence of the United States.”

China is replacing U.S. influence in Latin America.

The elites are running out the clock in order to loot as much as they can before it hits the fan.

We dirt people will continue to suffer from stagnant wage growth while the so-called increase in national wealth goes to a tiny minority. [link]

It is said that every few generations, money returns to its rightful owners. That is what’s happening now.

or 5,000 years, China was a world superpower with only a short, two-century hiatus that is now ending as China again emerges as an economic superpower. Such a massive shift in wealth cannot be attributed to either leadership or the people below. It is a painful reversion to the mean. All the finger-pointing and wailing and gnashing of teeth … not even bombastic Trump and his tariffs can stem the tide and make Amerika great again as money continues to flow back to its rightful owners.

The USA is a declining, bankrupt, warmongering police state and most of its indoctrinated citizens think they live in a free, peaceful country.

China is a corrupt police state, but most of its citizens know it.

We have met the enemy, and he is us. The future awaits.

Chinese ambassador responds to remarks from former Singapore diplomat

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/china-does-not-manipulate-countries-ambassador-bilahari-kausikan-10522578

Mr Kausikan said Singaporeans must be aware of China’s covert “influence operations”.

“persuade, induce and coerce”.

The first involves rejecting the norm of non-interference in another state’s domestic affairs and believing that its interests should be promoted wherever they may be

China uses a range of tactics from legitimate diplomacy to more covert and often illegal deployment of agents of influence and operations – to sway decision makers or public opinion leaders.

the aim of its influence operations, which he added was not just to direct behaviour but to condition it as well.

a key tactic is to present target countries with oversimplified narratives, “forcing false choices on you and making you choose between them”

“China doesn’t just want you to comply with its wishes, it wants you to … do what it wants without being told,”

“When the Chinese try to impose a Chinese identity on Singapore, we must resist, because modern Singapore is based on the idea of being a multiracial country,” he added.

===

a “far cry from reality and leaves an unfavourable impression of China on others”.

“China does not impose its ideology and development model.”

the target of “groundless attacks”, as global media is largely dominated by the West.

“the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. These have gained a positive response from many countries, not because of manipulation but because they meet the interests of other parties and provide opportunities for common development,”

willing to share its development opportunities with others and by no means imposes its models on other countries.

“misleading others into misunderstanding China”

US-China trade war: Opinion Home Opinion All stories From trade war to third world war? From Korea to the South China Sea, Trump’s tariffs risk escalation

Source: https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/united-states/article/2154568/trade-war-third-world-war-korea-south-china

Go one step beyond that, and countries are going to begin blockading shipping and closing borders entirely. Finally, there is the danger of war as the only recourse that some leaders will decide is needed to set matters straight again.

Think of Chinese support for North Korea: Pyongyang relies on Beijing for virtually all its oil and a large percentage of its food, among many other items. If the US fails in its dialogue with North Korea over denuclearisation and the danger of war again hovers over the Korean peninsula, China would surely side with North Korea, as it did in the Korean war.

The stand-off with China extends all round the rim of Asia, down to the South China Sea and on to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, and beyond.

Korea’s trade surplus with the US last year was US$23.1 billion, down from a high of US$28.3 billion in 2015 but still considerably more than US trade officials would like.

Japan, whose surplus with the US last year reached US$68.8 billion, down from a peak of US$76.4 billion in 2012 but still far too high.

With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why Trump is talking so tough about the trade deficit while America’s trading partners are outraged by moves to cut it.

The fear, however, is that these nasty battles could eventually explode into armed conflict in which hundreds of millions, maybe billions, would perish. Policymakers and negotiators have to keep this risk at the top of their concerns as they confront one another in a global trade war that could someday erupt into the third world war.

 

The Power of Conspiracy and Secrets

Source: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/podcast-412-the-power-of-conspiracy-and-secrets/

Baidu link: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1CS_LNE0_m9r08Jim8izifQ

Back in 2016, a bizarre story emerged in pop culture. Professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $115 million dollar lawsuit against the gossip website Gawker for publishing a sex tape that had been made without his consent. The victory was somewhat surprising but the real surprise was who was actually behind the lawsuit; it wasn’t Hogan himself, but the billionaire founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel.

Thiel had his own axe to grind against Gawker, and he had been honing it since 2007. He had been plotting to take down Gawker for almost a decade.
What may sound like a tawdry story of celebrity and scandal, actually contains surprisingly potent lessons on revenge, Stoicism, strategy, perseverance, hubris, privacy, and the underrated power of secrets.
My guest today dug into this story and its insights in his new book, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue. His name is Ryan Holiday, and he’s also the author of Growth Hacker Marketing, The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, andThe Daily Stoic. Today on the show Ryan and I discuss his latest book, and the lessons we can take from a story that reads much like a modern-day Count of Monte Cristo.

Show Highlights

  • Why was Ryan drawn to this story? How did he end up chronicling it?
  • How did Ryan choose an approach to this book? How did he write it differently than most journalists already had?
  • The backstory of Gawker.com and its outing of Peter Thiel
  • Why it took 4+ years for Thiel to realize he could do something about it
  • How did Thiel find and end up paying for Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker?
  • What Ryan meant in calling Thiel a “high agency” individual
  • Can a person become high agency? Or are you born that way?
  • Why Thiel wants to be underestimated and under-the-radar
  • Why competition is for losers
  • The difference between conspiracy and war
  • Why Thiel sought revenge rather than taking, say, a Stoic approach to the problem
  • Did Thiel go too far? Why was his identity and scheme revealed?
  • Why secrecy can actually be an effective, powerful tool in getting things done
  • The value of privacy in our modern transparent society
  • How did all the players in this story turn out?
  • What happened when Thiel and Denton met in person?
  • Ryan’s takeaways on strategy, getting things done, etc.

 

A bipartisan agreement: Trump is bad for democracy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/18/a-bipartisan-agreement-trump-is-bad-for-democracy/?utm_term=.8240512a2c3f

“I think [America First is] very short sighted,” Kasich said of the desire to “withdraw, take care of ourselves.”

The report explains that democracies around the globe were under assault, but by six separate measures — “politicizing independent institutions, spreading disinformation, amassing executive power, quashing dissent, delegitimizing communities, and corrupting elections”

Most important are the report’s recommendations. Congress should do its part. There is a role for the press, for the public and even the private sector to speak out and defend the rule of law and independent sources of information.