145 Comments
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

There is also no evidence that it is possible to have a "socialist utopia" that is better than capitalist liberal democracy. All the real-world examples of attempts at socialist utopias have ended rather badly, and those who still believe in the possibility (eg Freddie) absolutely refuse to write down the laws under which one would function (eg, how housing would be allocated without a market).

Expand full comment

I'm sure the fact that every time someone tries to build one, capitalist oligarchs do everything in their power to undercut that project through violence has nothing do to with that failure.

Expand full comment

I would have thought that the USSR military was strong enough to have solved that problem. How about today's CCP?

Meanwhile, can I get a copy of socialist housing allocation policy? I'll wait.

Expand full comment

People like you have always existed and are embodied in Margaret Thatcher.

Expand full comment

Thanks for the compliment!

Expand full comment

I blame Hegel, personally.

Expand full comment

Hanania is more about a resistance to global hegemon stuff and thinking even flawed alternatives to actual empire are better than none. I feel that.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment
Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022

Rainbow Cap[italism is pretty ubiquitous. I admire the lockstep but can see Hanania's point. We live in a world where Weimar became empire lol.

Expand full comment
Removed (Banned)Oct 4, 2022
Comment removed
Expand full comment

The other way around, I believe. I think Fukuyama was a student of his

Expand full comment
Removed (Banned)Oct 4, 2022
Comment removed
Expand full comment

Oh dang you're right, I was totally wrong about the chronology of that

Expand full comment
Comment removed
Expand full comment

And the sad thing is, the reaction to liberalism's excesses is going to be worse than the excesses themselves but the liberals can't stop gleefully pawing at new, microscopically essential wins each successively more detached from the material and universal.

Expand full comment

Completely agree. One of the reasons I like reading about history is I get a sort of quiet comfort knowing that everything going on right now will be a few pages of a general history text in 500 years. The Mike Duncan of the year 3000 might not even give the 21st century a full podcast episode.

Expand full comment
Oct 4, 2022·edited Oct 5, 2022

One has to assume the internet is getting a callout at least. Any coherent argument about our time being special would have to start there. But even making that argument, the printing press set off a lot of weird historical events that are merely footnotes now

Expand full comment
Oct 4, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer

Nietzsche captures the inductive argument perfectly (in 1885!)

"What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame."

Expand full comment

Now I'm realizing that perhaps Fukuyama (and the rest of us) have been misreading Nietzsche all these years. When he makes the argument for the ubermensch, was he actually poking fun at the constant human need to surpass ourselves?

Expand full comment

He is wrong. We don't live in a liberal democratic capitalist society. We live in oligarchy controlled by the handful of rich and powerful. It is neither liberal nor democratic nor capitalist. History continues.

Expand full comment

Yes, the administrative state has extinguished capitalism. Democracy is never sustainable, it is chaos, it always morphs into Oligarchy or Monarchy.

Expand full comment

Are you shorting the US market? If capitalism has been extinguished, you should be.

Expand full comment

Administrative state picks the winners and losers so it is in that sense that I say extinguished: Chomsky 101.

Expand full comment

Or according to Yanis Varoufakis, we are living in a post-capitalist, techno-feudalist dystopia

Expand full comment

I cannot find it now, but I remember listening to a dialogue with Bertrand Russell. He stated that during the Edwardian Age, British people thought history had likewise run its course. It was inevitable that everywhere would have representative democracy, bicameral legislatures, abundant consumer goods from global trade, etc.

Expand full comment

A few thoughts.

First, I think the qualified defense of Fukuyama is that the events since the book was written have not in some way rendered it obviously wrong. That is, I don't think empirically it is on any weaker footing today than it was the day the original essay, never mind book, was written. And a great deal of it beyond the central thesis is stuff that people should take to heart; namely, the weakness of the many contemporary forms of non-democracy that have at various times been trumpeted as superior. It's striking to reread the book today and be reminded that he was not resting that component of the argument on the fall of the Soviet Union, but on the long decline of non-democracies starting in the 70s and very much including right-wing authoritarians. In short, there's a lot of value to the book even if one disagrees with the central argument.

Second, I have to agree with you. More than agreeing with you, I think Fukuyama's Hegelian framing is very strange. He rests not on structural changes in the human situation with the onset of technological/scientific/productive advances in the 19th century, but on the logic of democratic narratives as legitimators. I simply can't get on board with that; it brings on board too many assumptions with too little to go on. And ultimately I'm with you: history is long, and the period since the onset of the Industrial and Scientific revolutions has been a blink of an eye. It could be that there will be some unrecognizable institutional forms in a hundred years or in five hundred years. It could also be that the gains of the last two hundred years are a flash in the pan and we'll end up back at the horrible old equilibrium, or some other, nevertheless worse one. I find that one unlikely, but not exactly impossible. Certainly just as possible as that we've discovered all the institutional arrangements that we are going to, so soon after the old agrarian era has ended.

Finally, at the risk of an unwelcome comment, I have to disagree with the idea that Hanania is an interesting thinker or at all worth engaging. I'm not big on "no-platforming," but in my view we'd all be much better off if he ended up unable to draw any audience whatsoever. He is a moral black hole, a completely reprehensible human being, who revels in childish cruelty and delights in the attention. That's all I have to say on that matter; I won't make myself a nuisance by commenting again should you mention him again.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

TL:DR assholes; what are his hot takes, out of curiosity?

Expand full comment

Your vicious personal attack is beyond the pale. And because of that I'm rather shocked that Freddie "liked" your comment. Freddie: is this the new standard of politeness around here?

Expand full comment

I knew I said I wouldn't comment again, but I'll respond to this.

Here's an example: he begins his thread of things that make him proud to be an American with "the death penalty" https://twitter.com/RichardHanania/status/1544050041727291393?s=20&t=hjRGE-Il5dUg5av20KpY-Q

This was only the first one I could quickly find, and in many ways it's the most modest of the ways he is. Typically he is not just anti-gay marriage or critical of feminism (for example) or something, he revels in saying overtly anti-gay or anti-woman things, period. He's not a serious thinker and he is quite plainly a bad person. You're allowed to disagree. Freddie is also free to delete my comment if he likes. But I wanted to communicate this to him at least once.

Expand full comment

I was surprised how grotesque parts of the Hanania essay were. The twitter thread clears things up. He's gross. Thanks.

Expand full comment

And if you really wanna see grotesque, read the top comment on the Hanania essay.

Expand full comment

Kind of fascinating in how unclassifiable it is in terms of conventional political ideology.

Expand full comment

This tweet further down in the thread made me laugh, though:

"Regarding soccer, I was just kicking the ball around with a three year old Chinese girl at the park and she was much better than me. My large upper body strength advantage was of no use. What kind of sport is this?"

Expand full comment

I lol'd too. I am pretty sure he is being deliberately humorous here so I give him a point for that.

Expand full comment

I know very little about Hanania, but based on the linked pieces, I read him as kind of an asshole. But, so? I'm against the death penalty, for example, but I believe that reasonable people can and do disagree. Just because he says it the way an asshole would say it doesn't mean the position is indefensible. I don't think everyone who supports the death penalty is a moral black hole.

Expand full comment

Sure but why spend your time reading assholes? We had a very strict "no assholes" rule at my last job. No matter how smart or effective you were, if you were an asshole we would not hire you. There's plenty of talent out there and there is certainly no shortage of internet opinions either. [insert classic opinion / asshole joke here].

Expand full comment

That’s fair, and I don’t really ever read Hanania for that reason.

Expand full comment

Are you Olivia Wilde?

Expand full comment

Why was it you *last* job? And how on earth do you determine is someone is an asshole at a job interview? That just sounds conceited, and rather assholeish.

Expand full comment
Oct 8, 2022·edited Oct 8, 2022

Hi Dave. It was my last job because I retired after that job. Enterprise software salespeople fall into 5 or 6 personality types. If you spent 30 years in software sales like I did, and deployed an interview team of 5 - 7 people with 10 - 25 years of software sales each, you can weed out types you *don't* want. Especially if you use networks for referrals and check references. We hired 100+ people. Anyhow, your mileage may vary.

Expand full comment

Also I'd really like to discuss the death penalty if you're down for it. I'm going to be writing about my views soon (which, as I said, are anti-), but I'm keen to hear other people's thoughts.

Expand full comment

The standard for guilt is "beyond a reasonable doubt". Establish a second, higher standard for application of the death penalty: "no doubt". This second standard would apply in the case of individuals who murder people on video feed, in the presence of multiple live witnesses, and who also leave behind plenty of DNA evidence or who are incapacitated at the scene of the crime and are consequently unable to flee. That should get the error rate down to one or two unjust convictions every few hundred years.

And for a method of execution: nitrogen hypoxia.

Expand full comment
Removed (Banned)Oct 5, 2022
Comment removed
Expand full comment

No metaphysics in the court room!

Expand full comment

I'm much more concerned by the cruelty of our enforcement apparatus (extending from criminal justice to immigration restriction) in its daily face and in the enormously long times we pen people up like animals more than the death penalty per se, in all honesty. I am against it, though. And I share the belief, as a friend of mine put it, that fighting against the death penalty is a good way to draw out what exactly we believe the purpose of law enforcement and punishment is to begin with.

Expand full comment

Yes, the cruelty is gruesome. I assume you'd support something more like the Norwegian model?

Expand full comment

I'm less familiar with that than the French or German system, where they're supposed to treat the inmates with dignity and also to ensure they can work/maintain their ties to society while serving their time.

Expand full comment

Society at large is still struggling with balancing the requirements of punitive justice with rehabilitation. That wider debate needs to be settled before any serious attempt at reform can be made.

Expand full comment

No debates are ever settled. That's the nice thing about democracy. The debate goes on, reforms are pursued. There are rules for who gets to enact those reforms and how to become one of those people. I don't feel particularly compelled to wait for some theoretical future where a debate on punitive vs rehabilitative justice is "settled." I don't even know what that would look like.

Expand full comment

I do agree that we need a much firmer foundation. But I think one immediate reform is moratorium on death penalty in all states.

Expand full comment

My view on the death penalty is less right/wrong and more cost/benefit.

What does it hope to achieve, societally, that sentencing someone to life without parole doesn't?

Does it do a better job in deterrence? I'm doubtful for someone who commits a heinous crime that LWP vs death penalty makes a huge difference. For the ones who do it for noteriety, the many trials needed for the death penalty means more attention and spectacle gets paid to them, rather than letting them rot in prison, forgotten.

Does it satisfy some primal need for vengeance? Maybe, but how much does a lethal injection in a sterile room really weigh against some of the stuff that death row folks have done? In that case, better to have one of the victim's loved ones do the deed. Also, many people on death row do feel regret over what they did, and living with what you've done for the rest of your natural life seems more torturous than premature death.

Does it provide more comfort to the victims' families or survivors? Some of the affected say they want the death penalty, some say they don't. The years of trials and appeals can be retraumatizing. And once the defendant has been killed, there's no opportunity for the families to get any sort of further answers from them. No opportunity for that person to be rehabilitated and make for any kind of positive outcome out of a tragedy.

Expand full comment
Removed (Banned)Oct 5, 2022
Comment removed
Expand full comment

The death penalty is considerably more expensive than life in prison due to the complexity of the trial, the appeals process, and the cost of the execution itself. Adds up to a ton of legal fees. I think it's on average three times the cost of life without parole.

If you streamline the process such that those on death row get killed quicker and more easily, I suppose it could be a lot cheaper, but...suboptimal in many other ways.

Expand full comment

Why does somebody who commits a crime like rape or murder get a longer sentence than somebody who commits theft? Abstract concepts of justice: rape and murder are more serious crimes and there is a perception that a longer sentence is commensurate with the severity of the transgression. The death penalty is in the same category: for the ultimate transgression the ultimate penalty.

Expand full comment

It's unclear to me that death row inmates necessarily committed transgressions that are an order of magnitude worse than regular crimes, though. Just looking at the federal executions, Timothy McVeigh killing 168 people and was never really sorry, that's certainly an order of magnitude worse. Is he equivalent to Brandon Bernard, who expressed deep contribution for robbing & kidnapping two pastors and then lighting their car on fire after his friend shot them in the head? Is Bernard's trangression that much worse than any other murderer?

Expand full comment

You, Mr. Gurri, are a moral black hole, a completely reprehensible human being, one who revels in childish cruelty and delights in the attention.

Expand full comment

Thanks for that, I guess?

Expand full comment

It was as pointless and stupid as your original.

Expand full comment

I'm glad we could share in this futility and stupidity together

Expand full comment

Maybe Freddie liked it for the same reason he likes many well reasoned comments that disagree with his thesis. In any case, the rule here is to be kind to each other (this little community). Public figures are still, as I understand it, fair game.

Expand full comment

I find Hanania to regularly be an interesting and worthwhile read as well, but Adam’s comment doesn’t seem like an unreasonable response to him from my perspective. He can be as bad / vicious as any twitter user (or could—I understand he’s left it for the time being, thank god). Advocating the death penalty doesn’t really raise my eyebrows but in a recent piece he offhandedly mentioned something about how it’s not fair for him to be too mad at social justice activists for being censorious, because his ideal state would censor social justice politics / feminist ideas without compunction because he thinks they’re bad and harmful. That, I find pretty vile.

Expand full comment

The final comment degrades the post. It is ad hominem without substance.

Expand full comment

Actually, I think the final comment should serve as a model for people who find themselves discussing ideas connected to people they find loathsome. Make a note of your judgement, but don't base your argument on it or try to get into fights over it.

So I suppose I'll follow suit.

I used to have a certain respect for Hanania. His writing on Ukraine broke that for me; it was so deeply wrong, so confident, and so obviously based on rationalizing his nonsensical prejudices that it completely changed my perspective on the man.

The man is so absolutely broken by American culture war nonsense that he's become a dictator fanboy. Putin will keep the pronoun-havers in their place, so it's good for him to slaughter and subjugate the people of neighbouring countries. And because it's good, it's inevitably going to happen, so he writes an article about why the things he wants to be true must inevitably be true.

After reading that, I looked at his work through new eyes, and it became obvious that his thinking was 99% rationalization. He starts with fixed beliefs, often stupid or bigoted ones like "it is morally important that men look like men and women look like women", and then writes merely to justify them.

The Ukraine writing that destroyed my respect is here:

https://richardhanania.substack.com/p/russia-as-the-great-satan-in-the?s=r

https://twitter.com/RichardHanania/status/1496529233828794368

Expand full comment

Got a citation for the alleged quote "it is morally important that men look like men and women look like women"?

Expand full comment

It's a paraphrase, not a quote. I thought that was clear; if it was not, I apologize for that.

But I think he'd agree that it's a fair paraphrase. From his post "Why I Hate Pronouns More Than Genocide":

"One of my deepest instincts is that I like men who look and act like men, and women who look and act like women. When feminists say that there are double standards in how we treat the sexes, I say of course you are right, and that is good and natural."

And if you doubt my interpretation of this as a moral claim, he explicitly refers to it as part of his "system 1 morality" elsewhere in the post. He's quite explicit about this: he is morally outraged by androgyny.

https://richardhanania.substack.com/p/why-do-i-hate-pronouns-more-than

Expand full comment

Thank you. That essay is far more interesting and enlightening than the ridiculous caricatures of him that you and Gurri put forth.

Expand full comment

In neither of these do I see any praise whatsoever for Putin, or any assertion that the Ukraine invasion is justified. He does suggest that NATO disavow any intent to admit Ukraine in the future, which might well have prevented the invasion, and which almost certainly be a necessary part of any peace plan.

Expand full comment

> It could also be that the gains of the last two hundred years are a flash in the pan and we'll end up back at the horrible old equilibrium, or some other, nevertheless worse one. I find that one unlikely, but not exactly impossible.

Boy, have I got a book for you! It's called "the Red, the Green, the Brown" by one F. deBoer.

Expand full comment
Oct 21, 2022·edited Oct 21, 2022

It's really tough competition for the most disgusting Hanania utterance, but a few weeks ago he basically implied that the historical outrage over Emmett Till's lynching was just woke nonsense. It's somehow even worse than it sounds in that brief summary. He was responding to a report that the woman who had accused Till of making lewd overtures to her had in fact not recanted her accusation (as she's sometimes said to have done). He blithely admitted to being largely ignorant about the history surrounding the event (because the "savagery in our inner cities" gives him too much else to pay attention to) but said he wasn't surprised that it turned out to be just some "liberal racial narrative." (As if her accusations being true would make either Till's murder or his killers' acquittals no big deal.) There is something really, really wrong with the man. He will sometimes admit that most mainstream conservatives are morons; I'll grant him that and that alone.

Expand full comment

"It's somehow even worse than it sounds"

Yeah, well maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but since you don't give a link, who can tell?

Expand full comment

New from RH today:

"Democrats are the pro-crime party, but I’m just not sure that electing Republicans, especially at the federal level, makes much of a difference given that we can’t, say, start automatically executing large numbers of criminals upon their second or third felony conviction (which I would support once we got rid of all the victimless crimes)."

Expand full comment

According to Gallup, 55% of people in the US are in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder, with 42% opposed.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/1606/death-penalty.aspx

So it seems to me that RH may be more in tune with popular opinion than his detractors.

Expand full comment
Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022

I see nothing here about opinions on "automatic" death sentences for people convicted of two non-murder felonies. Does any evidence suggest that 55% of people would support that?

Expand full comment
Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022

According to the link you just posted, when given the choice of "death penalty" or "life imprisonment without the possibility of parole" as the preferred penalty for murder, 60% of people choose life imprisonment and 36% choose death penalty. (This represents a 14-point drop in support for the death penalty from the previous iteration of the poll. Looks like popular opinion is changing.) And of course, there's no reason to think that opinions on the death penalty as a punishment for murder are relevant to RH's preferred solution of "automatically executing large numbers of criminals upon their second or third felony conviction" (excepting "victimless crimes").

Expand full comment

Looking pretty good and prescient here. I'll just reiterate my top three insane RH takes:

-anger over Emmett Till's lynching is woke nonsense

-automatic death penalty for criminals convicted of two (perhaps three) felonies (but not "victimless crimes")

-compulsory public education is modern civilization's biggest crime/disaster

I do think it is a tough question of what to do about someone like him once he's gained a fair amount of influence in certain intellectual circles, is putting out books on mainstream presses, etc. He has some more 'respectable' intellectual allies (e.g. Cowen) and the initial responses seem to be saying that he's reformed and and that they'll continue to engage with him as a public intellectual.

Expand full comment

Great post. Any relation to Martin Gurri ?

Expand full comment

He's my dad

Expand full comment

oh hot damn! I know nothing, which is why I charge blindly into the fray against my intellectual superiors lol

Expand full comment

Not at all! Highly recommend James Whitman's Harsh Justice on this

Expand full comment

Oops I missed which thread this was responding to lol. I assure you that just because we are related doesn't mean my dad's halo passes down to me :)

Expand full comment

I can tell you’re not an elite asshole because if you were you absolutely would be wearing your dad’s halo. 😂

Expand full comment

Please tell him that he’s a hero of mine I thought that the revolt of the public was an absolutely seminal work

Expand full comment

Wow, I am a big fan of "Revolt of the Public". I think it's one of the most perceptive things I've read in ages. I see the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Expand full comment
Oct 4, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer

I think "now" is the only version of the world we can grasp.

"Yes. It is senseless to claim that things exist in their instancing only. The template for the world and all in it was drawn long ago. Yet the story of the world, which is all the world we know, does not exist outside of the instruments of its execution. Nor can those instruments exist outside of their own history. And so on. This life of yours is not a picture of the world. it is the world itself and it is composed not of bone or dream or time but of worship. Nothing else can contain it. Nothing else be by it contained."

-Cormac McCarthy

Expand full comment

"First - yes, the now boilerplate defense of Fukuyama is more or less correct. His end-of-history argument wasn’t that things would stop happening but rather that there would be no real challengers left to liberal capitalism after the fall of the USSR. "

China has entered the chat.

Expand full comment
author

Yes that's the obvious exception and I don't think Fukyama's defenders have quite overcome it.

Expand full comment

It ain't even just China, yo. The East Asian model, even in countries ostensibly more democratic than the PRC, is not exactly straight outta NPR.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Yes, but those aren't the only east Asian countries out there.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Never said otherwise. People made dire predictions about the suitability of subcontinent Indians for democracy, but at least they can hold a contested election and everyone generally agrees on the winner of said election and abides by the result.

Expand full comment

The one-party state that's been run by the crypto-fascist acolytes of Nobusuke Kishi since the '50s? If that's a "healthy democracy" then what are we even talking about.

Expand full comment

Pretty sure China doesn't stand as a major rejoinder to The End of History. He specifically talks about how authoritarian regimes may be more capable in some circumstances of fostering economic development and riding the popularity resulting from that for some time. But "some time" is not, in the scheme of things, very long, and the CCP's regime has lasted only slightly longer than the USSR did at this point. It seems more secure than the USSR did at the end right now, but then again few people at the beginning of 1989 thought that the USSR's existence was anything more than a settled fact for the foreseeable future.

Expand full comment

From the POV of supply chain integration alone, we had better hope that the CCP will remain in place for the time being.

Not only have we forgotten how to make things, we have forgotten how to make the things that make the things.

Anyway, as indicated previously, the PRC is not the only exponent of the East Asian Model out there.

Expand full comment
Removed (Banned)Oct 4, 2022
Comment removed
Expand full comment

Right after Mexico writes that gimmick check for The Wall.

Expand full comment

I'm no expert on these matters, but isn't China's communism a heck of a lot more capitalist than Soviet communism?

Expand full comment

That’s of course another aspect. The CCP as a party has been on power a little longer than the Bolsheviks ruled over the USSR, but the system has changed so much it’s difficult to say it’s been one regime the whole time. In terms of the post-reform system, it’s decades younger. And it changed even more after the 90s. But that’s not so much the point I think—the point is one non-democratic body has selected leadership continuously since 49, and the system changes are part of how they’ve managed to stick around.

Expand full comment

That seems quite fair, thank you.

Expand full comment

You are correct, but neither China nor countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. are laissez-faire liberal democracies.

Expand full comment
founding

Our lifespan is the only time we will ever experience so it seems natural to me that we will always mark our lifetime as special. Where we lose perspective is trying to come up with other rationales.

Expand full comment
Oct 4, 2022·edited Oct 4, 2022

Oh I don't know, there are a good amount of times before I was born that I would consider better or more special. If one could make medicine an exception to this, I could think of a lot more.

I don't think the present is all that great, I myself have nothing really to do with that.

Expand full comment

And along this line of thinking there's the idea that even as individuals we seem to have different takes on this subject as we age. The older we get the more likely we move from "it's the end of history" to "everything is going to shit." I suppose this is another effect from our belief we're special, our bodies themselves reflect our attitude to world events. "My back hurts, and oh yeah, those people want to do what? That's it, we're doomed"

Expand full comment

That Hanania piece is illiterate and incoherent. 2022 has been a terrible year for the Fukuyama argument because it's not just Russia, it's not just China, it's Russiia and China. And most recently it's Russia and China and Iran and Venezuela versus Europe and the US while the rest of the world scrupulously avoids choosing a side. Anyone who reads the news on a regular basis should appreciate this, much less somebody who is supposedly an expert on whatever.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Ukraine has mobilized every single man between between the ages of 18 and 65 or thereabouts. Russia just mobilized 300,000 reservists. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, in his testimony before Congress stated that he felt that the war in Ukraine would go on for years, "hopefully not for a decade". If it's a decade we are still in early days, less than 10% of the expected duration of the war. Ukraine's economy has already contracted by 30% this year. In addition Russia holds about 20% of Ukraine's total land mass while Ukraine has occupied precisely zero Russian territory. In the absence of any serious attempt by the West to resupply Ukraine with fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and tanks instead of just small arms and artillery I still give the edge to Russia over the long term.

As for China, their rhetoric does not appear to me to be that of an uninterested third party. In fact I would classify it as unremittingly hostile to the West and to the United States in particular. When Chinese state media calls a US Senator a "bitch" or accuses the US of violating Chinese territorial integrity in response to a question as to why China does not sanction Russia that signifies to me a substantially degraded relationship. I cannot understand why this issue doesn't get more attention from the US news media.

Plus Russia's war effort is largely being bankrolled via petroleum sales to China so China's support extends beyond mere rhetoric and into the material.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

1) So Russia has suffered some setbacks in terms of losing some of the territory that is has taken in its invasion. How does that qualify as Ukraine "winning"? Russia still occupies about 20% of Ukraine's land area.

2) It's not just fixed wing aircraft, it's main battle tanks and attack helicopters. Is there any plan whatsoever to ever supply Ukraine with those assets? Ukraine has requested them but which Western power has ever suggested that a transfer would be feasible, at any point in the future?

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

1. It is far, far too early to speculate on whether or not Russia will lose the entirety of its recent territorial gains. My guess is that's not really realistic given the equipment shortages that the Ukrainians struggle with. Russia may have issues with sanctions but at least it still has an arms industry. Where does Ukraine get replacement tanks as its forces suffer attrition?

2. Your history is incorrect. Poland made that proposal and then the US vetoed it. In fact if you look at the history of arms transfers from the West to the Ukraine it's clear that the US and Europe anticipate an end game where Ukraine is forced to trade territory for peace. The pattern is clear: the West provides enough arms to give the Russians a bloody nose but not the kinds of weapons that would actually allow the Ukrainians to win. Look at the recent successes that Ukraine has had with its counteroffensives: has that resulted in either accelerated arms transfers from the West or an upgrade in equipment transfers to tanks, APC's, helicopters, etc.?

Expand full comment

I completely agree with the main thrust of this argument. And Fukuyama did choose an audacious title. In fairness to him I don't think he was necessarily arguing that we would have liberal democracy for billions of years until the sun implodes and destroys the galaxy. I haven't read the book so I don't know what timeline qualifiers he was offering, if any.

Expand full comment

Your closing thoughts say it all “ history moves very slowly, then all at once”. Perfection!

Expand full comment

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Hemingway. Great stuff.

Expand full comment