Throwing Rocks Under Russia’s Skates

When I was a kid, police knocked on my door in Los Angeles responding to a complaint by neighbors that I had attacked their son. I explained that the older boy had been throwing rocks under my skates repeatedly despite my demands that he stop. After my busy mother declined to intervene, I grabbed a curtain rod from my garage to make him stop. The police accepted my self-defense argument and went away.

The rock throwing stopped after that, for good.

My toddler grandson started at a new day care recently. The care provider told us that any time a child in her care feels threatened by another child coming too close or trying to grab a toy they’re playing with, she teaches the child to say “SPACE!” accompanied by an outstretched, talk-to-the-hand gesture. “It’s not a question,” she explained. “It’s a demand, and it needs to be respected.”

It seems to me, and to the U.S. intelligence veterans listed below their recent full page ad in the New York Times, that the Russian Federation has been demanding “SPACE!” with regards to NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. In other words, for decades.

Alice Slater’s cogent response to the recent G7 summit held in Hiroshima as an ominous warning of continued U.S. nuclear belligerence included this reminder:

U.S. allies in nuclear crime include five NATO countries with U.S. nuclear bombs on their territory—Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey—and Japan of all nations, ironically, under its nuclear umbrella which is abandoning its Peace Constitution under US pressure and will become a NATO affiliate instead of urging that all the G7 nations join the new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which they have all boycotted and rejected. [emphasis mine]

“The US leads the way in dishonoring its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation for “good faith efforts” for nuclear disarmament and has never acted in “good faith”.

China is now also having rocks thrown under its skates in Taiwan and the South China Sea. Any response it makes beyond demanding “SPACE!” will be misrepresented in the corporate press most in the U.S. rely on, as a method of building the case for a proxy war on the Belt and Road Initiative leader now commanding the world’s economy.

The U.S. could not subdue insurgents in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, but pretends it can win against military powers like Russia and China.

Nuclear weapons are likely to be the only way the U.S. could prevail over a Russia-China alliance currently supported by most of the Global South.

And the G7 met in nuclear victim city Hiroshima to remind us, not so subtly, of that grim fact.

Squawks Of A Dying Empire

I’m going to make reference to a racist text that deeply influenced my youthful thinking about societies and how they die. Gone With the Wind was around my house and I probably read it when I was 10 or so, seeing the movie only years later. Did I notice that the Black characters only existed to be servants to the white protagonists, for instance, protecting them from the “bad” i.e. not servile Black people? No, I did not. Nowadays, it would be impossible not to notice that aspect of this story published in the 1930’s.

My takeaway from GWTW was something different: the deep denial of citizens of an empire in decline. Confederate adherence to their cause led to blindness and hubris; they still believed they were winning long after they were sure to lose. And the failure to adapt meant literal starvation for many. I’m sure I discussed the book with my parents and they no doubt encouraged me to see the heroine as someone who was able to look reality in the face, adapt, and survive. My mother called the people who failed to adapt dinosaurs. 

Possibly my parents sensed that they were preparing me for a future they could but dimly imagine. Which brings us to today.

I can think of no more iconic artifact of the rise of Asia and the fall of the U.S. and Europe as world influencers than this brief exchange between Singaporean Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, and Richard Hudson, a congressman from North Carolina.

Link to video if embedded version doesn’t work for you:

Congressman Hudson and the other members of the subcommittee contemplating a ban on TikTok clearly think they are playing hardball with China. Here’s another gem making the rounds under the title, “I’m Singaporean.”

Link to video if embedded version doesn’t work for you:

Youthful comics have had a field day making fun of the hearing, while tech commentators have written about how a Congress concerned with egregious data mining should be focusing on all social media platforms, and maybe even on passing laws to protect data privacy such as other countries have. 

Meanwhile, and irrespective of this nonsense, China brokered the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and possibly an end to proxy war in Syria. China also proposed a peace plan to end the proxy war in Ukraine.

China announced it will launch 13,000 low earth orbit satellites this summer to reserve space in that critical communications field. (Satellites are used by U.S./NATO to target Russian-ethic regions in eastern Ukraine and Russian military forces.)

China, Russia, and India are the C, R, and I in BRICS, the economic powerhouse that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, and Nigeria now want to join. Negotiations to use a currency other than the dollar to settle energy purchases between nations are well underway, with some saying it will occur as soon as August.

The United Nations Security Council, never quite the independent international body it was claimed to be when given a home in New York City, held a vote on Russia’s resolution to investigate the Nord Stream bombing. The UN’s press department reported:

By a vote of 3 in favour (Brazil, China, Russian Federation) to none against, with 12 abstentions, the Council rejected the draft resolution, owing to a lack of sufficient votes in favour. reported:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning questioned on Tuesday why the US is hesitant about investigating an incident that seriously threatens international peace and security, when it is so enthusiastic about conducting so-called investigations on developing countries. 

“It is playing double standards. What is the US afraid of? We expect early progress from relevant investigations so that the world knows what truly happened to hold those responsible accountable,” she said at a news conference in Beijing.

The U.S. empire is in for a rude awakening but it seems to be dreaming of its glory days as it barrels full speed ahead toward a world war it cannot win. That’s why I fear that the dinosaurs will unleash their nuclear weapons when they finally realize their days are numbered.