Bear With Us

“Bear With Us”
by Nudge

For the younger readers who do not adequately remember the era of unpleasantness commonly referred to in the west as the Cold War, please get yourselves to the library and do some reading on what it was like back then. Even better, talk with people who remember the era well and who can describe what it was like in terms of its effects on popular society, the economy, expectations for the future, politics, education, and so on.

Older readers will recognize the character of the bear in this story:

One of the many things we learned after the fall of the Wall was that our erstwhile asymmetrically-opposed enemies in the east, the Russians, systematically and methodically bankrupted themselves while appearing to be a bold and healthy monolithic entity. (For a fine explanation of the how & why of what they did to their own means of production, please see the section in “Empire of Debt”, freshly reviewed on CFN by Rubber Toe.) In this regard they were sort of like a dead triceratops, very dangerous looking, that simply hadn’t keeled over yet.

All during the latter part of the Cold War era, the Russians were very hard up for “hard currency”, meaning gold or oil or something of high intrinsic value to be sold on the export market. Russia’s consumer goods have never been a hit in the rest of the world, except perhaps Stoly of course, because of their system of prioritizing their production abilities.

For nearly twenty years now we’ve enjoyed having a moribund, poor, disorganized Russia in the east, a Russia that’s lacked the means (diplomatic or otherwise) to oppose the interests of the industrialized western nations ~ even when the action is practically right in its own backyard.

This is a heads-up call to everyone in the room: the era of the poor, drunk, moribund bear is over. No more nice bear. We need to stop thinking of bears as these cuddly, cute, clownish things at the zoo. The bear is an intelligent opportunistic omnivorous apex predator, with emphasis on the “apex” part.

Back during the Cold War era, the Russians (in the form of the USSR) exerted their will over a whole panoply of satellite nations, extending as far west as the former DDR. (OK, that was a strange postwar situation that’s not likely to be repeated.) Where they did not have the means to exert force through economic dominance, they did it through military dominance.

What Russia is very quickly becoming is basically the same sort of nation as before (for all practical purposes, as evidenced by its external actions) but made much richer through oil/gas exports and through the sales of high-tech armaments.

(I’ll skip the usual tired old racist schtik about Russians in general being more prone to accepting commands from a strong leader. The Russians I know personally do not appear to exhibit that characteristic. And I’m ruefully remembering how many so-called “patriots” [not to mention news organizations] here in the UPL lined up behind Bush when he spewed lies about Saddam and incited a war under false pretenses. The “you’re with us or you’re against us” campaign was especially Stalinist in nature ~ and we call ourselves the land of the free? Puh-leaze.)

So much for the unipolar world our neoCON overlords have been imagining for us. Nature abhors a vacuum just as much as she abhors a monopoly on force. Nature likes competition, healthy or otherwise.

I think we’re overdue for some very interesting chess moves from the east. You must remember that some of the very best mathematicians and scientists in the world come from Russia. Their very best is on par with the very best of the west, differences in industrial base notwithstanding. They’re an oil exporting nation too; we’re importing.

If you can imagine something like a reborn USSR, minus the communistic schtik (which, frankly, hobbled Russia in certain ways), plus internet, plus high-tech computer stuff just as good as ours, plus oil wealth, and plus a space program so much better than ours that we rely on it when our own fragile stuff fails ~ well, then maybe you can see where this is going.

With the UPL now spending more than the entire rest of the world (combined) on our military, we are perhaps well along on the process of following the USSR’s example of bankrupting ourselves through wars of aggression in the ME. (Afghanistan is just the frosting of irony on the crow cake.)

My favorite example of east vs west thinking was the matter of writing instruments for cosmonauts or astronauts. Where we spent millions making zero-gee ink pens, in some astronomically boondogglish waste of money, they sent their people up with pencils. Duh!

88 Replies to “Bear With Us”

  1. “I was able to get a sense of his soul.” – George Bush on Vladimir Putin, June 2001.

    Never underestimate the Russian people, their patience, the amalgam of East and West that is their psyche and having no qualms in the means of reaching their desired goals.

  2. Great post, right up to the last paragraph. The thing about the pen is urban legend. The Fisher “Space Pen” was developed by Fisher first, then aggressively marketed to NASA.

    Doesn’t make the rest of it any less true, though. It’s said that Russians are generally the best chess players… makes you wonder if they sandbagged themselves so we’d overreach, then they could regroup & clean up the floor with the rest of the world.

    ‘Course, there’s still China to be reckoned with… and on their own back porch.

  3. Nudge,
    Nice post. With today’s news “Bear with us” could have been about the financial markets! Unbearable. Inflation, then deflation? I wonder if the terms don’t even work anymore.

    I wonder if George feels betrayed, jilted, knows he was out maneuvered, or just doesn’t get it at all? He “beared” his soul!

    I don’t give anyone that much credit for forethought in anyone’s government. Too many regime changes for continuity. But I am no expert.

  4. MOU,

    Based on W’s actions, I’m thinking more like a Putin put a permanent Jedi mind trick on the d00d.

    [lsight wave of Putin’s hand]

    Putin: You’d don’t need any civil liberties.

    W: I will sign the Patriot Act.

    Putin: You will re-live all the great folly of empires past.

    W: Huh?

    Putin: Trust me, you’ll know what to do when the time is right.

  5. Uncle, yes, “These are not the druids you’re looking for. Let them pass. Move along, now.”

  6. FAR,
    Thanks for the info, didn’t realise the space-pen was an urban legend, musta watched too many Seinfeld episodes. Nevertheless, after several reads of Vladimir Vernadsky’s ‘The Biosphere’ and looking at the different ways the US and USSR approached certain mechanical problems in aircraft – I firmly think the two peoples think differently.

  7. “These are not the druids you’re looking for”

    D3PO, is the use of “druids” Freudian or…? I JUST noticed that.

  8. Uncle, you’re reading too much into that. I’m not that deep, “trust me”.

    BTW, I agree with Nudge, that was way funny, probaby because it’s so true.

  9. UR,

    My grandmother was part Russian, and you did not mess with the woman. They say the Russian women won WWII, and given her strength and determination I believe every word of that. Russia to me is more like the Middle East with alcohol, than Europe. The men are stubborn, egotistical, and intelligent enough to know how to get what they want.

    Somebody asked if “Saddam created Iraq, or Iraq created Saddam?” One could ask the same question of Russia.

  10. eh, the US shot it’s load with its’ oil and gas, russia is in the process of doing the same. what goes aroud comes around.

    nature dosen’t “love” competion any more than it “loves” symbiosis. some stratgies work incertain circumstance, others don’t.

    anyone who thinks that the russians have some special quality, or something like that, has thier head up thier ass.

  11. is russian holding back production? that is the only question.

    i don’t see it. but i don’t pretend to know either.

  12. what is russian extraction, 9 mbpd? US 8 mbpd? who can up extraction? who can coopt others production?

    these are the questions.

    special qualities of the russian people? yeah, maybe they can drink more fucking vodka.

  13. let’s see russia cut off europe. those fucking eurotrash mutherfuckers will be begging the US to nuke moscow.

    unless they all tow the russian line? fuck, again, i could be wrong. but i don’t think so.

  14. I don’t think that Russia is keen on expanding the EU. That would be the likely conclusion to such a scenario, that and hastening the fight for resources. Could they outbid China? Absolutely. What would China do?

    Nudge, on CFN, I was saying that Gunslinger is toying with us. He’s not that stupid, and is playing the role. Reminds me of OEO in some ways, although he reminds me of JR more. Have a confession to make JR?

  15. Nicholas, I don’t think GS is JR’s sock. It smells, but it’s not JR’s foot funk, if you know what I mean.

    Personally, I think a gang-ignore is the best way to deal with such. It worked on PeakTroll. Skip anything he posts, don’t respond.

  16. GS is not JR, who I believe has no military experience, and dave is not DMD, who spells much better than dave. Neither is dirty enough to be OEO, fellow fucktards.

  17. Dave sez:
    “anyone who thinks that the russians have some special quality, or something like that, has thier head up thier ass.”
    Different isn’t a ranking.

  18. Hi Nudge, I like your post and am on board with much of what you said but I disagree that they are putting the alcohol problem behind them. The problem is massive and its killing their prospects in many ways. They are desperate to get a handle on the alcoholism but its grown huge since the early 1990s and claims of recent progress are minor at best with a backlash being a booming black-market moonshine industry. They are becoming a country of widows, and its pathetic and tragic.

  19. I just want to say thanks guys for commenting about this one. If the Russians are in fact still coming I want to be prepared. I’m building a bomb shelter as we speak with all organic and vegan materials. No one’s going to get me and if they do they’ll have to pass through my first line of defense, which are my poisonous darts strategically placed around designed to go off at even the slightest sign of certain enemy opponent passers by.

  20. Different isn’t a ranking.

    no, of course not. but then what are you talking about if they’re somehow “different”? they don’t bleed, get hungry and die like anyone else?

    i’d probably have to say that after just 1 winter of going cold and hungry, just about anyone will share many of thier perspectives. or they’ll be dead, i guess.

  21. shoot, if i was dick cheney i’d be saying: comeon boys, let’s do it. see what them fucking ruskies are doin’ to our buddies the chezks. you german assholes are next. first strike is the only answer.

  22. after 1 winter of cold and hungry: goddamn dick, you was right all along. them mufuckers is no good. let’s get em. you still got them tridents floating around under the north sea, right?

    i guess.

  23. They way they think, not a Shylock comparison.
    A cultural thing.
    We might call it lateral thnking in the West nowadays.
    Did your dad always give you puzzles when you were little?

  24. oh quit pickin on them russkies, they got it rough there, it gets mighty cold n de winter and like SB said, they’s got a vodka problem. you couldn’t find better folks to party with, pun intended. i say bring em on, and don’t forget the stolies.

  25. UY,

    if you said to me, look a blonde norseman is different in many ways from a shy rainforest indian, i would agree that they look at the world very differently. but we’re talking about the products 2 agro/industrial cultures. acctually, if you step back a couple of thousand years, we’re probably talking about products of the same culture.

    so, not to throw up a straw man, but since the russians got defeated in afganistan they’re now thinking latterally?

  26. besides, we have enough problems without dredging up de cold war. sounds like argentina redux, you know, dodge your economic problems with a nice trumped up war.

    there should be a rule that you can’t start any new wars until you’ve finished all your ongoing ones.

  27. wot dis country needs are some moron lateral thinkers, stolies and Svetlanas. i’m game.

  28. “but we’re talking about the products 2 agro/industrial cultures”
    I thought we were talking about people, not products -thus the confusion.
    The puzzles thing is something I didn’t realise until later in life. My father was Polish, and was forever giving us puzzles to do. Later on I found out this is quite common in Russia. Also, not common with other ‘Skippy’ friends. so i guess I’m saying that that cultural thing with the puzzles ends up making a (one)difference culturally.

  29. I thought we were talking about people, not products -thus the confusion.

    more confused, the people are the products of the culture, and viceyversy, in my mind.

  30. BTW Dave,
    just read that link on the Polish farmers.
    I can remember we went to a farm with Dad once when we were little, a Polish couple owned it.
    The dairy sure as hell didn’t have any white tiles or stainless steel – but the milk and cream was delicious. So was the salami.

  31. and shoot, if anyone is thinking laterally, it’s george and dick. do you think they put all those bases and shit in ME for no reason?

  32. Yeah, gotcha now. I re-read Nudge’s bit and was thinking oil, gas, arms, et al.
    So yes, a beach babe in a fur coat might be able to impersonate Svetlana.

  33. maybe you’ll get a chance, dave, as part of the rescue team to bring all those stranded GIs home from them ME and Asian bases.

    don ‘t mind me, i’m reading Orlav’s book.

  34. Nah, dick & george are doing a pretty straightforward geopolitical move over in the ME.
    Unless I’m thinking as laterally as they are….

  35. I think george’s strength is his open mind and willingness to learn.
    “$4 gallon gas? that’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that”

  36. ya, and if the russians where as desperate for oil as we are, they’d be responding in kind. the US set up the breton woods deal. it controled the world’s resources, basically, for about 60 years. pretty strategic and laterall an shit in my mind.

    are the russians lettin the americans shoot they’re wad in the ME, probably? is that a particularly novel strategy? not in my mind. hence, nothing special about the russians or the way think, etc.

    it all comes down to controlling resources.

  37. crasus and custer had great plans going, also, so they went down as heros to their people, slow-learners to everyone else.

  38. i’m hoping Obama gets elected, doesn’t get shot by “a lone, crazed assassian”, and has a chance to carry out a peaceful withdrawal from the ME. = one major artery blocked from further bleeding. then use some or all of those troops to guard the US-Mexico border from the coming massive invasion by desperate latinos from Mexico and Central America as US aid dries up (like, food) and the Mexican economy tanks. this would also keep the military-industrial-security tit-suckers happy and maybe Obama can live on to do other fine deeds.

    must be interesting times to be working at the CIA. long shifts.

  39. ya, i’d just hate to be a dark skinned person in the US when everything goes to shit and they have a dark skinned intellectuall muslim as pres. scapegoat potential is huge, i guess..

  40. Seems like the Russkies can’t get a break. They go from a corrupt communist regime to chaos to a corrupt petro-state.

    D3PO, I think it’s more likely the troops would be used to invade Mexico, rather than to repel an invasion. They still gots oil, and some good ol’ American know-how would get it flowing again… oh wait, you said if *Obama* gets elected. The Mexican government would “invite” the US Army in, to protect what’s left of their infrastructure. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  41. “i beleive one thing about dead men: they are of absolutely no consequance.”

    That depends on whether you’re a cannibal or not (ref. the movie Ravenous).


  42. Late to the game… but did DMD just sign his post as JHK? Wasn’t that a question previously?

    Need to pull head out of lab & pay more attention here.

  43. That depends on whether you’re a cannibal or not (ref. the movie Ravenous).

    i prefer roadkill, just sayin’.

  44. dave, we found a really fine southern Colorado red wine called “road kill red”. i’ll send you a bottle if we ever get up that way again. you know, with the gas prices and all that shit.

  45. “god plan, but don’t forget the pit full of pioson snakes.”

    How about a satanic cult and evil scrolls or verses?

  46. Good to see you troubling yourselves to look up these rare gems just to please me — JHK. I thought the brunette on the right had the best rack, but then I’m partial to big-uns. Now if I could only find one with a brain to match the set.

  47. Hi Thal!!


    Brains need time to mature. Then the sets set, especially the big ones.


    Unless of course you like silly cone implants. Guess it depends on what you want them for.

    Anyone here,

    Can you explain the appeal of implants? I have never understood it. If you know a woman has a disk of plastic and saline or silicone shoved under her chest, how is that appealing? To say this gently, I would think it would be a deflating realization for a man to have. But I am clearly wrong or the procedure would not be so popular.

    Or is this one of those boy only conversations and I should leave the room?

  48. MOU, you keep alternating from friendly to combative…you aren’t bi-polar are you?

    “any time you call something stupid, dave, I pay attention.”

    This couldn’t sound any more sarcastic. Shame on you.

  49. “Or is this one of those boy only conversations and I should leave the room?”

    To be precise, it’s a girl only conversation so far. I personally don’t care for implants, though, if that’s what you are wondering. What is silly-cone? A new kind of material?

    To summarize for you:

    I like nice, natural tits – but don’t worry, I can appreciate most every size – and I also like brains (probably more than tits, but shape is important in the universe wherever you go, not just the bedroom, right?).

  50. Frankly, packaging has always intrigued me most. Mz. Blowhard does bellydancing (mostly cabaret or urban tribal) for fun & exercise. They’ve taken the packaging thing to an art form.

    Implants, eh… I find them somewhat unappealing, but then I’ve never had to deal with them “up close & personal”, ifyouknowhatImean. I suppose in theory it’s the woman’s choice (yes, yes, I know…)

  51. “To be precise, it’s a girl only conversation so far.”

    No, you were commenting on Dr. Doom’s post, before I got here. Your topic was breasts and brains. Dave commented. Then I put in my 2 cents on it. Doom, Dave, and you have identified as being males, thus the comment about a “boys only” conversation.

    This is too bad. I saw nothing combative in my comments. I mean that. Thought I was being funny, thus the silly cone (silicone) pun. Guess not.

    Could you show me where I have been combative in the post above? I don’t think others here would have taken the above comment that way. I may be wrong.

    On combative, do you perceive that you are not? In my perception of things, you have been combative from the beginning.

  52. Don’t ask me how your name got in my post. Did you post-edit that in or something?

  53. I will say this: I have never been accused of being a hateful person, vindictive, manipulative, corrosive, abusive, or bullying.

    For what it’s worth…

  54. DMD,

    You seem to be addressing me. I don’t have access to the system, nor do I have any talent with hacking. I’m barely able to log on and type. Sad really. Maybe Johnny is saying Hi since you asked about him??

    On innocence. I specifically discussed the post above because it is very obvious I was combative earlier. You determined I was still combative after the “boys only” post. So I asked you to show me.

    I must be a casual passerby or you must be dishonest (if only with yourself). You are combative, at least here. Not that it is a bad thing (wonderful at times), but it is something everyone around you is forced to manage.

    Whatever. It is a free country (for now), no harm done.


  55. Just because I am a nitpicker by nature, I would like to point out that DMD and Driving Miss Daisy (who may well be one and the same person–only he/she can confirm or deny that) each posted on this thread and incorporated James Howard Kunstler’s initials–JHK–into the message.

    Perhaps this individual’s real-world name sports the same initials, e.g. Jesus H. Kriest or Jenny H. Kuntly, or perhaps he or she is just goofing around. Or perhaps it is the actual JHK behaving like a troll to amuse himself. No matter–it’s all good!

    The evidence:

    DMD, on July 16th, 2008 at 3:26 pm Said:
    “i beleive one thing about dead men: they are of absolutely no consequance.”

    That depends on whether you’re a cannibal or not (ref. the movie Ravenous).


    Driving Miss Daisy, on July 17th, 2008 at 2:29 pm Said:
    Good to see you troubling yourselves to look up these rare gems just to please me — JHK. I thought the brunette on the right had the best rack, but then I’m partial to big-uns. Now if I could only find one with a brain to match the set.

  56. Here’s a joke. A small mouse walks into a bar and, hiding beneath a cheese wheel, asks for a drink. The bartender, not able to connect the voice with the body, asks politely what he assumed the extra short gentleman would like to drink. The mouse responds authoritatively by saying ‘just give me a fucking drink or I’ll curb stomp your teeth into your brain’ [actual quote]. The bartender sets down a drink, walks off, and beneath his breath says ‘what an asshole!’.

    The moral here is don’t trust a rat in a bar that likes to drink.

  57. The moral here is don’t trust a rat in a bar that likes to drink.

    don’t get it.

    anyhoo, whenever someone says to me, something like, “hey, leave some for somebody else”. i usually say: “a meal for a mouse is a snack for a rat, fuckface”.

  58. There was no sarcasm to it at all. Hence, I am not ashamed.

    If dave goes out of his way to call ‘stupid’ it usually is. Fucktard can’t spell for shit, but he thinks exceedingly well.

  59. I think I might get it. Maybe. But then I tend to over analyze shit way too much.

    Even if I’m right, though, explaining would ruin it.

  60. Either JHK is acting like an idiot-troll with too much time on his hands (unlikely) or DMD is not JHK. Too immature, also, as the ladies here have picked up.

    Amazing how the ladies home in on these guys. Nice work, girls. I’ll bet there is some instinctive reaction to posers among the women folk. Makes sense, evolution-natural selection-wise. Not sayin’ you’re not highly intelligent also, of course.

    Kinda like big breasts (had to add that in.)

  61. “Amazing how the ladies home in on these guys.”


    Whoever called for troll spray earlier this week was spot on–I think it was one of our uncles or St. Bif.

    As I would have said when I was six years old, “Good riddance to bad rubbish!”

    Which reminds me, I am slowly wending my way through an early 1990s book–Rubbish! The Archeology of Garbage–by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy.

    A snippet from the book:
    “Those who condemn our own era for its conspicuous consumption and conspicuous waste should at least bear in mind that throwing away perfectly good objects seems to be one of those things, like ignoring history, that human beings have always done. David Prendergast, an archeologist who is a curator of the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto, spent seven years studying a Classic Maya site–Altun Ha, in Belize, which was occupied from around 800 B.C. to A.D. 1000–and after examining the contents of various tombs he conclude: ‘These people would have traded in a Cadillac when the ashtray was full.'”

  62. I’ve always maintained that there is a big future in city dumps and land fills.

    I’m trying to get my head around those Maya driving new a Caddy till the ash trays are full, then leasing a new one. Even Elvis would have cleaned the ash trays.

  63. I’ve always maintained that there is a big future in city dumps and land fills.

    ya, i hate it when they burn the shit first and just pile up ashes.

  64. kinda funny, i guess.

    i was in the trash to energy business back in the 80’s. there was a big uproar about dioxins in our air emissions. so we measured ambient levels. it turned out that the levels in our emissions were lower than ambient.

    so i used to tell everybody: see, we’re improving your air quality.

  65. wrt dioxins, you were running a giant air purification unit, and were probably making useful ozone to zap other nasties in the air. yup, you coulda sold them at sharper image.

  66. ya, dioxins in general are kind of funny. they’re an unintentional byproduct of many different industrial processes, hence a background concentration of something that really dosen’t belong there.

    they don’t break down for shit. can last a thousand years, i guess. your greatgreatgreatgreatgrandkids will still be eating them.

    they build up in tissue, fish, your decendents, etc.

    as waste burners, we got them out of the air emmissions pretty good. but of course we buried them with the ash. they’ll be leaching out of those piles and into the ground water for the next couple of thousand years.

    i’ve seen “experts” describe them as benign. i’ve also seen them described as the most toxic thing on earth.

    i’ve seen tanker trucks full of high concentrations of it dumped in open lagoons.

    eh, that’s a single class of compunds.


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