Category Archives: Social Media

When Being Small is a Plus

In international relations, being powerful is, according to many realists, the only metric that matters. Forget your morals, ideals, strategies, etc, what actually matters is pure power. In Nye’s brilliant The Future of Power, he explains how things aren’t that simple.

There are ways that a smaller state, or power, can use its subservient position vis-à-vis a larger friend, actually can gain power or can use that position in the relationship to it’s advantage. While reading ForeignPolicy.com today, I was struck by an complimentary example – evidence – of this very idea: Chechnya.

In “The Chechen Gambit,” Tatia Lemondzhava, energy analyst from the World Bank, writes about how Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov is playing his subservient role to his advantage. Kadyrov in, perhaps, a performative public propaganda-dance announced that he will not run for re-election coming up when his term ends on April 5. The author writes that Kadyrov “has consistently used the political capital he has amassed since assuming office to bargain for dividends from the Kremlin.” You see, Lemondzhava’s point here is that Kadyrov doesn’t actually intend to step down. What he wants to happen is to force Russian president Vladimir Putin to go on-the-record and, essentially, beg and/or urge Kadyrov to reconsider.

This is a brilliant gambit.

Putin’s hands are tied because for the last decade or so he has relied on Kadyrov to maintain order in the Sunni North of Chechnya. The analyst reports that in a time of austerity, Kadyrov’s region is the sole region to receive more as opposed to less aid in the recent years. Kadyrov’s supporters planned on taking to the streets regarding his decision; they started a social media campaign, too. Kadyrov urged his supporters to be patient: Putin will come to the rescue, guys, trust me, is the implication.

“The largest state does not always win in the manipulation of economic interdependence,” writes Nye. Kadyrov’s move is equivalent to threatening retaliatory actions, in a way. It’s also an example of realpolitik, perhaps: is the alternative worse? Putin will most definitely answer with the affirmative: yes, indeed, this is why I will come out and urge Kadyrov to stay. This is not zero-sum, of course. Russian benefits by not having to deal with potential upheaval. Chechya retains it’s popular leader. Kadyrov gains even more prestige.

I encourage readers to read the whole article as it’s a fascinating example of how a lesser power who completely relies on a large power can use it’s seemingly subservient position to it’s advantage.

We are Living Through the Extremes of the CultureWarification of Our Discourse

[In response to http://mic.com/articles/115430/gwyneth-paltrow-has-no-idea-what-living-on-29-a-week-is-actually-like%5D

Liberals finally confront Paltrow over her anti-vaccine dangerous pseudo-science. Just kidding, that would be rational and backed by empiricism and could actually influence how celebrities speak in public. (Do not read this as me advocating for me calling for tons of think pieces on Paltrow in that regard, you might wanna direct your rage at the U.S. Congress. Better yet: vote.)

What are they mad about?

Certain sections (the mad as fuck delusional idealistic juvenile sect) of the left are mad at Gwyneth Paltrow for engaging in a symbolic gesture. Meanwhile, states [those lower organized governmental entities that have elections which you don’t vote in] around the country – like the one I live in which saw only 32% of all registered voters vote, one of the lowest turnouts in the COUNTRY – are finishing up budgets that are devastating to the working poor, minorities, children, and the old, and all of us.

It’s not a smart point to say that Paltrow is out of touch. She literally is worth, allegedly, upwards of $120 million. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. This yahoo writes, in his horribly written and literally non sequitur filled word splatter, that: Paltrow needs to realize how out of touch she is. Good job for “punching up,” you are being a good little automaton warrior. Not really. You also write that she was undoubtedly trying to shine a light on poverty which literally is a word that almost no politician hardly ever uses and you find time to write this piece that literally has and should not have any materially influence at all.

You say that she needs to get in touch? She’s not going to. Also, with the kind of social distance that she necessarily has due to her privilege, and wealth, for example, she cannot put herself in the position that nearly half of all Americans are in which is one emergency away from bankruptcy. Anything whatsoever that Paltrow could ever do alone will always be symbolic. Probably read up on estates taxes, offshore accounts, the anti-IRS right wing money making corporate machine, Thomas Piketty, the tax system in general, prison reform, state elections, legislators, the vile Fix the Debt group, the housing crisis, the bailout, welfare reform in the 90s, I could go on forever. Probably start with the brain though and Homo sapiens.

And why does she need to? She’s a liberal so if she votes she will probably vote for a Democrat which regardless of the similarities, won’t try and cut social service spending. Democratic legislators and governors are vetoing and blocking destructive cuts.

I have already spent too much time on this – my problem, not yours – and it could be tightened up but I had to get something out. Bottom line: Paltrow is out of touch, that is all but irrelevant and Paltrow maybe could have bought different stuff – of course she didn’t because she eats that stuff, presumably, and fuck you for spending so much time and tweet-characters to attack a celebrity which already is the one section of society that for some reason we feel like we have the right to do so. God forbid we start acting so vigilant towards the Blackstone Group, or war criminals, or the kleptocracy, or climate change which is going to kill millions upon millions of us sooner rather than later. Look up climate science and the year 2050.

Also, we need to fucking vote more and run for office (thanks David Graeber) and vote out incumbents who vote out entrenched politicians. And get money out of politics.