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Cold war 2.0

DiscoBiscuit

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8w9
This is sure to continue the movement....

1694206570074.png


Given that Germany's economy is already in tatters from the embargo against Russian fossil fuels, and an inability to find enough capable workers, the powers that be in German politics should pray for another unseasonably warm winter.

If they don't get one and people get stuck burning trash in their fireplaces to stay warm this winter, the AfD may be the next populist canary in the European coal mine a la the Fratelli d'Italia in Italy.

With the Russian grain deal having fallen through, one could imagine a much larger wave of migrants to Europe from much of the Middle East which is hugely dependent on on grain from Ukraine. These countries are already on very shaky ground when it comes to food security.

From AP - Mideast countries that are already struggling fear price hikes after Russia exits grain deal

With the lack of progress from Ukr's vaunted summer counter offensive, Russia should feel like they have all the leverage in UN negotiations w/ regard to the grain deal, because they do. Despite early assumptions about Western economic sanctions crippling them, they've been happy to continue to sell fuel to India and China et. al., aren't really the worse for wear for it.

They know Ukr is in an increasingly desperate situation when it comes to military man power, and seems OK letting NATO tie up its military materiel in a quagmire.

It will be interesting to see how much pain Europe generally can withstand before its voting populace throws out those who have orchestrated it's economic and cultural collapse. I'd like to say America is in a much better position but I can't. The difference being that our ship is merely sinking, and not doing so while also being on fire like Europe.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
20,237
This is sure to continue the movement....

View attachment 29344

Given that Germany's economy is already in tatters from the embargo against Russian fossil fuels, and an inability to find enough capable workers, the powers that be in German politics should pray for another unseasonably warm winter.

If they don't get one and people get stuck burning trash in their fireplaces to stay warm this winter, the AfD may be the next populist canary in the European coal mine a la the Fratelli d'Italia in Italy.

With the Russian grain deal having fallen through, one could imagine a much larger wave of migrants to Europe from much of the Middle East which is hugely dependent on on grain from Ukraine. These countries are already on very shaky ground when it comes to food security.

From AP - Mideast countries that are already struggling fear price hikes after Russia exits grain deal

With the lack of progress from Ukr's vaunted summer counter offensive, Russia should feel like they have all the leverage in UN negotiations w/ regard to the grain deal, because they do. Despite early assumptions about Western economic sanctions crippling them, they've been happy to continue to sell fuel to India and China et. al., aren't really the worse for wear for it.

They know Ukr is in an increasingly desperate situation when it comes to military man power, and seems OK letting NATO tie up its military materiel in a quagmire.

It will be interesting to see how much pain Europe generally can withstand before its voting populace throws out those who have orchestrated it's economic and cultural collapse. I'd like to say America is in a much better position but I can't. The difference being that our ship is merely sinking, and not doing so while also being on fire like Europe.


I know that deep down you want the reply to all of this so I will give it to you. Since it seems that you got stuck in the black movie that doesn't really exist.


First of all Russia isn't better or equally well than in the times before the escalation. The truth is that they are selling plenty to China and India but there are few catches in that regard. Average person in China or India just doesn't have the purchasing power as the average European. What means that the Russian income is much lower than it used to be. Not to mention that being cut of from the most of global financial system surely sucks, especially since their population wasn't that rich even at the start of the current circus. They planned for a few months of war at most and they didn't expected to be crippled to this degree. People simply must understand that Russia is much weaker country than USSR. In other words now they are hopping to find a way how to keep that 20% of Ukraine that they got, since that is their only saving grace. The only thing they have to show to their people. The Ukraine should have been overrun in 15 days and now we are at the day 561 and only about 20% of the country is taken (and half of that was taken before February 2022). Therefore saying that Ukraine is helpless and desperate is just wrong. The damage in some regions is great but that just isn't the full picture if you take a closer look.


Also the Fratelli d'Italia that you are mentioning is supporting Ukraine and it has plenty of plans how to fix EU. This simply isn't anti system party like the AfD. After all this is exactly why they aren't in the same political blocks. EU has 3 blocks on the left, 3 blocks on the right, centrists, and independents. So you can't push all right into one basket and make your point straight. EU simply isn't 2 party system where you can do black and white logic.


As a matter of fact here is something fresh.
Roberta Metsola draws ire from Greens over apparent shift on climate
This in the bottom line is quite simple but it is very significant. Especially since it further adds to various recent moves. Center right EPP is moving away from green politics in order to keep things more stable in current situation and in order to contain the worst of populism. What is quite important since EPP is "establishment" and in a sense they are the real rulers of the EU. So if they are changing in order to adapt to the situation that means that the whole union will do just that. What basically changes the whole electoral map and logic and the populist will lose some of the key arguments. Plus you have populists like already mentioned Fratelli d'Italia that are moving towards EPP that is moving rightward. So in all of this the bottom line of the story will not fundamentally change. The block where is AfD is expected to win 72 seats out of 705 in the upcoming EU parliament elections (and that just isn't enough for anything). We can even add 13 of Orban's sets, it doesn't really matter. Therefore the genuine populists just wouldn't have the volume to do anything of significance because the system is moving rightward. In other words large parts of the mainstream are moving into their zone and they will take some of their space. What could lower their even further than expected numbers.


On the other hand the system recognized that this could be problematic winter so we used the summer to prepare energy supply and fill the tanks to full. Also EU has socialized healthcare and free college and thus social order was kept generally stable. I just don't see where is this complete collapse around Europe. Recently I went to the beach vacation and there were people from all over Europe. Plus more importantly in EU there isn't this great spike in public debt that exists in US. In various parts of EU public debt level is actually falling slightly. If there is no TV I wouldn't really know that there is full scale war a few hundred miles down the road. There are problems but that just isn't close to some kind of a collapse. Thus if you are are right winger you claim to be you should know that certain media and people are prone to distorting facts in order to get more views or manipulate. Don't trust everything you hear.
 

SensEye

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Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
605
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INTp
I saw an news article about this on MSN, I can't seem to find the link but here is an excerpt that sounds very plausible to me:

On Monday, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement it was working to dismantle a "human trafficking network" operating in Russia to recruit Cubans to fight in the war. The statement followed reports of several social media groups offering cash for Cubans willing to fight in Ukraine.

However, the idea that a group in Cuba "could be running a mercenary ring without the government's knowledge is ludicrous," Chris Simmons, a Cuban spycraft expert and former counterintelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, told NPR.
"I think the easy, short explanation" for why the Cuban government issued a public statement condemning the mystery group "is because they got caught," Simmons said in the interview. "This is just the latest in a long series of criminal enterprises run by the Cuban government. And any time they've gotten caught, historically, their first act is to deny it and then imprison some individuals as proof that they had no knowledge."
 

DiscoBiscuit

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Joined
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Messages
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8w9
I know that deep down you want the reply to all of this so I will give it to you. Since it seems that you got stuck in the black movie that doesn't really exist.


First of all Russia isn't better or equally well than in the times before the escalation. The truth is that they are selling plenty to China and India but there are few catches in that regard. Average person in China or India just doesn't have the purchasing power as the average European. What means that the Russian income is much lower than it used to be. Not to mention that being cut of from the most of global financial system surely sucks, especially since their population wasn't that rich even at the start of the current circus. They planned for a few months of war at most and they didn't expected to be crippled to this degree. People simply must understand that Russia is much weaker country than USSR. In other words now they are hopping to find a way how to keep that 20% of Ukraine that they got, since that is their only saving grace. The only thing they have to show to their people. The Ukraine should have been overrun in 15 days and now we are at the day 561 and only about 20% of the country is taken (and half of that was taken before February 2022). Therefore saying that Ukraine is helpless and desperate is just wrong. The damage in some regions is great but that just isn't the full picture if you take a closer look.


Also the Fratelli d'Italia that you are mentioning is supporting Ukraine and it has plenty of plans how to fix EU. This simply isn't anti system party like the AfD. After all this is exactly why they aren't in the same political blocks. EU has 3 blocks on the left, 3 blocks on the right, centrists, and independents. So you can't push all right into one basket and make your point straight. EU simply isn't 2 party system where you can do black and white logic.


As a matter of fact here is something fresh.
Roberta Metsola draws ire from Greens over apparent shift on climate
This in the bottom line is quite simple but it is very significant. Especially since it further adds to various recent moves. Center right EPP is moving away from green politics in order to keep things more stable in current situation and in order to contain the worst of populism. What is quite important since EPP is "establishment" and in a sense they are the real rulers of the EU. So if they are changing in order to adapt to the situation that means that the whole union will do just that. What basically changes the whole electoral map and logic and the populist will lose some of the key arguments. Plus you have populists like already mentioned Fratelli d'Italia that are moving towards EPP that is moving rightward. So in all of this the bottom line of the story will not fundamentally change. The block where is AfD is expected to win 72 seats out of 705 in the upcoming EU parliament elections (and that just isn't enough for anything). We can even add 13 of Orban's sets, it doesn't really matter. Therefore the genuine populists just wouldn't have the volume to do anything of significance because the system is moving rightward. In other words large parts of the mainstream are moving into their zone and they will take some of their space. What could lower their even further than expected numbers.


On the other hand the system recognized that this could be problematic winter so we used the summer to prepare energy supply and fill the tanks to full. Also EU has socialized healthcare and free college and thus social order was kept generally stable. I just don't see where is this complete collapse around Europe. Recently I went to the beach vacation and there were people from all over Europe. Plus more importantly in EU there isn't this great spike in public debt that exists in US. In various parts of EU public debt level is actually falling slightly. If there is no TV I wouldn't really know that there is full scale war a few hundred miles down the road. There are problems but that just isn't close to some kind of a collapse. Thus if you are are right winger you claim to be you should know that certain media and people are prone to distorting facts in order to get more views or manipulate. Don't trust everything you hear.
I appreciate your reply, and the thought and experience that have gone into it.

My thoughts on Fratelli, I certainly agree that Meloni and the party have turned out to be much more of a pussy cat than the tiger she at first seemed. I think this change in her reflects her political pragmatism and desire to get access to the adults table in the EU, which she suredly would have been kept from should she have maintained the stridency in her positions that she had early on. I don't see this change as something she ideologically agrees with deep down. Meloni and Fratelli as a leading indicator of greater political change on the continent. Kind of like Brexit before Trump.

With regard to the AfD, I'm not really even thinking about their impact on the EU parliament yet. I'm more concerned with their growing sway within the bundestag. Their polling is quite strong especially in East Germany. Even nationally they are beginning to crowd out the other parties, only the union between the CSU and CDU outpolls them. AfD's rise especially since may seems to have come at the expense of the CDU/CSU.
1694217755535.png


With regards to the EPP, they seemed to have made a tactical decision to try and head populism off at the pass by adopting just enough of its tenants to avoid immediate electoral consequences. I don't expect meaningful change at the EU level for years. I'm thinking generally about the next two decades. I see the national parliaments moving rightward more quickly than the EU parliament, and slowly exerting force on the EU as they gain strength. I don't expect the EPP moving rightward on green policy to be the last move they have to make. The rightward drift of the national parliaments should serve to move the overton window (what's allowed to be seriously politically discussed) rightward as well.

I don't really see a complete collapse in the cards for Europe. I certainly see a significantly diminished international position for it though. With Germany serving as the economic heart of the union, its recent economic troubles will have many second and third order effects. With the long term outlook for German manufacturing not being great, I see partial German deindustrialization as a real possibility.

Europe has generally filled their tanks for the winter, but with the loss of gas from russia, they've had to fill the void with short term LNG contracts, as opposed to the more long term contracts seen in Asia. These short term contracts are much more exposed to rapid swings in the markets than the longer term contracts.

Regarding Russia, I don't know if you noticed all the moves the BRICS have been making lately.
1694220013279.png

That's a lot of new Oil producing countries in the BRICS, not to mention that they are toying with the idea of creating a gold backed currency to rival the petrodollar. We are looking at the beginnings of the creation of an Eastern sphere of influence to rival the west as we've understood it for the last century. Now this won't happen tomorrow, and even if it did it still doesn't have the juice the rival the dollar, but its the beginning of the end of the Unipolar world we've seen since the Berlin wall fell. Francis Fukuyama famously predicted the end of history in the 90's and he couldn't have been more wrong. We are re-entering the age of great power conflict the likes of which we haven't seen since the lead up to WWI.

Regarding the war to begin with Ukr is now drafting women and negating previously allowed medical exemptions. Equally worrying though more illegal, they are rounding up refugees from Ukr in Europe and getting them sent back to fight.


The US has stopped including amounts of weapons in their procurement lists for Ukr because they are our pantry is running dry of things to send them.


Regarding the counter offensive from Ukr.


Regarding Russia's military force buildup through 2023.
The Sword of Damocles - the Russian Army's force buildup through 2023 and what it means for the Ukrainian War going forward.

One of the biggest - and certainly the most consequential - question marks in the world right now is the current status of the Russian Army. Some particularly dim Western commentators and even senior officials have claimed recently that the Russians have lost half or more of their combat power from the date of their initial invasion in February 2022 and are now weaker than the Ukrainians overall. These claims have so many problems they're barely worth discussing and should simply be dismissed out of hand. Let's work through a real analysis instead.

Claims the Russians had a "million-man army" prewar are simply false - that was the total number of people in the entire Russian Armed Forces. The Russian "Army" (between the Army proper, the Naval Infantry, and the VDV) was only some 350,000 personnel, of whom approximately 100,000 were conscripts. This manning level supported some 183 combined-arms battalion task forces under the now-deprecated Battalion Tactical Group organizational scheme. In real terms this meant that for every 1900 soldiers in the overall force the Russians would get one maneuver battalion with appropriate supporting arms.

This can be immediately sanity-checked by comparison to the United States Army. In 2018 the active-duty US Army had 31 Brigade Combat Teams, each of which had four maneuver* battalions for a total of 124 appropriately-supported battalions on an end strength of 483,500. When accounting for the fact that Russian units are about 2/3 the size of their Western counterparts (31 versus 44 tanks in a battalion, for instance), this means that the two armies had close to exactly the same number of effective battalion task forces available and the Russians are about 30% more efficient at converting end strength to combat power. This is to be expected given Russia's relative lack of logistical, administrative and command overhead without global commitments.

* I am including the BCT's organic cavalry squadron as a maneuver battalion because it is frequently tasked as such operationally and has the capability to perform maneuver tasks.

Now to the war. The Russians began recruiting volunteers quite early in the war, but more significant in the early stages of the war was industrial mobilization. As early as March 2022 Russian military industry began hiring huge numbers of personnel and ramping up production of war materiel across the board. Part of this was to replace equipment lost in combat but much of it was, I now have reason to believe, the leading edge of a deliberate plan to build out the Russian Army in the coming months. Mobilization of personnel was to come later, first with small-scale recruitment of volunteers over the Spring and Summer of 2022 and then with formal mobilization in Fall 2022.

Russian mobilization came in two waves. First there was an announced increase in the Russian military's end strength of 137,000 in August 2022, exactly the number of conscripts then in service. This suggests strongly that the 2021-2022 conscript class was simply retained in service for the duration. The second wave was the "partial mobilization" of 300,000 in September 2022, which was subsequently converted into another increase in the Russian Army's authorized strength. This gives us a current strength of the Russian Army as some 750,000 soldiers, more than double its strength in February 2022 and - highly significantly - with 650,000 instead of 250,000 soldiers deployable as either "contract" or "mobilized" soldiers.

It should be noted that the Russian mobilization of last year was not a "one-time" callup - it was a permanent expansion of the size of their army to be filled with ongoing recruitment efforts, conscription, and mobilization of reservists. This is a force that is being continually filled and which can be expected to be at or near its authorized strength.

Applying our ratio from earlier (1900 troops to generate one battalion task force) we get a post-expansion Russian force of some 395 maneuver battalions with enablers. This is an enormous force that could easily secure Russia's borders (particularly its now very-hostile western borders) while simultaneously overwhelming the battered Ukrainian military. Should NATO intervene directly, this force would be able to slug it out with any Western expeditionary force that could be realistically deployed into theater.

But Armchair Warlord, you say, the Russians are running out of troops and tanks - all the Twitter blue checks are telling me this! What evidence do you have? Well, I have a few data points in support of my theory.

1. Russia recently withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The CFE treaty, originally signed in 1990 and adapted in 1999 to post-Cold War realities, sought to place national ceilings on conventional arms stationed in Europe and at first served to place a cap on the amount of hardware the Warsaw Pact could flood across the North German Plain on short notice. Serious Russia observers have long noted that, far from his characterization in the West as an unhinged autocrat, Vladimir Putin is a boring neoliberal with a highly legalistic approach to governance. Although the Russians suspended their participation in the treaty in 2007, their recent denunciation is, I believe, highly significant.

Under the treaty the Russian Federation was allowed to station some 6,350 tanks, 11,280 APCs (including 7,030 IFVs) and 6,315 artillery pieces west of the Urals. A force of some 350 BTG-equivalents deployed west would consist of approximately 4,000 tanks and some 10,000 infantry carriers as well as 6,300 artillery pieces. This strongly suggests to me that the Russians denounced the treaty because some dimension of their force build, likely either artillery pieces or infantry carriers, violated its limitations.

This is, by the way, an enormous army and explains the "all of the above" approach the Russians have taken to procuring war materiel lately. They wouldn't be simultaneously rolling large numbers of T-90Ms and T-80BVMs off the assembly lines while also doing deep modernizations of their T-62 fleet for use as frontline tanks unless they had a real need for a genuinely enormous tank fleet in the near term. Same story with APCs and artillery.

2. Contrary to what certain pro-Western analysts and officials have asserted, the Russian side of the northeastern Ukrainian border (the "non-active" front line on the prewar border) is packed with troops. What immediately struck me during the abortive Ukrainian raids on Belgorod Oblast earlier this year was the size, speed and ferocity of the Russian counterattack, with multiple Russian battalions quickly mobilizing to throw back the attackers. Russian forces responding to the attacks were often apparently from different brigades or even divisions, with different equipment sets and distinct tactical signs, and they arrived and deployed for combat in large, intact units with fresh equipment.

This same region would be the simplest area for the Russians to concentrate forces in without disturbing logistical efforts for the "active" front line to the east and south, and a large offensive from this direction would quickly carve through the thin screen of Territorial Defense units covering the border, turn the main Ukrainian army deployed in the Donbass, and lead to a rapid collapse of the Ukrainian position east of the Dniper.

3. In June, the Russians announced the actual units they intend to create as a result of this force buildout. The new ground force units announced were one Combined Arms Army (a corps-sized formation), one new Army corps, five new divisions, and 26 new brigades. It is unclear whether these units are entirely separate or whether they are intended to nest within each other matryoshka-style, but this would either be 78 new BTG-equivalents (if the units above brigade level are just new headquarters) or a whopping 177, very much in line with my calculations above (if all of these are complete units).

We haven't seen this "doom army" yet because the Russians are still pursuing their Fabian strategy of letting the Ukrainians and their NATO sponsors beat themselves bloody against their defensive line in the Donbass. The Russians can now be expected to launch a large-scale offensive at a time, place, and in circumstances of their choosing - given the exhaustion of the AFU in its monthslong offensive the time for "big red arrows" is, I feel, ripening.

It should also be noted that the Russians do not seem to be leaving anything at all to chance. In Zaporozhe, for example, they constructed several defensive lines in a deep, complex scheme in preparation for an offensive they ended up stopping close to the line of contact. I would expect similar thoroughness out of their offensive preparations.

Sorry for quoting all that, but the time it would take me to internalize it and paraphrase it here would be enormous and I've already spent long enough on this.

Lastly to underscore my thoughts on the global situation generally. The biggest problem are the draw downs in capacity of our oil and gas fields everywhere.


We have too many people industrialized or industrializing too fast for the energy needs of the globe to met in the future. The only thing I can see that could possibly alleviate this lack of energy going forward in the future is nuclear, but the regulatory environment in the west is much too constrictive to enable the production of plants fast enough to counterbalance the loss of fossil fuels. The world isn't going to end, but it is certainly going to change.

To end, if you've read this far (and I truly appreciate it if you have), thanks for you're considered response to my post, seeing someone respond in good faith always warms the cockles of my heart. I think, you imagine that the changes I see now at the National level in Euro parliaments are something I was seeing also at the level of the EU parliament. That isn't the case and like I said I don't expect change there for a while. I agree with you that the EPP is taking its first steps to forestall the rise of populism at the EU level. Where we disagree I imagine is that this will be the last move the EPP has to make. I suspect the winds will either continue to push it to the right after these steps are taken (and this may happen over the course of years, this isn't a tomorrow prediction), or being unable or unwilling to make those further steps (possibly regarding immigration) another force in the EU parliament may supplant it.

Some may think I'm a doomer or stuck in a "black movie" as you say, but I just think things are going to change. I would enjoy your considered response to this, but completely understand if you dont.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

SensEye

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Messages
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The Germans seem a bit kooky these days. First they phase out nuclear power, now this. It's going to cost homeowners quite a bit just to switch from over from oil/gas to electric.

So I thought, hmm, without nuclear, how is Germany going to generate all this green power? Google shows me this:

Mode of production:
  • Wind: 123.44 TW⋅h (25.2%)
  • Brown coal: 106.64 TW⋅h (21.8%)
  • Solar: 57.61 TW⋅h (11.8%)
  • Hard coal: 55.58 TW⋅h (11.4%)
  • Natural gas: 46.43 TW⋅h (9.5%)
  • Biomass: 42.18 TW⋅h (8.6%)
  • Nuclear: 32.79 TW⋅h (6.7%)
  • Hydro: 15.05 TW⋅h (3.1%)
Let's see, 21.8+11.4= 33.2% of their hydro from coal. They're going to have to spend a fortune on wind/solar (which is neither cheap nor quick to build).

Also:
  • New heating systems must run on 65% renewable energy from 2024, law says
  • Heating switch to cost 9 billion euros annually
  • Govt to subsidise replacement with up to 50% cover
  • Heating contributed to 15% of German greenhouse emissions in 2022
9 billion euros annually (expect cost over runs), to reduce that 15% by 65% (so down to 6% if it all works out, which I suspect it won't). Gov (i.e. taxpayers) to subsidize 50% of the cost. Dare I speculate that a large portion of German taxpayers live in these houses? Nothing like being subsidized by your own money (well, it will probably be debt money, so future taxpayers footing the tab).

I sure hope there is no housing crisis in Germany, cuz real estate is about to get more expensive. Oh, and won't renters be thrilled to see their tax dollars going to subsidize homeowners.
Watch for the young folks (generally green supporters) to start bitching about that. Karma baby.
 

DiscoBiscuit

Meat Tornado
Joined
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Messages
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8w9
The Germans seem a bit kooky these days. First they phase out nuclear power, now this. It's going to cost homeowners quite a bit just to switch from over from oil/gas to electric.

So I thought, hmm, without nuclear, how is Germany going to generate all this green power? Google shows me this:

Mode of production:
  • Wind: 123.44 TW⋅h (25.2%)
  • Brown coal: 106.64 TW⋅h (21.8%)
  • Solar: 57.61 TW⋅h (11.8%)
  • Hard coal: 55.58 TW⋅h (11.4%)
  • Natural gas: 46.43 TW⋅h (9.5%)
  • Biomass: 42.18 TW⋅h (8.6%)
  • Nuclear: 32.79 TW⋅h (6.7%)
  • Hydro: 15.05 TW⋅h (3.1%)
Let's see, 21.8+11.4= 33.2% of their hydro from coal. They're going to have to spend a fortune on wind/solar (which is neither cheap nor quick to build).

Also:
  • New heating systems must run on 65% renewable energy from 2024, law says
  • Heating switch to cost 9 billion euros annually
  • Govt to subsidise replacement with up to 50% cover
  • Heating contributed to 15% of German greenhouse emissions in 2022
9 billion euros annually (expect cost over runs), to reduce that 15% by 65% (so down to 6% if it all works out, which I suspect it won't). Gov (i.e. taxpayers) to subsidize 50% of the cost. Dare I speculate that a large portion of German taxpayers live in these houses? Nothing like being subsidized by your own money (well, it will probably be debt money, so future taxpayers footing the tab).

I sure hope there is no housing crisis in Germany, cuz real estate is about to get more expensive. Oh, and won't renters be thrilled to see their tax dollars going to subsidize homeowners.
Watch for the young folks (generally green supporters) to start bitching about that. Karma baby.
The biggest issue is that Germany isn't a particularly sunny or windy place.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
20,237
I appreciate your reply, and the thought and experience that have gone into it.

My thoughts on Fratelli, I certainly agree that Meloni and the party have turned out to be much more of a pussy cat than the tiger she at first seemed. I think this change in her reflects her political pragmatism and desire to get access to the adults table in the EU, which she suredly would have been kept from should she have maintained the stridency in her positions that she had early on. I don't see this change as something she ideologically agrees with deep down. Meloni and Fratelli as a leading indicator of greater political change on the continent. Kind of like Brexit before Trump.

With regard to the AfD, I'm not really even thinking about their impact on the EU parliament yet. I'm more concerned with their growing sway within the bundestag. Their polling is quite strong especially in East Germany. Even nationally they are beginning to crowd out the other parties, only the union between the CSU and CDU outpolls them. AfD's rise especially since may seems to have come at the expense of the CDU/CSU.
View attachment 29346

With regards to the EPP, they seemed to have made a tactical decision to try and head populism off at the pass by adopting just enough of its tenants to avoid immediate electoral consequences. I don't expect meaningful change at the EU level for years. I'm thinking generally about the next two decades. I see the national parliaments moving rightward more quickly than the EU parliament, and slowly exerting force on the EU as they gain strength. I don't expect the EPP moving rightward on green policy to be the last move they have to make. The rightward drift of the national parliaments should serve to move the overton window (what's allowed to be seriously politically discussed) rightward as well.

I don't really see a complete collapse in the cards for Europe. I certainly see a significantly diminished international position for it though. With Germany serving as the economic heart of the union, its recent economic troubles will have many second and third order effects. With the long term outlook for German manufacturing not being great, I see partial German deindustrialization as a real possibility.

Europe has generally filled their tanks for the winter, but with the loss of gas from russia, they've had to fill the void with short term LNG contracts, as opposed to the more long term contracts seen in Asia. These short term contracts are much more exposed to rapid swings in the markets than the longer term contracts.

Regarding Russia, I don't know if you noticed all the moves the BRICS have been making lately.
View attachment 29348
That's a lot of new Oil producing countries in the BRICS, not to mention that they are toying with the idea of creating a gold backed currency to rival the petrodollar. We are looking at the beginnings of the creation of an Eastern sphere of influence to rival the west as we've understood it for the last century. Now this won't happen tomorrow, and even if it did it still doesn't have the juice the rival the dollar, but its the beginning of the end of the Unipolar world we've seen since the Berlin wall fell. Francis Fukuyama famously predicted the end of history in the 90's and he couldn't have been more wrong. We are re-entering the age of great power conflict the likes of which we haven't seen since the lead up to WWI.

Regarding the war to begin with Ukr is now drafting women and negating previously allowed medical exemptions. Equally worrying though more illegal, they are rounding up refugees from Ukr in Europe and getting them sent back to fight.


The US has stopped including amounts of weapons in their procurement lists for Ukr because they are our pantry is running dry of things to send them.


Regarding the counter offensive from Ukr.


Regarding Russia's military force buildup through 2023.




Sorry for quoting all that, but the time it would take me to internalize it and paraphrase it here would be enormous and I've already spent long enough on this.

Lastly to underscore my thoughts on the global situation generally. The biggest problem are the draw downs in capacity of our oil and gas fields everywhere.


We have too many people industrialized or industrializing too fast for the energy needs of the globe to met in the future. The only thing I can see that could possibly alleviate this lack of energy going forward in the future is nuclear, but the regulatory environment in the west is much too constrictive to enable the production of plants fast enough to counterbalance the loss of fossil fuels. The world isn't going to end, but it is certainly going to change.

To end, if you've read this far (and I truly appreciate it if you have), thanks for you're considered response to my post, seeing someone respond in good faith always warms the cockles of my heart. I think, you imagine that the changes I see now at the National level in Euro parliaments are something I was seeing also at the level of the EU parliament. That isn't the case and like I said I don't expect change there for a while. I agree with you that the EPP is taking its first steps to forestall the rise of populism at the EU level. Where we disagree I imagine is that this will be the last move the EPP has to make. I suspect the winds will either continue to push it to the right after these steps are taken (and this may happen over the course of years, this isn't a tomorrow prediction), or being unable or unwilling to make those further steps (possibly regarding immigration) another force in the EU parliament may supplant it.

Some may think I'm a doomer or stuck in a "black movie" as you say, but I just think things are going to change. I would enjoy your considered response to this, but completely understand if you dont.

Cheers


I actually went through all of this but I just don't have the time to answer to every detail of this. But I will give you my though out reply.


Meloni and her party represent a change and some new ideas but just about everything suggests that they aren't a fundamental threat to the system. What in the end is kinda the only thing that matters. Oscillations in a democracy are normal and that is especially the case if you have genuine multiparty system. I don't agree with everything she is pushing but it seem that it is possible to have normal conversation with her and that is good enough for me at this point. After all Italy needs someone bossy and ambitious because public debt of Italy is one of the biggest weak points of the whole EU. The country actually need someone who has the energy to fix the problem.


Current wave of AfD is indeed problematic on a number of levels but their 20% of support isn't enough to change the country (at least not through institutions). The problem here is that Merkel went objectively too far to the left for the center right party. So the whole center right EPP block around EU basically did the same to some degree. However by doing that they opened a huge political space for the right wing fringe politics that is driven by bots (or whatever). So now that center right is starting to moving back in post Merkel era, what should fix most of the problem on the long run. From what I saw the genuine support for AfD is only about 7-8% out of those 20%. While everything else are basically just protest votes. So even if there are election tomorrow is questionable if all of those 20% would actually materialize. This problem requires time and energy but I don't think that the current wave will last until next elections (at least not to the current degree). AfD can perhaps take some communities in ex Eastern Germany but that isn't enough to change the country. However Europe as whole will surely move rightward on a number of social issues in the incoming years. The challenges are too big and they will requite discipline and focus that are more of right wing quality. While in economy things will probably remain as they are for the most part. Since the debate is how to keep European economic model running instead of questioning in to what it should be changed. Adjustments will be made but the core idea should continue.


Regarding Ukraine: Ukraine is now in literal struggle for the very survival of the nation. Since all of this is just the intro into what should have been forceful cultural assimilation. However in such situations the government has to start making drastic and sometime even none-democratic rules. In Europe this is something that was going on for centuries and the only thing that has changed now is the fact that this old custom was taken out of the closet once again. For western Europe this was a cultural shock but to the eastern parts of EU this wasn't really they case. Since those countries know what to expect from Russia and they saw what is going on just over the border. However the west had to side with Ukraine because Russian boot reached only about 30% of the country and just that caused something like 8 million refugees. So complete collapse of Ukraine would probably cause 25 to 30 million refugees. Therefore here Russia gave us little choice in the terms of options. Since collapse of the lines, so many refugees and lose of assets in Ukraine would be quite a disaster in practical sense. Also after that it would be even easier to spread the propaganda globally that the west is in permanent decline. However the fact that after a year and half about 80% of Ukraine still stands make me convinced that it can win this war. After all at this point it all comes down to those few disputed regions in the east and south. Also the question is how exactly look at the counter attack. In the terms of territory the progress isn't big. However the real question is how many invaders were killed or destroyed (and how supply lines are doing). In other words if you can cause enough damage to the enemy their game will fall apart and then territory gains will suddenly become huge. Therefore if the counter attack of the Ukraine is going badly is something that can be disputed. Because if you are waging asymetric warfare then the rules of the game aren't standard ones. I could probably write a book on the topic but I just don't have the time.



Regarding BRICS, I had some posts about that not so long ago. To be honest this is in my opinion much bigger deal than what is currently happening in EU politics. Also to be honest we already have multi polar world where bigger countries and various blocks are playing games between each other. Formally US is the strongest fish in this tank but it is far from from being the only one worth of mentioning. What basically means that you already have the multi polar dynamic of some kind. However what exactly will be happening here remains to be seem. Especially since BRICS seem to be pretty lose pact. India is in but in a lot of way it is closer to the west than China. Also at this point the trade deal between EU and Brazil is being negotiated. Therefore it seems to be wrong to treat BRICS as some kind of a unified block or front that has everything under control. After all as you pointed the world is running out of fossil fuels and that has huge implications for the BRICS. In other words they have huge populations to feed and supply and this is where things could quickly go wrong for I and C part of the equation. Especially since not everything is in oil, those countries don't seem to care too much about soil pollution and similar problems. While west generally has much lower population density. Therefore it has much more space to maneuver on the long run. Especially since in general it isn't too close to the equator.



So yeah, ahead of us are great challenges and pretty turbulent times. Many things will change but that doesn't have to be a bad thing in the end. The globalization is falling part in the style of Roman empire and now it is undefined what will exactly happen. East-west tensions, mass refugees, immigrants, fluid culture, fluid trade, local warlords ... that is basically how Roman empire dissolved. The only real question is: are we smart enough to skip those 1000 years of darkness that followed.
 
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