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President Trump, using the traditional though unchallenged authority of the office to terminate treaties, has withdrawn the United States from a Cold War era treaty with Russia (nee Soviet Union). The treaty called for the destruction of intermediate range nuclear weapons and a moratorium on their development.

There is a fair argument to be made that Russia has been in violation of the INF treaty with the development of the Novator 9M729 missile, but Russia is no more of a military threat to the U.S. and Europe than is Afghanistan.

However, I think this is a case of strategic misdirection (and collusion!) by Russia and the United States.

The real issue is China. China is not a party to the treaty and has been making Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles to its black heart’s content. This is not news, but may be to those who do not follow geopolitics closely. By suddenly “recognizing” that Russia violated the treaty, both sides are relieved of the treaty’s restrictions and they can arm themselves against China as they choose.

The detractors say that Trump is starting a new nuclear arms race – and they are right. But when it was only China making the nukes, there was no competition! (Whether fighting nukes with nukes is a good idea is something left for another day).

Puppet, Poppet?

Some would say that Trump’s accusation of Russia’s non-compliance is evidence that Trump is not Putin’s puppet. Perhaps, but I say if Trump were Putin’s puppet, this is exactly what Putin would do!

He would direct Trump to accuse Russia of violating the treaty as justification for withdrawing the U.S. so that Russia could continue nuclear arms development with impunity and have it be Trump’s fault, all the while denying violation of the treaty.

Foreign policy in the modern era is never what the headlines make it out to be.

The contemporary usage (or expectation) of the term socialism or socialist state differs from the textbook definition. The textbook definitions generally assert that a socialist state exists when the means of production are controlled by the people; in practice, this means controlled by the government (e.g. BBC, British Airways, Vickers). True socialist states are rare and have varying degrees of success depending upon the discipline and wisdom of the ruling class (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela).

Popular socialism refers not to collective ownership of resources, but to a ‘social services state’: that irrespective of the ownership of resources, the state will provide free or low cost services (ok, no direct cost) not found in a purely free market society; examples of social services states include Sweden, Denmark, and Great Britain.

As a “social services state”, America has failed in spectacular fashion when measured by cost/benefit. The total tax burden (cost) to the consumer in the United States is within five to ten percent of EU countries. The services provided (benefit) are nearly non-existent (yet represent the single largest line item in the federal budget – go figure).

The three pillars of the social services state are Education, Healthcare, and Retirement. Students are bamboozled into accepting crushing debt to obtain worthless degrees in a wage-stagnant economy. PPACA (Obamacare) has increased healthcare costs exponentially while driving volume and quality of service into the dust, and the unfunded liabilities of government-mandated retirement in America (Social Security and Medicare) are well-documented, extending into the one-hundred trillion dollar range.

You are paying for a social services state, but not getting one. Cue the outrage.

Here in this post post-modern world, I would say we are looking at a new kind of ism not described previously. A unism, if you will (Unknown Ism of Interest).

A convergence of interests not unparalleled, but unparalleled in breadth and depth of power and influence. The corporations that c̶o̶n̶t̶r̶o̶l̶ exploit the world's resources and information continue to dwindle in number but increase in scope, concentrating a continual expansion of power in a continually decreasing number of hands.

This power translates to untoward influence in global governments (to wit: Monsanto convincing the FDA that GMO foods are not substantially different from non-GMO thus not requiring labelling, while simultaneously convincing the USPTO that GMO foods are intellectual property) and recreates in function, if not design, the monolithic power structures of prior centuries that combined economic, political, and social powers into a single-minded force. Thus, the Unism marches toward a facsimile of pre-20th century society, before the monarchies fell and the capitalists were reigned in. 

The perennial struggle between the haves and havenots has always hinged on the control of the peasantry. How does one balance the formula of subjugation and distraction, such that the peasants will continue to produce (perhaps grudgingly), but are not so disenfranchised that they are motivated to challenge the status quo (vis-a-vis Yellow Vests, Brexit)?

Having learned from previous attempts that top-down subjugation and unmitigated genocide are not effective long term solutions for control, the Unism has settled on a strategy of peasant self-regulation through designated prefects, factionation, and planned opposition. While the peasants are busy calling each other names and blaming one another for the impending collapse of modern society (when not distracted by imaginary people flying around in brightly colored leotards), the Unism is consolidating its power globally across banks, corporations, and governments.

The political discourse of the peasantry devolves into pointless debates of abstract ideologies not unlike school children arguing on the playground about Batman fighting Superman. There is nothing moral, just, or inherently superior about any of the arguments being presented by the factions, but they do serve a purpose: Mass distraction of the peasantry.

The peasantry will continue to decline in prosperity and influence unless and until it learns to stop fighting itself and focus on the real oppressors – but the clock is ticking.