World War Three Will Be Awesome, The Seven Deadly Sins, And More--Temporal Times #2

World War III Will Be the Best Thing to Happen to America Since WWII

…and I am tired of pretending it’s not.

By Starling 1269

(Note: This article was first written and published on Medium six months ago.)

I fully expect there to be a large-scale conflict between world powers within the next five to ten years.

The US is becoming increasingly polarized and capable of maintaining itself off of internal trade which is to say that we have the capability to fulfill our own energy, food, and industrial needs. This in turn means that maintaining strong economic ties with China, and a strong military presence in the Middle East, is no longer a necessity. Polarization and independence both being factors driving a movement toward deglobalization.

This is not to say that I see America returning to pre-war isolationism, but rather that the cost-benefit analysis associated with military action and diplomacy are much different now than they were a decade ago. The cost of maintaining a strong NATO presence is no longer being weighed against Soviet supremacy. The cost of fighting neverending wars in the Middle East is no longer being weighed against the collapse of the US oil supply. The cost of maintaining diplomatic and trade relations with a totalitarian slave state that hates us and everything we stand for is no longer being weighed against the financial ruin of our nation.

War and peace always have costs associated with them, and they always have benefits associated with them. When the cost of peace is more than the cost of war, there will be war. When the cost of war is more than the cost of peace, there will be peace. I am of course not speaking of the real cost of war or peace, but rather of political capital. The era of Team America: World Police is coming to an end, the only question is whether it goes out quietly or with a bang.

Now, just because the US is not as reliant upon Chinese trade as it once was, that still doesn’t mean that war with China is desirable. China is still an important part of the American economy and, indeed, the world economy. War with China would necessarily disrupt trade, which would have wide-reaching effects. It would almost certainly mean a global recession, if not depression, especially in light of the COVID economy.

However, and follow me on this, the US will bounce back from this setback stronger than ever. For largely the same reason that WWII sparked the rise of America as a superpower. The simple fact is that the US is pretty much geopolitically impervious to attacks against the mainland. Sure, there can be attacks on US bases or even terror attacks, but no conventional land, sea, or air attacks will reach the mainland. Simple as.

So, militarily speaking, the only actual threat to the American mainland is nuclear. Much has been said about nukes but in reality, the actual threat of a deliberate and non-retaliatory launch is minimal… at least from any of the great powers. 

Also, China doesn’t have enough nukes to wipe out the US. Cripple it, sure, but not wipe it out. Whereas the US has more than enough to be an existential threat to China. We could also get into a discussion of THAAD, MAD, and various other problems with an actual nuclear exchange but the long and short of it is that the goal of China is not to provoke a nuclear exchange with a much greater nuclear power. They want to provoke a land war because that’s always been their greatest strength. A defensible position, and overwhelming numbers.

So, what is America’s greatest strength? Overwhelming firepower, overwhelming resources, overwhelming technological advantage, and an overwhelmingly defensible position. No other country on Earth, nor any combination thereof, has the force projection capabilities of the United States of America. A single US Carrier Strike Group could defend against an incursion from the combined Chinese and Russian naval forces, not that they even have a true blue water navy, to begin with, or that Russia would even necessarily ally with China either.

So, this is to say that an air and sea war fought with China would be localized in their backyard: The South and East China Sea, and their land forces would be mobilized to the main front. Which in this case would be Northern India. There would also likely be a minor front in Central Asia. The flashpoints for this war are going to be dams and water shortages. China damming the sources of Indian rivers in the Himalayas would be a bad move, and they know it… However, there are some particularly strong reasons to do so anyway. Namely, that they are running out of the drinkable water necessary to maintain their large population and, perhaps just as damning, the industrial water necessary to maintain their large economy.

Water is not the only existential threat to China, however, there is also the problem of the population. This may sound strange to say, but China is on the verge of a population collapse. Especially as the notion of China as a population powerhouse has dominated discussions of China for decades, however, the population control efforts from the Chinese Communist Party have proven to be successful… Far more successful than intended. Another consequence of the One-Child Policy, and just as the first one that cannot be resolved with the brand-spankin’ new Three-Child Policy, is that of the sex imbalance which has been shown to have a destabilizing effect on nations. So too is there the economic threat. Not just the ticking timebomb of a population aging and industrializing out of its ability to maintain its status as a global economic power, but also the fact that the Chinese people are ramping up their credit at an alarming rate. Going from five trillion to thirty trillion in just ten years and with no sign of this slowing any time soon.

When this bubble pops, it is going to pop hard. There is a reason that China is going all-in on their Belt and Road Initiative and the Made In China 2025 Initiative, the CCP knows that it needs a hail mary play in order to stabilize its nation long enough to reinvigorate its population. However, even with their move to urbanize and industrialize even their rural population, they just do not have the demography to bounce back from this. 

Heck, urbanization and industrialization will in all likelihood make the population issue worse. Birth rates go down the more developed a nation is, not up. The fact of the matter is that even if China can dominate global trade with the Belt and Road or it dominates the technological sector with MIC2025, both of which are already getting pushback from other nations and are on shaky ground, that doesn’t solve any of the problems. None of these are problems that can just be made to go away with an injection of global capital. China NEEDS India’s water, and just as pressingly it recognizes the threat that India poses to its Asian hegemony. If China does nothing, India WILL overtake it as a regional power.

So, there are plenty of reasons why China would both want and NEED to start a large-scale conflict with its neighbors… but what does America have to do with this? Everything. To start with, polarization. Political unrest. A significant majority of people no longer have faith in basic institutions, even American democracy itself, and this mistrust and dissatisfaction runs deep and across the aisle. It has long been understood as a basic tenet of political theory that people search for internal enemies only when they are not sufficiently distracted with external enemies.

That is not to say that declaring war willy-nilly is a particularly viable option, but as I explained earlier, China has more than enough reason to make bold plays. Like damming India’s water, or just straight up invading. India, America’s ally. I see no real reason why an unprovoked attack against India would not be met with force of arms by the United States military, especially with a warhawk in office, and as explained earlier: The US does not have the dependence on China it once did.

Relations between the US and China are at concerning lows at the moment, and in light of the actions of the outgoing Trump administration, I don’t see that getting ANY better even if Biden and Jinping wanted to reconcile.

So, why is this all a good thing? Because of geopolitics. As I mentioned earlier, the US is eminently defensible as every major war it has fought since the Civil War has shown. With no real rivals in marching distance, and all the right connections and skills to be an economic powerhouse, all the US has to do is hold itself together and she will be the Belle of the postwar Ball. It has long been documented that large scale wars drive technological innovation, combine that with America being in a good position to reindustrialize to meet the demands of both the wartime militarization and the post-war rebuilding in Asia and Europe, and we are in just as good a place to capitalize off WWIII as we were in WWII.

The war is going to cause massive labor shortages, China and India having a punchup on their own is going to drop the global population by a noticeable amount. If Russia decides to make a move on Europe, that will be all the more devastating. However, I do not see that as being likely. Russia is not in nearly the precarious situation that China is in, and if anything I could see China and Russia coming to odds over Russian interests in Central Asia and the Middle East. Not to mention that China, being starved for resources, could see pillaging Russian Asia as worth the trouble. That’s especially speculative, however. More likely is Russia staying out of the war beyond at most defensive measures, hoping to capitalize on the war in the same way America would.

With the oil reserves, stable economy, industrial capacity, and manpower this could easily have them supplant China as the regional power. Especially likely given the fact that South Korea and Japan are probably going to see crippling attacks on them by North Korea. Though, if that does come to fruition then it’ll be a boon for the Republic of Korea in the long run as I don’t see any situation in which they do not annex the north. Even if one or both are reduced to rubble in the process. This could also lead to a resurgent Cold War as the US and Russia vie to capitalize on a resurgent and redeveloping Asian economy.

As mentioned earlier, the main conflict that the US is going to see is a naval campaign in the South and East China Sea as the US Navy protects its assets in Japan and the Korean Peninsula as well as allies in the Philippines and Taiwan. They would also seek to blockade China by sea. I don’t see this as being particularly difficult for the US, at least in terms of US losses, however, whether it can effectively shut down China and North Korea in order to minimize losses from our allies in the area remains to be seen. Still, even in the best-case scenario, I expect this to be an ugly and protracted fight. That is nothing, however, compared to the situation in India.

A land war fought between India and China will be a bloodbath on a scale never seen in human history, and that’s just those two. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal… I could easily see this conflict reducing the global population by as much if not more than the Mongol Invasion or Black Death. That’s not even taking into account China cutting off India’s water supply, which will be a major objective of the conflict on China’s side.

Still, this can only last as long as China can sustain it. In my assessment, I can’t see the current regime in China holding power for very long. Even with the nationalist frenzy of war. Not the least of the problems is China’s current instability, they are stretched nearly to the breaking point as is and a bloody and protracted war with diminishing resources and massive losses on every front… Even if they are “winning” that will do nothing to solve the underlying problems. China is going to have a population collapse, sending the young people off to die is only going to throw fuel on that particular fire. This war was never one fought to rule the world or anything, it was just one more in a long line of efforts by the CCP to hold the pieces of a fractured country with a decaying establishment together for a few years more.

In other words, this is a risky and invasive surgery on a dying man to make him a little more comfortable in his last days. Even if he doesn’t bleed out on the table, he is certainly not leaving the hospital.

How well things go for the US is going to come down to how much of the Asian economy is going to remain post-war, and that all comes down to how well that we can harrow China and defend our allies. With the South China Sea trade routes locked down, and Russia likely refusing to supply China with oil, all we have to do is bunker down and focus on disrupting troop movements, supply lines, and infrastructure in support of the Indian front and wait for the Chinese war machine to starve itself to death. I don’t see any massive frontline assaults by American boots on the ground, but even if there are boots on the ground this conflict will not have the issues of the Middle East or Vietnam because this will largely be fought in allied territory and open fields. If China does push into the more jungled areas of India, then they would be the ones getting ‘Nam’d. So, once again, bloody and protracted. Not a good situation for China to be in.

So, a devastating war to be sure. Especially considering the importance of Asia for the global economy in general, and America’s in particular. However, and as stated before, this will leave America in a particularly good spot to not only bounce back from but also giving it fertile soil to help grow a new Asian economy from the ashes. One stronger than ever before, and one more integrated into the American economy and indebted to the American military than ever before.

I am at a loss as to what the situation with China will be post-war, I could easily see China breaking apart as it has time and time again in its history. I could also see American occupation in the vein of post-war Japan, perhaps with the Republic of China government put back into power depending on how Taiwan fared in the war. Maybe even some sort of Sykes-Picot agreement shenanigans. Who knows.


Capitlism Undermines Democracy

By Deviant Crow

It’s very often you hear patriotic fools brag about freedom and democracy in America, and don’t let my words be misinterpreted. Freedom and democracy are very cool things, however, to say that those things have a major place in America is somewhat misleading. Sure you’re allowed to say whatever you want and vote for whoever you want, out of the few options you are given that might not always fit in your views and are often undermined by capitalism which I’ll go on about in just a bit. You have any job you want, if you already have enough economical security to ensure you can work to get any job you want, something that is never ever guaranteed in America. And of course, a phrase I’m really getting sick of hearing is “You can vote with your wallet!” A lot of people say that without realizing how bad that sounds. To be fair you can in fact vote with your wallet, you better just hope that wallet is big enough.

Now we get on to how Capitalism inherently undermines democracy. A great example would be American health care. If you look at recent statistics like the one in Survey of U.S. adults conducted July 17th to August 2nd, 2020, among the public a great majority of them agree that it should be the government's responsibility to provide healthcare. If most Americans are pro-free healthcare, how come it’s not a thing in America? Quite simply really, America highly favors the for-profit nature of health care because medical insurance companies favor money over humans lives. And of course, these medical insurance companies often have a big wallet to make not bribes, but political donations which should just be considered bribes at this point.

Now a nonce would say “Well if people don’t like how medical insurance works, they vote with their waller, all hail democracy and capitalism.” Because not paying medical insurance and having to pay for the intentionally overpriced medicine and medical goods is a sure and easy bet anyone could make, oh wait they can’t. American medical care is positioned in such a way where you have to pay for it and life sucks or you don’t pay for it and life really sucks. Of course, with things like the Affordable Care Act, or as it’s most commonly known Obamacare, it’s been easier for some people to get better and cheaper healthcare. But not everyone is guaranteed Obamacare. 

To qualify for Obamacare you have to be in a certain poverty level, you have to not be making more than $51,040 a year. Before you think that sounds like a lot, that means you’re making about $4,250 a month, which honestly is not all that much considering that the average hospital costs around $11,700 dollars. And oh let’s not forget the multiple screwy rules medical insurance companies have to get out of covering you and leaving you to pay out of pocket. There is simply no voting with your wallet out this one if you can barely pay for a hospital visit.

Of course, being screwed over by medical care in America is not the only thing you have to worry about, you also have to worry about your job. For years the minimum wage has been too low. A recent article by CNBC has shown that people working full time with the minimum wage can not afford rent. As for me personally, since I am one of those lucky people who have to work making burgers for a living, I can tell you right now that working full time would hardly be considered the luckier option since I’m not given enough hours a month to pay for my share of bills that are around $300. About six in ten Americans, that’s 62% of Americans, agree that the minimum wage should be more than $15 an hour, yet it has barely happened throughout the US. Only a handful of progressive cities have a $15 minimum wage, including DC, New York City, Seattle, and a few others. This is because politicians are given those lovely political donations to not do that. Of course, there are politicians that actually think that raising the minimum wage is a bad thing but even then those people are rather greedy assholes or are idiots who very likely only got into politics because of the money they have.

Speaking of politicians and the money they have, that's another problem. Most politicians that grow into power are rather wealthy or get paid a lot by corporations via political donations and are wealthy. Even politicians that actually want to help people like Bernie Sanders do take these political donations, because, to be honest, money is needed. I’m not gonna act like someone could grow power in politics without those political donations, however, it’s really shitty that most politicians can essentially be bought.

If it isn’t obvious, Capitalism undermines democracy because when you make more money you have the power to influence politicians into doing things even if those things end up screwing over the majority of people. This kind of bribery should be outlawed, but that’s not very likely to happen because you know, corporations have been getting away with this for so long for a reason, it’s because they make sure to keep it in their way.

Now there’s a major and high chance you already know this but might’ve had problems putting it into words when trying to convince people how this works. Well now hopefully you do. And the biggest question of all's how to combat this issue. To be honest, my best guess would be to stop voting for moderates and vote for people like Bernie Sanders, or people in third parties, but to be fair that is kinda risky. But to be frank, after seeing a lot of what Trump did continue to be done by the Biden Administration it’s becoming more and more of an appealing option and I hope others feel that way as the years go by.

The Seven Deadly Sins

By Pink And Black

The 7 deadly or cardinal sins, as defined by Pope Gregory I (540-604) are a system of classification of vices, intended to steer Catholics away from sin. While the deadly sins are still often used as a literary reference, the use of the cardinal sins as a moral guide has fallen out of favor. The sins don't reflect modern values well enough to be taken seriously. But I think they still have value. Not as a reference for how to behave, but as a reference for how to be liked. In order to be well-liked by the people around you, you must avoid these sins. To demonstrate this, let's imagine a small farming community and the most hated person in it, Jerry. 

1. Avaritia, or Greed

Greed is one of the easiest of the cardinal sins to explain. Greed is the desire for more. Specifically, physical things.

Take Jerry for example. Jerry constantly desired more money, and as such stole a large portion of the harvest in order to sell later. When Jerry's theft was discovered, it enraged everybody else in the community. If Jerry had successfully stolen the harvest, there wouldn't have been enough to go around.

2. Luxuria, or Lust

Lust is often understood as the desire for sex. This is an oversimplification. While that is part of it, it is better understood as the desire for non-physical things.

Being attracted to other people is perfectly normal, but Jerry won't shut up about it. He constantly makes other people around him extremely uncomfortable, and refuses to admit wrongdoing when called out.

3. Gula, or Gluttony

Gluttony isn't really about desire in the way that greed or lust is. It's about taking more than you need.

When the harvest is done and all the grain has been gathered up, it is distributed to everybody. But Jerry always finds an excuse to get more. He might feign an illness or injury or starve himself for a bit to make it look like he isn't getting enough. While people have eventually wised up to his tricks, he ended up getting a lot more food than he needs because of it.

4. Acedia, or Sloth

As you might imagine, the other side of gluttony is sloth, which is contributing less than what you should.

It's easy to imagine what Jerry did wrong here. He doesn't put in the proper amount of work that he should have. More specifically, he hires others to plow the field for him. While doing this (in this context) isn't morally wrong, it does make other people very frustrated, as he isn't doing that work himself.

5. Invidia, or Envy

Envy is another sin that relates to desire. But this time the differentiating factor isn't the physicality, but who it belongs to. It is the desire for something that belongs to someone else.

Nobody ever invites Jerry over for anything anymore. Whenever he comes over, he will constantly eye your things, and unless you're keeping a close watch on them or have bolted it to the floor, he will steal it. 

6. Superbia, or Pride

Pride is another simple one. It is thinking too highly of yourself, especially when what you believe doesn't match reality. 

Pride is one of Jerry's worst sins. Despite how much of an asshole he is, people still might be able to be friends with him if he acknowledged his wrongdoing and tried to improve as a person. But of course, Jerry sees himself as infallible, and explains away everything with, "you'd do the same if you had the opportunity,"

7. Ira, or Wrath

Lastly is wrath. Wrath is the tendency to be quick to anger, to have a short temper. 

Whenever people try and bring Jerry to be accountable for his actions, it rarely ends well for them. Whenever he faces punishment, he blows into a massive fury and lashes out at whoever punished him, often leading to violence. 

So remember to keep in mind the lesson from Jerry. Don't participate in any of the 7 deadly sins. At the very least, it will keep you from being hated by the people around you.

The War in Afghanistan is Finally Ending

The USA’s Withdrawal Shows that the World’s Largest Military Can Choose Not to be Everywhere

By Monstromax

This past April, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan this year, ending a war that has stretched on for 20 years and three presidencies. The last personnel are set to leave by September 11, 2021 – a deeply symbolic date. It was evident to all informed listeners that the President had taken the sage advice of one of today’s great philosophical communities: Da Share Z0ne.

To many people, including many veterans and military personnel, the end to the war in Afghanistan came as a welcome end to a conflict that had already dragged on too long. Others, however, did not share this relief.

Neoconservative war hawks at a dozen think tanks could be heard for miles around letting out agonized, banshee-like shrieks. Former President George “Double You” Bush looked up from painting pictures of the young men he’d sent to be maimed and mumbled something about how he was disappointed, presumably because he wanted a war crime high score of some kind. And soon, many articles and opinion pieces were being written about how ending the war was in fact probably a bad idea.

A common theme among many of these concern pieces has been that the war is ending prematurely and that the region will be left insecure if America withdraws now. Since April, hands have been wrung about the Taliban reclaiming power in much of Afghanistan, about radical Islamist cells being empowered throughout the Middle East, and about the rights of women in the area.

These issues are, of course, all reasonable and legitimate concerns in their proper context. Most commentators in the media bringing them up, however, don’t seem to be doing so out of legitimate concern. It’s a safe bet that the writers for National Review, Fox News, and a host of other pro-war outlets have not thought about women’s rights in Afghanistan since the last time someone proposed an end to the war. This war was never about women’s rights.

As for the concerns about the Taliban and other Islamist forces regaining territory, this begs a question – why are these groups in such a position to reclaim control even at the moment that US troops are leaving? If the Taliban is so strong now, what has been accomplished over the past 20 years of combat?

Why has the military with the highest budget in the world (by a wide margin), working with the help of at least six other nations at various times, not been able to defeat them? What more should be done to prevent them from gaining power that has not already been done? How many more military and civilian casualties are needed? How many more decades should the United States stay in Afghanistan?

The fact of the matter is that the war in Afghanistan, like the Iraq war that came later, was initiated under false pretenses in order to secure American political and economic interests. The Bush Administration may have issued an ultimatum to Afghanistan’s Taliban government to hand over Osama Bin Laden following 9/11, but it made no such ultimatum to Saudi Arabia, a country whose leadership had a much stronger connection to the Bin Laden family and the cells that had orchestrated the September 11th attacks. You can’t upset your allies, you see, especially not when they have that hot, sticky oil you love so much.

Well, Osama Bin Laden is now dead (unless you’re into some really, er, different theories) and the combat has stretched on so long that the children of veterans who fought in Afghanistan are now doing tours of duty in the same war. Approximately 47,000 Afghan civilians are dead. There is no reason to think that the United States military will pull off a miraculous turnaround and transform Afghanistan into the Colorado of the middle east if we give them another year. I don’t know what challenges might come to Afghanistan once the US has left, but the American military’s presence has not shown itself to guarantee lasting peace. It’s time to leave it be.

As America leaves the War in Afghanistan, this overdue end of aggression should also prompt the USA to reevaluate its foreign involvement elsewhere. From hostilities in Syria to arms deals that fuel the Yemeni Civil War, there are many places where the United States’ involvement is neither helping people on the ground nor securing ongoing peace in a meaningful way.

Fortunately, the USA has the option not to be in these places. As our friends at Da Share Z0ne so wisely put it, “If it sucks… hit da bricks!!”