Monday, March 28, 2016

For the World's Future- US and Russian Federation

Patience, Please
We'll all have to up the ante a bit more for this hand.

A post such as this one immediately runs the risk of simply being disregarded as the ranting of an irrational dreamer with an impossible vision. MeanMesa eagerly acknowledges this very sensible response, so -- at this point -- there can be little more offered that a cordial, well mannered invitation to indulge this old high desert blogger for a few minutes longer.

If we are seeking some alternative to the history already written -- the depressingly repetitive accounts of mankind's geopolitical violent, murderous foibles which fill chapter after dismal chapter of the tomes in a library's dusty history section -- we really will need to do a little dreaming.

Watching Obama in Havana turned out to be a "pregnant inspiration." That was the inspirational encounter which probably started this geriatric dreaming episode. In any event it's clearly time to "share" this dream.

The Dream
Along with a few details.

The nations of the United States and the Russian Federation merge - agreeing to the international equivalent of a joint venture -- on everything.

Okay, MeanMesa acknowledges the fact that most of the blog visitors who have gotten this far are ready to click on practically anything else the Internet is offering at the moment. However, no matter how much this might appear to be poorly authored, bawdy science fiction, the proposal [no matter how unlikely it is to ever reach actual implementation] enjoys more than enough "hypothetical" inertia to merit consideration.

The "traditional" means for one nation to "join" with another is emerge as the "winner" in a violent military contest. Unhappily, this is the exclusive existing model. Even worse, this "exclusive" model seems to be the only one considered, that is, there are no historical records of any other approach being successful. In most cases the historical lead up to such violence suggested that, given time, the conflict would be inevitable regardless of efforts to avoid it.

Here, we consider the high probability of the competition between the Russian Federation and the United States to be at some "intermediate point" in a similar progression. To date this competition has been a continuous, smoldering series of confrontations -- expensive and nerve wracking confrontations which have never produced much in the way of progress toward a more stable condition or a decisive resolution. [Read more: Yeltsin's Rapprochement with the West]

MeanMesa considers this a pressing invitation for some "big picture" thinking -- some much bigger, big picture thinking.

Roughing Out the "Big Picture"
The inevitable next step when the "little pictures" 
seem to be going no where.

It may be quite comforting to conclude that the "less than nightmarish," yet perpetually unsettled, current relations between these two nuclear heavy weights is something of an accomplishment. It is. However, the competition continues unabated. Somewhat less reassuring is that both parties seem to have accepted that there are no alternatives to simply continuing the same dangerous competition.

A true "big picture" should probably include an end to this. Further, at this point both parties already quietly understand that such an "end" will have nothing to do with one "successfully conquering" the other. 

The very visible details of both past history and future possibilities have permanently eliminated the "winner take all" option. Our world and our species now demand a much more productive alternative.

Clearly, we will have to 1. put this together and then, 2. make it work. Although this may be an unthinkable fantasy at the moment, we should probably at least start thinking about it. Now, back to the proposal.

We can proceed from here along two, distinct lines for this post.

First, we should consider what is meant by the "on everything" part of the proposal

Second, we should consider at least an abbreviated list of the advantages and disadvantages the proposal might offer both parties [and, perhaps, the rest of the world].

When global matters have reached the current, perilous state, dreaming is not optional. It's abundantly clear that continuing on our present path guarantees future disaster, and it's equally clear that there is a dismal paucity of alternate ideas emerging -- big ideas which might, possibly, offer the prospect of equally big solutions. We need some really exciting, possibly "game changing" solutions right about now.

Every specific point expressed [below] in this post could easily elicit far more discussion than what is offered here. The point is to allow this idea the opportunity to "mature" in the thoughts of MeanMesa's very appreciated visitors. Granted, all this seems quite alien to historical precedent -- there are no "similar" cases of competitive nations simply merging without military conquest.

It would be quite nice to insert links to scholarly papers all through this proposal, but not many folks are writing about ideas like this one. In the light of this, we must proceed on the very shaky basis of dreaming.

First, we should consider what is meant by the "on everything" part of the proposal.

1. The "depth" of the joint venture arrangement -- how far would it go?

The idea here is that the "arrangement" would go absolutely as far as possible. Practically every facet of life and governance in the Russian Federation and the United States would be opened to this change. This wide range would include the judicial, economic and social aspects of life in the respective countries.

Naturally, such broad changes could only be implemented gradually, yet, with the quality of determination and leadership adequate for such a grand undertaking, the concepts comprising the fundamental outline could be developed even before the parties agreed to commit. Make a plan. Know what is being debated. Try very hard to trust each other.

The skeleton of such a proposal would clearly involve such matters as:
  • "maneuvering" the existing constitutional provisions into a compatible form so that neither presented an unacceptable contradiction to the other -- the Russian Federation AND the United States make equally inauthentic claims of being "democratic" -- both are functional oligarchies;
  • integrating the collective electorate in preparation for conducting a combined election for the governance of the newly unified parties -- including the politics involved;
  • restructuring national trade laws to encompass the economies of both parties; and,
  • integrating national defense forces into a single, unified, cohesive military.

2. Which nations are invited to join the new arrangement?

After such a conjunction had been accomplished, the world would have a very different geopolitical reality. The "post combination" global actors would be the newly formed Russian/American nation, the EU, the Peoples Republic of China and the "third world."

Spend a moment visualizing what form the current mayhem of international affairs might assume when global powers were distributed in this fashion. MeanMesa suspects that some very constructive difference might emerge. The current crop of nations with the ambition of being super powers -- including the United States -- have not demonstrated particularly impressive leadership skills or foresight so far.

There is no compelling mandate to exclude Europe and China from the "invitation," but MeanMesa assumes that neither would be very interested.

Remember. This is only a "what if" proposition.

Second, we should consider at least an abbreviated list of the advantages and disadvantages the proposal might offer both parties [and, perhaps, the rest of the world].

Business is GREAT! [image source]

1. The Costs and Consequences of Unending Competition

Between the two of us we have savaged the Middle East for oil [we're both now "licking our chops" as we gaze at the Arctic -- where we've already melted most of the ice], emboldened, tempted, punished and tormented Iran, reestablished the autocracy in Egypt, violently destabilized Pakistan, essentially destroyed Iraq and Syria -- at the cost of millions of lives -- and cast Afghanistan into a nightmarish state of confused, chaotic, stark, austere dependence. While accomplishing all this, both the United States and the Russian Federation have eagerly poured literally trillions of dollars and rubles into "Cold War" style arms development. Most of the "products" of this out dated, geopolitical shadow are weapons each is hoping will defeat the other in an imaginary scenario of nuclear war.

Further, it's hardly the case that the planet wasn't already frantically begging for some attention while all this cash was being misdirected at "yesterday's fantasy." We all know that the planetary clock  is patiently ticking away the minutes until the really scary stuff slams into us.

Why think about the future?
There's always history ..
To date the "justifying claim" validating this mad house teetering on the precipice of vacuous, ideological self-destruction has been the consistent complaint that "we simply have no other options." Does this remain persuasive forever, or just until planetary conditions reach the cataclysmic panic point?

There are a great number of "other projects" we -- in both countries and the rest of the world -- need to be addressing.

2. The Economic "Jack Pot" of Bending the Curve to a Better Future

An impressive collection of possible advantages for this list emerge immediately. To avoid the outcome of this post expanding to the blogger equivalent of War and Peace, we can be brief.

  • Durability and Stability - This world has an astonishing surplus of well armed nations which seem anxious to "start shooting" for just about every reason in the book. This condition will degrade even more as the planet begins to experience the inevitable catastrophes of climate change. We need an alternative to staring bleakly at millions or billions of dollars worth of weapons while we ponder the question of why we didn't purchase what we really needed.

  • Carrying a Big Stick to the Bully Pulpit - Hopefully, the parties now so eager for international conflicts would be constructively "impressed" by the stabilizing leadership of a new super power player which had become "twice as super" as before.

  • Better Business - Two of the largest economies in the world would enjoy the additional, reciprocal access to both markets and production capacity completely unencumbered by the old mistrust and animosity.

  • A Strong, Secular Voice - Most international violence currently legitimized by any sort of theocratic justification is accompanied by the wishful possibility that even more combatants will "join the fray" for the same tribal reasons and justification. If the largest of these possible "additional participants" were a well established, dependably secular interest, the violently fantastic dreams of a "holy war" become much more limited, and hopefully, much less "sensible."

  • Pulling the Plug on International Terrorism - When the two "bullies" have announced that neither of them is at all interested in pursuing geopolitical ambitions through the mechanism of supporting client states anxious to employ terrorist tactics, the crowd at the "birthday party" will diminish rapidly. Terrorism will be stripped of its "noble idealism" and finally relegated to face its actual reality -- simple, sociopathic crime.

  • Real Muscle to Respond to Climate Change - There are monumental tasks ahead -- tasks which must be accomplished collectively if we intend to live comfortably on this planet. Eliminating the waste and political machinations of this endless competition would place the prospect of applying really powerful mitigation capacity at the forefront. Not endlessly wasting billions of dollars and rubles would also be a "big plus." A gigantic, stable super power might look pretty promising when the global mayhem of severe climate change hits at full strength, too.

  • Eliminating the oligarchs' exploitation of Cold War excuses - The perpetual diversion of massive government spending toward the military competition between the Russian Federation and the US is no secret, but just under the surface of this largess is a terrific reliance on the lingering effect of the respective Cold War propaganda of both parties. Even less frequently noted is the propaganda about all the other nations around the globe where an only slightly different competition was at play. Everywhere the Soviets appeared, the US showed up, too -- and vice versa. This expensive part of the "old model" has survived even to today. Within both nations the oligarchs and corporatists have continually profited by manufacturing the arms necessary for the conduct of what is practically unending global war. If a "cooperative coexistence" type national merger were to occur between these powerful parties, it might undercut the corporate arms death grip both nations are now experiencing.

  • Setting the Measure of Real National Leadership - There is no question that guiding these protagonists to such an unlikely and unprecedented objective would be a messy, complicated business. The process would require a sustained application of historically impressive leadership on both sides. The task would test not only the merit of individual leaders and statesmen but also the durability and capacity of each of the two electoral systems.

  • Complete cooperation in space exploration and extra planetary habitation - MeanMesa is convinced that the planetary civilization has been dawdling about with essentially insignificant distractions during a time when we should have been making far greater efforts -- and allocating far greater resources -- to interplanetary colonization. A "merged" Russian Federation and US space program would be able to achieve spectacular progress in this area. Think of moon colonies, Mars colonies and permanent stations on places such as Europe and Enceladus -- all inhabited with scientists and engineers from both nations cooperating productively.

  • Stabilizing and rehabilitating education - This world is paying the price daily for attempting to solve problems with masses of fundamentally uneducated or poorly educated humans. The US education system is in tatters, and MeanMesa suspects that the Russian Federation equivalent might well have similar difficulties. The efforts of two national education systems suddenly cast together might open new models and new processes in a very constructive way. The whole planet is presently suffering from a shocking lack of educational progress for a thousand reasons. If even one third of these instances of misdirection and under performance could be rectified by an influx of new energy and higher standards, the possible change could be overwhelming.

What To Expect
This idea ought to really "catch fire." right?

The response from both parties will probably be fairly similar.

[These days it doesn't even matter much exactly who "they" are...]

Seems like 10 cents is a little high.
How about "America Under Oligarchy?"[image]
Oh, OKAY. We can have very limited, token cooperation if the Russian or US billionaires can make a little money, but let's not go overboard. We simply cannot afford schools, teachers, river levies, highways, new bridges, health care or trains that go faster than 68 MPH -- much less climate change, global terror, aid to developing nations and so forth.

As WWII was ending 180 million Soviet citizens and 150 million US citizens got terrified into a monumentally embarrassing scam. The result was fifty plus years of absolute, unending, geopolitical, nuclear hysteria. [MeanMesa was there through the whole thing...] Although it appeared generally convincing for decades, the "adventure" definitely lost its old "Cold War" glamour in hind sight's cold light -- especially when that hindsight is taken from either one of two failed, nearly bankrupt, oligarchic, political processes.

Yes, the reality of the situation is chilling. Like us, the Russian Federation has fallen into the grip of war mongering oligarchs. There is currently no opposing force powerful enough to dislodge them from either  of the two societies. This proposal might actually accomplish that, or, at least, part of that.

MeanMesa hardly expects ideas like these to go "flying off the shelves," but even ideas about doing hard, complicated, challenging things can cross the "magic line" from fantasy to possibility as soon as people begin to seriously consider them.

In the meantime...

Sounds like it's time to start building the $3 Trillion dollar replacement for all these old F35's and the 3 Trillion рублей replacement for these old Sukhoi S37s to "keep the scam going." And, how are those new bombs coming along?

It's utterly insane to consider any other course of action, right?

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