Wednesday, October 19, 2022

19: Liz Truss

Reel: What does your faith mean to you?

Elon Musk Foments More Geopolitical Controversy With Ukraine Internet Dispute The world’s richest man, whose Starlink internet service is critical to the Ukrainian Army, said he could not “indefinitely” fund the system’s use in Ukraine. ....... Musk said his company could not “indefinitely” fund Ukraine’s use of Starlink, which has become crucial for the Ukrainian Army’s communication as it advances into territory occupied by Russia and defends against continued Russian attacks. ........ About 20,000 Starlink terminals, which were designed to work with satellites orbiting in space to provide online access, have been delivered to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February. Mr. Musk, who did not mention the Pentagon, talked about the difficulties of funding the service. ........

Musk, 51, who has become an unlikely provocateur in international geopolitics.

........... Last week, Mr. Musk drew a fierce rebuke from Ukrainian officials for proposing a peace plan — which included ceding territory to Russia — to end the war. He also suggested in an interview with The Financial Times that tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved by handing over some control of Taiwan to Beijing.

Crude Comments From Europe’s Top Diplomat Point to Bigger Problems Josep Borrell Fontelles said Europe was “a garden,” and the world “a jungle,” triggering charges of neocolonialism and racism just as the E.U. tries to drum up support in the developing world. ......... The top European Union diplomat calling the world “a jungle” and Europe “a garden” at risk of being overrun isn’t helping. ......... “Yes, Europe is a garden.” Mr. Borrell told aspiring European diplomats in the Belgian city of Bruges. “We have built a garden. Everything works. It is the best combination of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion that the humankind has been able to build — the three things together.” ........ “Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden,” he added, calling the young European diplomats “gardeners” who “have to go to the jungle. Europeans have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world. Otherwise, the rest of the world will invade us, by different ways and means.” ....... He said that Europe was a privileged place to live and that his message to the aspiring diplomats was to cultivate relationships outside it, because it cannot be “an island in the world away from what was going on elsewhere.” ....... Among the first to seize on it was the Kremlin’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova. ........ “To continue the analogy, the European gardener is in a vegetative state,” she quipped on Telegram. “And now seriously. The ‘garden’ was built by Europe due to the barbaric attitude to the plundering of the ‘jungle.’ Borrell could not say it better: the most prosperous system created in Europe was nourished by its roots from the colonies, which it ruthlessly oppressed,” she added. ........ “This abhorrent, colonial language is unacceptable from any representative of our union, least of all our highest-ranking diplomat,” said Alice Bah Kuhnke, a prominent Swedish member of the European Parliament with the Green Party. ......... Experts also said that alienating nations in the developing world could undermine the European Union’s efforts to bolster global partnerships in its search for its own independent place in the global power structure, as well as drum up support for Ukraine against Russia. ......... “It upsets at the most profound level countries in the rest of the world, because of the history of colonialism.” ......... In United Nations General Assembly votes, a bellwether for how well Western allies are doing against Russia’s own diplomatic efforts, the European Union and the United States have struggled to rally support from African and Asian countries they would normally call allies. High-profile partners like South Africa and India have chosen to abstain on key votes ......... Seasoned E.U. observers point out that Mr. Borrell is not an outlier when it comes to the dominant thinking at the heart of the bloc’s policy machinery. ........ the garden-jungle analogy used by Mr. Borrell was first employed by the prominent American neoconservative scholar Robert Kagan. .

The state of the energy transition In the past decade, we finally got going. Over the next three, we need to go much further, much faster. I still believe we can avoid a climate disaster—if we devote the next generation to mobilizing the largest crisis response in human history. ........ .

Liz Truss Is Finished For 40 days, Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain has ridden a roller coaster of ridicule. ........ Her “mini budget,” on which she hung her free-market credentials, was a disaster: Bond yields rocketed, the pound tanked, and the markets, far from gratified, were distinctly upset. To mitigate the damage, she reversed a tax cut for high earners — and was rewarded with more mockery. At the Conservative Party conference, protesters played loud clown music, and the police refused to intervene, as sure a sign of a failing administration in Britain as the storming of the Winter Palace in Russia. ........... the polls, which put Labour 33 points ahead of the Conservatives and Ms. Truss’s approval rating at minus 47 ....... Ms. Truss may limp on, but she is without power. For all intents and purposes, her prime ministership is finished. ........ Behind this monumental failure stalks Boris Johnson, the most important ghost in British politics. ......... Ms. Truss was Mr. Johnson’s departing gift, a human land mine to level the ground for his possible return. ......... We are far from seriousness, data and hope. The choice of Brexit, the nightmare we are slowly awakening to, proves it. ........... Ms. Truss certainly invited opprobrium with her recklessness: Only 6 percent of the country supports her tax cuts, while Elizabeth II preached unity and love. That is the kind of authoritarianism the British like, the velvet kind. In comparison, Ms. Truss looked tinny and pitiful. She could be dismissed. ...... After 12 years in power, exhausted by Brexit, the pandemic and growing factionalism, they find themselves at the mercy of Mr. Johnson’s ambition, their own inadequacy and their members’ hunger for culling the state against the country’s wishes. Their choice of Ms. Truss was part error, part final roll of a doomsday cult. Britain, contrary to stereotype, is a kaleidoscope of opinion, not two resolutely opposed factions. The majority accepted Conservative rule for more than a decade. But Ms. Truss, bringer of market chaos and international condemnation, is where that consent ends. ......... In time, Britain may free itself of Mr. Johnson’s spell and Ms. Truss’s unreason — and choose leaders who deal in facts, not fantasies, and think of the country, not themselves. We may say at last: Enough of post-truth and extremism and drinking the dregs of empire.

Britain’s New Prime Minister Is Still in Thrall to the Empire In a campaign built around a belief in the miraculous power of tax cuts, Ms. Truss presented herself as the economic savior of a country heading into a winter of crisis. In the face of sky-high inflation and widespread economic misery, it’s a fantastical proposition. ......... in an era of decolonization, he sketched out a route for Britain to maintain its global dominance. Fashioned in the dying of the imperial light, that roster of policies — preferential terms of global trade achieved through hard-line anti-migrant policies, shrinking the state, undermining organized labor and fostering finance — forms the basis of Ms. Truss’s politics today. The British Empire may have all but ended 60 years ago, but the country’s next prime minister is still in thrall to its legacy. ......... borders for the people of the empire but not for the wealth of the empire. ......... it is on the terrain of the economy where her absorption in zombie imperial thinking is most striking. ........ In 2012, Ms. Truss announced herself on the political scene as a co-author of a book, tellingly titled “Britannia Unchained,” that argued that Britain’s diminished position globally was the result of an overextended welfare state raising generations of mollycoddled workers, derided as “the worst idlers in the world.” While she likes to wrap herself in the Union Jack, her position a decade on appears to be the same. British workers, she said in a recent leaked recording, lacked the “skill and application” of their foreign counterparts and needed to work harder. ........... tax cuts have been consistently shown to increase inequality while having a negligible effect on growth or unemployment.

Why Vladimir Putin Is Likely to Be Disappointed Against a turning tide, Vladimir Putin is resorting to desperate measures. ......... Last week, in retaliation for an attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge, Russia’s main route to Crimea, the Kremlin launched over 100 long-range missiles into Ukraine, killing more than three dozen civilians and striking 30 percent of Ukrainian energy facilities. .......... Four factors have combined to steadily diminish Russia’s battlefield prospects: the demands of a high-intensity war on an army unprepared to wage it; early and severe losses to its ground, airborne and special forces; the Ukrainians’ resilience and will to fight; and Western support for Ukraine. .......... Even before the majority of new troops have been deployed, there are anecdotes of mobilized forces being killed, being captured and deserting. There are, to put it mildly, obvious downsides to sending unprepared and questionably led conscripts to a combat zone. ......... Already there are signs of discipline problems among mobilized soldiers in Russian garrisons. ......... The Russian military leadership is unlikely to know with confidence how this undisciplined composite force will react when confronted with cold, exhausting combat conditions or rumors of Ukrainian assaults. Recent experience suggests these troops might abandon their positions and equipment in panic, as demoralized forces did in the Kharkiv region in September. ........... Right now, Mr. Putin seems to have two immediate goals: to sustain control of as much of the occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as he can (with Russia’s desired boundaries not yet defined); and to freeze the front line, establishing a frontier Ukrainian forces cannot broach, possibly sealed by a cease-fire. .......... as the Ukrainians’ continued headway in the south suggests, it’s far from clear that Russia will be able to attain either aim. ........ In that case, Mr. Putin could lash out more broadly against Ukraine. The attacks of the past week — particularly striking critical civilian infrastructure — could be expanded across Ukraine if missile supplies hold out, while Russia could directly target the Ukrainian leadership with strikes or special operations. .......... To inflict domestic costs on Kyiv’s supporters, Russia could also conduct cyberattacks against Europe or the United States, targeting critical infrastructure like energy, transportation and communications systems. The war then would no longer be confined to the borders of Ukraine. ......... It’s worth recalling that, before breaking the nuclear taboo, Russia has other means available to escalate.

I’ve Studied 13 Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This Is What I See When I Look at Putin. For six decades, the Cuban missile crisis has been viewed as the defining confrontation of the modern age, the world’s closest brush with nuclear annihilation. The war in Ukraine presents perils of at least equal magnitude, particularly now that Vladimir Putin has backed himself into a corner by declaring large chunks of neighboring Ukraine as belonging to Russia “forever.” ............ As I discovered when I assembled a minute-by-minute chronology of the most dangerous phase of the crisis, there were times when both leaders were unaware of developments on the battlefield that assumed a logic and momentum of their own.

The state of the energy transition

No comments: