Post-Unification German Security Policy and Interdependence Theory

Posted in Economics, Germanophilia on April 30th, 2001 by Дмитрий

One of the most persistent problems facing today’s Germany involve obtaining acceptance by her neighbors and peers as a major international player; a Big Power, if you will. Whether facing criticism for her foreign policy or complaints about the liberal trade and economic policy she espouses, misunderstanding Germany is a key characteristic in today’s international relations. In a way, Germano-skepticism has existed for over one hundred years. British imperial rhetoric at the turn of the century often described Germany as the most dangerous threat to British hegemony, and French ambitions for European cultural hegemony have often felt threatened by the preeminence of German influence over the continent. Though few would be willing to forgive Germany her role in this century’s two devastating World Wars, her post-War record has still not managed to secure her the liberty to play the role any other state in such a position would likely take. With unification and the fall of Soviet primacy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Germany has been offered an enormous opportunity to spread Western influence and affluence throughout the region. Despite the huge costs of reunification in the midst of a regional economic slump, Germany faces no realistic economic rival in Europe, and the size of her population and their productive power are still the envy of every other major European state.

Still, there remain significant roadblocks in the near future which will continue to prevent Germany from assuming a global, or even regional, role befitting her statistical great power status. These include a reluctance on the part of France to give up her preeminent position as Europe’s center of gravity, a continued paranoia throughout the Anglo-American and Eastern Slavic realms of any signs of German national power, and the reluctance of Germany’s people and leaders to take the initiative necessary to pivot their nation into the position awaiting it as regional leader and global player.

Interdependence theory is an important foundation for understanding Germany¯s place in the current geopolitical context. Because it is rooted in classic liberalism and the understanding of the modern trading state, interdependence is capable of explaining many of the theoretical bases upon which the behavior of successive German governments and the population of Germany itself rests since the Second World War. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between German foreign and security policy and interdependence theory. My goal is to demonstrate that interdependence theory is the most accurate representation of the theoretical basis for contemporary German foreign and security policy, and also show the outcomes of such a theoretical foundation in the visible direction such policy has taken. Because it is the most important foreign policy matter for Germany today, I will place special emphasis upon the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia. By examining Germany¯s role in this matter, I intend to relate how this reflects her role as a supporter of Western institutions, and what it promises for the future. Finally, Germany’s position in Europe and the world will continue their slow and tricky ascent towards regional and global power in the years to come, and this paper is also intended to answer those questions regarding whether Germany’s spotless post-War liberal record is in danger because of this ascent.

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Public Property: The Antithesis of Freedom

Posted in Economics, Rants on November 1st, 2001 by Дмитрий

The only moral use of force is in self-defense. However, governments use force (through the legal system, which is maintained by the police and the military) every day, whether to uphold rights (which is the moral and just role of the government) or in the dubious effort to maintain “social order” whether this means controlling what is commentary and what is smut, or controlling who can live where on what income. Because the state can use coercion legally - unlike individuals and businesses, who must break the law in order to coerce - state activity in the realm of economics is immoral, since economic activity, in order to be just, must be based upon consent - not coercion.

However, millennia of state coercion has lowered individual expectations of freedom, and eliminated the desire to pursue a principled morality in society today. Most individuals base their political opinions not on what is right, but on what is the most expedient way to make the state function in their favor. This has resulted not only in an unjust society and legal system, but in an atmosphere of pressure-group warfare, where all battle all for government favors, in an aristocracy of political pull. Several specific institutions are directly indicative of this: health care, education, property rights, and social welfare.

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The Green Party: Neo-Fascism

Posted in Economics, Rants on November 12th, 2001 by Дмитрий

The Nazi party of depression-era Germany is uncannily similar to the emerging Green Party in America. In ideology, political agenda and economic policy, it is almost frightening to review the implications on Americans should the Green Party ever come to a position of political influence.

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How to End Coercion

Posted in Economics, Rants on November 30th, 2001 by Дмитрий

I have often been told that there is no way to escape the reality of government coercion: governments have to do a dirty job, and they must make and enforce laws which aren’t always fair or just, and these laws must be enforced and policed with police and guns. I’ve been told that this fact of life cannot be overcome. Although most people are willing to admit that some regulations and laws are out of control - from smoking bans to the war on drugs to laws against homosexuality, most people still feel that the government has no choice but to handle things such as collecting taxes and enforcing traffic laws under penalty of imprisonment.

Just because most individuals don’t find a moral problem with state coercion, the consensus that it is therefore the correct way for a human being to live in society is not necessarily the right conclusion. This essay is in answer to this widely-held notion. I intend to prove that, in fact, a just, honest and self-reliant society is possible without the constant spectre of government force hanging over it.

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Posted in Economics on December 26th, 2001 by Дмитрий

Well, I didn’t really get all that much for Xmas. But my credit cards are paid down and just begging to compensate, so that’s what I’ll be doing today.

In addition to reviewing a substantial collection of old audio and video tapes that I dug up at ma & pa’s house over the holiday. It’s weird how I always think little kids are kinda annoying, then when I hear/see myself being one of them, I realize that I was once kinda annoying myself… I’m glad I don’t have to be around them too often.

I have one particularly annoying tape of myself at age 3 or so, trying really hard to sing America and Christopher Cross tunes. And TV jingles. Don’t count on seeing them posted here any time soon…


Posted in About Me, Economics on December 27th, 2001 by Дмитрий

Incredibly enjoying the vacation so far, but I’ll probably be enjoying it even more tomorrow, after I have good company to share it with.

I managed to post a travelogue of the short road trip I took with David (and which he graciously shot the pics for) last weekend.

I’ve finished all of my relentless consumerism for the next few months, but among the orgy was a ForMac Studio, which will help eliminate my dependence on David or scanners for my site pics. It may also speed up the process of getting road trips and Fresno info posted.

This will prolly be my last posting of the year. What began as one of the worst years on record (and continued as one of the most ominous ones in my life), is ending on an especially optimistic and benevolent note. Taking stock of my life and the world in which I live it, I’m pretty damn happy. But don’t let that make the rants stop, I know.

My official new years albums are: Staring at Nothing by Sleepover Disaster, because it’s my pick 2001, and Central Reservation by Beth Orton, becaause it’s currently on heavy rotation, I’m in love with it, and it kicks ass. Happy new year to all.


Posted in Economics, Health on January 3rd, 2002 by Дмитрий

I filed my state taxes today. The Feds won’t take my return until the 10th, so not only did I not get Dubya’s $300 extortion refund, I have to wait those additional excruciating days to find out how much my real extortion refund will be.

Anyway, Sacramento was kind to me, and I may actually be able to afford that iPod before the month is over… And the printer too… The Xmas disappointment may be made up after I hear from Uncle Sam.

The stomach still feels like a pressurized tin can at 40,000 feet, and I’m starting to think that it could all be the fact that I haven’t had a good Fresno Mexican meal in almost 2 weeks. I usually manage to fit about 2 in each week, considering Fresno’s got some of the best authentic Mexican food around. I think I may just go grab some take-out tomorrow and polish it all off, and hope that I don’t have to immediately bolt to the toilet afterwards. But it may actually cure me…

On the plus side of my health issues, the coffee shop last night convinced me that my original goal of giving up cigarettes after I ran out isn’t soon enough. I threw away the last of my cigs today, and don’t plan on lighting again. Not even cloves or cigars, which were usually my vice-of-last-resort during my ‘quitting’ phases. With the stomach ailment still going, any thought of smoking just makes me nauseated right now.

So I go to watch Family Guy and they managed to remove it again. Bloody hell.


Posted in Economics on January 23rd, 2002 by Дмитрий

Andrea mentioned the recent Kmart demise, and it made me reflect on all the hoopla about Enron lately.

Most people are parading Enron’s affect on the economy as proof that capitalism is bad. I beg to differ. Everyone who lost money in the Enron case deserves what they got. Including the pensioners, investors, speculators and governments. If you invest in something without properly understanding the viability of your returns, you get what you deserve. If you’re accepting the lies of dubious figures and even more dubious executives, you are merely paying for your lack of reserach or gullability. Capitalism promises the best way for smart people to get filthy rich. It also promises the best way for scoundrels and dunces to lose their shirts. Capitalism is thus synonymous with justice.

Then there’s Kmart, which has now burnt the company I work for, yet is still being allowed to stay in business. They call it “debt reoganization”, when in fact it’s involuntary debt forgivance. I think Ch11 bankrupcy should be illegal. If you can’t afford to pay your lenders or if you cook your books in order to trick the market, you shouldn’t stay in business *at all*.

Fortunately, it looks like Enron won’t be so lucky. I’ve actually been reading up quite a bit on the Enron debacle. In that case, credit raters, brokers, shareholders, customers, contractors and lenders all conspired to deny reality and ignore the law of identity, just so they felt secure about all the money they were pouring into a house-of-cards company. And then everyone gets surprised when they lose money over it. Verifies my position that in any situation, reality is the final arbiter.

One thing which always made me laugh about the “new” economy (when it was still a buzzword) was that the only thing all the new firms which were making up that new economy had in common was their ability to convince markets that they were viable even though they never turned a profit, and survived by geometrically increasing their debts. Sort of like most every other yuppie of my generation.

[2007 Note: Having since watched The Smartest Guys In The Room, I will confirm that I still feel this way. The fact that there were tons of people before and during the scandal who repeatedly wanted to say “something ain’t right” points to mass delusion as the only reason things like this happen. If you pretend everything is OK you start to believe that it is. Pity reality tends to catch up with you eventually.]

Milosevic Has a Point

Posted in Economics on February 13th, 2002 by Дмитрий

I’ve never been a fan of supernational law, and there is a very rational reason for this. By accepting citizenship of a nation, one accepts the rights of that nation’s government to enforce its law on oneself. An individual has as much a right to choose the state he wishes to live in as he has a right to be governed by consent. This is why majority rule must never infringe on individual rights (though it often does).

The fact is, Yugoslavia has never agreed to be accountable before any international body. Being a member of the United Nations does not obligate any individual state to participate in the institutions managed by that organization. The UN is effectively a mere NGO, and its institutions are member created, and all are voluntary. Even membership in the UN is voluntary. I admire the Swiss for their discipline in avoiding the irrational (and expensive) entanglements of membership in the UN or its institutions.

The fact that an international court is trying Milosevic for crimes which were not committed under any Court jurisdiction (as defined by the consent of the offender) is a mockery of justice. I admire Milosevic for his refusal to recognise the justice in the proceedings against him. His trial is analogous to Chechen rebells trying an ethnic Russian for not following Chechen Islamic law, or America trying a Saudi terrorist in an American court for crimes committed in Israel. In any case, a trial is only just when the court has a documented and recognised jurisdiction over the case at hand.

Milosevic has said that his trial is illegal. This is true. If he has committed crimes against specific Yugoslav or Albanian citizens or residents, it is the reposability of Yugoslavia or Albania (or the budding sovereignty of Kosovo) to try him. If they choose to delegate their jurisdiction to an international or foreign body (none of them have), then the trial would hold water. As it is, Milosevic is now a political prisoner, and as such, he is behaving appropriately at his “trial”. By refusing to enter a plea, he is justifiably withholding his consent and sanction from an alien court wishing to hold him responsible for laws he never agreed to be held accountable to.

Would that America would take heed to the persecution of Milosevic and his government, and quickly and decisively remove itself from these unjust and wicked international organizations - the United Nations being the worst. I have written my congressmen: “Get us out, now! .” Would that others followed suit…

Smoke and Mirrors

Posted in Economics, Fresno on February 20th, 2002 by Дмитрий

I’m glad we’re finally taking the Bay Area to court. We may not (and I actually hope we don’t) enforce anything as far as actually reducing Bay Area pollution production, but hopefully the end result of the case is an affirmation that making the Central Valley responsible for 100% of its air quality problems overlooks the fact that most of our pollution sees its source esewhere.

Anyone who knows my political opinions would understand that I’m in no way a fan of environmental laws, epecially when they get in the way of commerce. But in the recent case, Sacramento is trying to tell their southern counterparts that we need to reduce our smog or lose the federal money that we produced but that they control. This pisses me off even more, and thus think we need some sort of official recognition that most (yes, most) of the San Joaquin basin’s pollution is produced in the Bay Area.

Ultimately, industrial pollution is a side effect of freedom and affluence. We should welcome it. But here we’re dealing with a catalogue of irrational laws - we have to know which to attack first - and I think the “total responsibility” part is a good place to start.

I Weep for You, Sweiz.

Posted in Economics on March 3rd, 2002 by Дмитрий

[This was a comment on Switzerland's decision that day to join the UN... centuries and centuries of rational government brought to an end in one simple majority vote...]

Trade Free

Posted in Economics on March 6th, 2002 by Дмитрий

Anyone who knows their history remembers that world trade barriers were at historical highs during the Great Depression. For some reason, world governments saw tariffs and sanctions as a method of stimulating (!) their economies. The result? More than a decade of stagnation worldwide. 
Since when were higher prices, making enemies and restricting trade a good idea?

I could go on for pages and pages about how tariffs do nothing to repair dying industries, and how American steel ain’t no better than Korean steel, but I guess I’m being presumptuous by assuming it’s self-evident. Steel is steel. Dubya is being yet another special-interest toy by slapping tariffs on foreign products of any type, regardless of his excuse. If Koreans are willing to dump steel on us at a loss, all the better. Our prices for cars and other products will go down. That’s the market. It’s not our responsibility to check the morals or motives of our peers or trading partners. Winning bidders take all.

Would that American politicians realized that if you free your trade, the rest will follow…

First USA

Posted in Economics on March 16th, 2002 by Дмитрий

Lonely day. But I did manage to spend about 3 hours of it on the line with various customer service centers, and have added First USA Bank to the list of companies I hate and will no longer do business with. And you may also want to reconsider my earlier Earthlink reccommendation. Come to think of it, I don’t know if there is a good telecoms company out there…

Price Gouging Through 2002’s Eyes

Posted in Economics on April 30th, 2002 by Дмитрий

I’m getting really sick of the media creating new scandals as soon as real news runs dry. What makes me even sicker is when the lemming-like masses follow the media’s every word as if it were the most intellectual of discourse. Today I’m thinking of the new gas-price scandals, but there are numerous other examples (Quiz Show scandals most readily come to mind) where there was no initial wrong-doing on the part of anyone being accused, but the media sort of created a panic which mobilizes the unthinking masses and the government eventually steps in and curtails political or personal or economic freedoms in order to appear to be acting on an issue, when in fact there was never a problem. 
Repeat after me: Oil is the property of its producers. We are not being forced to purchase their product. They can charge whatever they want. If we think it’s too much, we stop buying it. End of story.

Americans are so horribly spoiled. Our tarrif walls are rather low and taxes more reasonable on petrol than most of the industrial world. Combine this with the fact that we also produce a lot more domestic oil than most industrial nations (the North Sea states, Canada and Australia being the only real exceptions), and you’ll see that oil prices were increadibly reasonable here even during the crisis eras of the late 70s and early 90s.

Oil users in Germany, Japan, France, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe all pay increadibly higher prices that we, and this is because their import charges are higher, their gas taxes are higher, and they are much smaller markets. Think of the way clothes in little boutique shops on Rodeo Drive are often double the cost of equivalent clothes from Macy’s or Emporium. This is because larger markets create an economy of scale which reduces overhead and administrative costs. Each of those little boutiques requires the same administrative infrastructure that the whole Macy’s corporation has.

As you see this “price-gouging” scandal unfold, keep in mind that at least you can afford to buy an SUV, let alone fuel it. Americans have such a high standard of living primarily because we live in an increadibly affordable country. We spend about half the money Frenchmen spend on housing, and about a third the amount Japanese spend on transit - this despite the fact that there’s more than 100 times the distance to cover for an equivalent population here in the states. Appreciate the fact that American oil companies have the freedom to mass their resources and provide us with high-quality, affordably-priced fuel, and that we not only have the freedom to choose between 87 and 91 octane (Columbians have only one choice: 66 octane), but that we can always choose to carpool, telecommute, or bicycle. If you’re honestly upset with the price of gas, stop buying the shit.

Would that all the Microsoft-protestors stopped complaining about an unfair monopoly and just started using something else. I’ve said it before and I say it again: consumers always have far more power than they think.


Posted in Economics on April 30th, 2002 by Дмитрий

Another thing about the media that’s pissing me off today: all these headlines saying “Musharraf Faces Referrendum”. How can a military dictator be “facing” a referrendum when he called it and can veto its result? In all likelihood, he’ll win the poll and get 5 more years of faux-legitimate rule in Pakistan, but that won’t change the fact that he is a military dictator.

Since his coup, Musharraf has twisted the Pakistani constitution to a state where it barely resembles its prior self, and just about all constitutional checks and balances, as well as most democratic credentials for the country, have been removed entirely. Like his counterparts in most of Latin America, Africa and Asia, General Musharraf is yet another dictator endeavoring to obtain legitimacy through phony polls and constitutional amnesia. Admittedly, Pakistan was increadibly disfunctional before he siezed power, but at least it had a democratically elected government in place. After he installed himself as president, he disbanded the parliament, replaced the constitutional courts and almost all judges, and replaced the entire executive office and cabinet with his own military cronies.

The most common thing dictators share is their inability to allow checks on themselves, or to share power among branches of government. This is why amost all dictatorships integrate their military into the government. Unlike most Western democracies, which have a civilian commander-in-chief and a government which makes decisions for the military (rather than vice-versa), autocracies use the infrastructure of the military to govern their people. If Musharraf believes he can maintain such a system and at the same time fool anyone into believing he heads a democratic country, he’s far more dense than even the American government thinks.

So go ahead with your phony poll, Mister General, Sir. You’ll win, because you’ve declared the opposition illegal and because your cronies are “guarding” the polling booths with guns. You’ll be winning the same kind of legitimacy Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin won when they staged their own polls. America will continue to use you for what you’re worth, and your people will continue to starve and kill each other. What a great country you’ll have, indeed.