Archive for June, 2019

You Are Being Trolled


The world is on the brink of war, again. And again. And, yes, yet again. And then it’s not on the brink of war any more… but wait, there’s more! Of course there’s more, there always is. US aircraft carrier battle groups are steaming toward North Korea… or not. They are steaming about aimlessly, nowhere near North Korea, but in a very threatening manner. Then Trump and Kim Jong Un meet, get on great, sign a piece of paper that means nothing and part friends. Now the aircraft carriers are steaming about far less menacingly. Then Trump and Un meet again, to sign some other meaningless piece of paper, but then John Bolton shoots his mouth off and the deal is off. But Trump and Un continue to exchange love letters, so the bromance isn’t dead. In any case, war between the US and North Korea is not just unwinnable but unthinkable: South Korea’s capitol is within striking range of North Korean artillery and all US military bases in the region are within range of North Korean rockets. War with North Korea is definitely off. Executive summary: nothing happens. So, what was that all about?

Now it’s about Venezuela. Its democratically elected leader is declared to be a usurper and a suitable replacement is found by the name of Random Guy-doh. American vassal states around the world are bullied into granting him diplomatic recognition as Venezuela’s president even though he’s just a random guy in an apartment in Caracas. Some trucks get torched on a bridge between Columbia and Venezuela. They were carrying humanitarian goods such as spools of wire. There is talk of military intervention, but it’s just talk. The Bank of England confiscates Venezuela’s gold, the US freezes Venezuela’s oil company’s bank accounts in the US and hands them off to a bunch of shady Venezuelans who steal it. That part makes sense; the rest of it? Meh! In any case, a US military incursion into Venezuela is not within the realm of possibility: Venezuela has Russian air defense systems which make it a no-fly zone for the US air force; also, fighting guerrilla action in Venezuelan selva is not something the US military is capable of. Executive summary: nothing happens, again.

Now it’s about Iran. Trump pulls out of the carefully negotiated international deal with Iran and says he wants to negotiate another one. If you notice, that’s a truly idiotic move, along the lines of “I am never paying you back, so lend me more money.” If a country is not honoring the deals it has already signed, why bother negotiate any more deals with it? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Iran announces that since the US isn’t honoring the deal, Iran won’t either. A bunch of oil tankers get damaged and the US tries to blame Iran for it, but nobody believes the US. And so a couple more oil tankers get damaged and the US tries to blame Iran for it again, but nobody believes the US again. And so the US flies a drone into Iranian airspace shadowed by a reconnaissance plane with an international crew on board, hoping that Iran makes a mistake and shoots down the reconnaissance plane. But Iran shoots down the drone and it falls in the shallows, in Iran’s territorial waters, rather than in international waters 100 feet deep, which is what the US claims to have happened, but nobody believes it. Iran swiftly fishes out and proudly displays the wreckage of the no longer top secret drone. The Americans spin a tale about wanting to attack Iran but calling the attack off at the last minute. Oil prices go up a bit. The US oil patch is producing flat out but hemorrhaging red ink like crazy. It needs higher oil prices in order to avoid a huge wave of bankruptcies. That part makes sense; the rest of it? Meh again! In any case, a military attack against Iran is unthinkable: Iran has the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz to all shipping, cutting off a third of all of the world’s oil exports and blowing up the global economy, US included. Executive summary: nothing happens, yet again.

There are various other non-events in other parts of the world. NATO ships steam about the Black and Baltic seas, where they are pretty much sitting ducks in case hostilities with Russia turn kinetic. So, what that tells us is that hostilities will not turn kinetic because those ships are expensive and there is no money to replace them. There are also NATO exercises in the Baltics, which are right on Russia’s border. They practice invading and slaughtering civilians in quaint medieval villages staffed with Russian-speaking extras pretending to be peasants eager to surrender. (Technically, that should be categorized as a fantasy game rather than a training exercise.) The Russians remain unimpressed. They want nothing to do with the Baltics, which used to be transit states for Russian exports but now they aren’t needed for anything at all (except as a NATO stomping ground). In any case, talking about waging war against Russia with a straight face is something that only extremely stupid people are capable of doing. Executive summary: nothing happens.

Do you notice the refrain? (I am sure you do.) What’s going on is that a has-been country, which can’t stop squandering what little resources it has left on a useless but ridiculously bloated military-industrial complex, is trying to generate activity in order to justify continued lavish defense spending. All sorts of experts and pundits play along, claiming that the threat of this or that war is very real and that therefore we should all be paying attention to what’s happening. But what’s happening is that you are being trolled.

There being nothing better for it to do, the US is trying very hard to troll the whole world, but more and more the world is either refusing to be trolled or trolling the US right back.

• When the US threatens to cut off access to the US financial system, the world works on circumventing it.

• When the US imposes tariffs and sanctions, the world responds by reworking its trading relationships to exclude the US.

• When the US threatens countries with military intervention, the world responds by constructing new alliances and making security arrangements that isolate the US.

But most importantly, the world simply waits. The US is now running a budget deficit that is over a trillion dollars a year and taking on debt at about the same rate as it was during the height of the previous financial collapse. What do you think will happen when the next financial collapse hits? (According to a lot of authoritative voices, it should hit either this year or the next.) Meanwhile, I hope that you enjoy being trolled, because I am sure there will be more trolling from the US, just, you know, to keep busy, I guess.

The American Troll in his native habitat

Failure of Complementarity: from Multiculturalism to Devil-Worship


Over the past week there has been a spike of renewed interest in an essay I wrote a year ago, Barbarians Rampage through Europe\’s Cemetery, in which I described how the steady degradation of the Western countries is being speeded up by the arrival of migrants from incompatible ethnic groups. What provoked this renewed interest was a post by Paul Craig Roberts in which he described my essay as “Europe’s—and America’s— obituary.” I certainly stand by everything I wrote—no matter how many people it rubs the wrong way—but over the intervening year I have done some research that has helped me understand why exactly the Western project has gone off the rails, and it turns out that I have a lot more to say on the subject.

More… (Patreon) (SubscribeStar)

The Eye-Rolls of Summer


There isn’t much to report that I haven’t already reported. What goes on is more of the same but the attitude seems to have changed. A new development is the Global Eye-Roll and at this rate it may turn into an Olympic sport before long.

The US is on autopilot, cruising toward collapse, swamped by debt and politically dysfunctional but still trying to bully the world. In response, the world has been practicing the coordinated global eye-roll: the Americans (and/or their proxies) damage some oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and blame it on Iran—time for an eye-roll. Since this doesn’t have the intended effect, the Americans (and/or their proxies)… decide that it’s time to damage some more oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and blame it on Iran—time for another eye-roll. Meanwhile, there are lots of US navy ships steaming about the Persian Gulf, and that’s a sure sign that open hostilities with Iran will be avoided because those ships are very expensive, there is no money to replace them, and given Iran’s very advanced rocketry they are sitting ducks.

Another eye-rolling occasion arises whenever US officials talk up their hydrocarbon exports. The only reason the US has a temporary surplus of hydrocarbons is because of the fracking industry, which is drowning in red ink and will never be made whole because the prices it requires are higher than what the world can afford. Shale oil is but a temporary blip, and what comes next is what happens after Peak Oil—which is anyone’s guess, because that’s where all the best economic models and forecasting tools stop working, but my guess is that the world will separate into energy haves and energy have-nots, and the have-nots will have a hard time maintaining anything like a first-world lifestyle by serving each other overpriced caffeinated beverages or psychoanalyzing each others’ pets.

Yet another eye-rolling occasion is Trump’s war on Huawei, which has led Google to deprive Huawei smartphones of access to its Android operating system. Now, get ready for an eye-roll, because operating systems are at this point free items floating about in the public domain. With the exception of Microsoft Windows, which is absolute, total crap, they are all based on either Linux (as is Android) or BSD Unix (Mac OS, etc.) and these are both free. Making Linux work on a smartphone, or a fridge, or a toaster is a matter of writing a whole bunch of interfaces and device drivers, and that\’s something that a million monkeys with typewriters can come up with a million times faster than just one monkey toiling alone. And so there are now not one but two Android replacements in the works—one Chinese, one Russian—that will still support all of your favorite apps. Meanwhile, Google will be renamed to Booble and all of its brilliant Russian employees will move back to Moscow. OK, you can roll your eyes now.

The weather has certainly been wild. In the US, much of the farmland has been underwater, the planting for corn and soy has been much reduced and much delayed, and just one early frost will spell disaster for the harvest. Weather has been equally wild on the other side of the planet, in Russia, which is the other huge agricultural exporter. It’s snowing in Norilsk, egg-sized hailstones and torrential rains have caused flooding in the south, endless forest fires in the east and sweltering temperatures in the middle. Climate models aside, there are some indications that given this wild weather feeding everyone may become a problem. No doubt the rich will respond by trying to get the poor to eat each other (eye-roll, please) and the poor will respond with their own plan, which is to eat the rich (eye-roll) but once they’ve eaten all the rich they will end up eating each other anyway (snort).

Some people are clamoring that we stop before it’s too late or various words to that effect. There is an obsessive-compulsive Swedish girl, Greta is her name, I think, who’s been making the rounds, her lavishly funded media campaign financed by the usual globalist oligarchs (Gore, Soros, etc.) telling people that we have to stop burning fossil fuels, eating meat, etc. To be perfectly consistent, the way obsessive-compulsives are compelled to be, she should stop breathing because when she exhales she produces carbon dioxide which warms the planet.

Also, somebody should tell Greta that if the world stopped burning fossil fuels the planet’s average temperature would rocket up anywhere between 1ºC and 1.5ºC—a huge amount, because of a phenomenon known as global dimming. All the smog from burning fossil fuels is limiting the amount of solar radiation that reaches the planet’s surface. Add to this the 0.5ºC of warming that’s been achieved since the start of the fossil fuel age, and there’s your 2ºC which everyone has been saying would be catastrophic. And so, when someone starts going on about how “We must stop global warming” it may be time for another Global Eye-Roll. We’re past all that “Inconvenient Truth” stuff; consider yourselves royally inconvenienced.

Speaking of inconvenienced, where I am now, at the Orlov compound at an undisclosed location, we haven’t had a good soaking rain in at least two weeks and so I am off to… water the potato field. That’s what the world has come to: we have to actually water the damn potatoes, because, you know, we like to eat. Feel free to do an eye roll.

Dismasting Made Easy


You are sailing along on a passage, on autopilot, the radar set up to wake up and do a sweep every 10 minutes or so and sound an alarm if it detects a collision course, with the entire crew (which could be just me and the ship’s cat) down below doing whatever people and cats do when they aren’t sailing. Then a squall kicks up, or a waterspout (a sort of water-borne tornado), or you royally screwed up and plotted a course that takes you under a bridge that’s too low. Suddenly, you find yourself minus the masts. This can be very dramatic, or not, depending on how the boat is designed. And since Quidnon is primarily a houseboat (that sails), drama is specifically what we don’t want.


Nuclear Meltdown at HBO

Hydrogen explosion at Fukushima Daiichi

There is no particular reason why you should be aware of this, but HBO, in collaboration with British Sky, has created a miniseries about the Chernobyl disaster. I have not watched it, but I have read multiple analyses and discussions of it by those who have, and who can also claim the Chernobyl disaster as their particular area of expertise. Based on their collective verdict, I will not watch it, because it is basically shit, and I have much better things to do with my time. So do you. The miniseries isn’t interesting; what is interesting is why and how it was made. Armed with this understanding, we will know what to look out for.

First of all, let us point out that HBO and Sky are but minor divisions within two vast mass media conglomerates, WarnerMedia (worth $85.4 billion) and Comcast (worth $187 billion). If this miniseries were a Russian propaganda exercise, ordered by the Kremlin, then it would have been made by state-owned entities VGTRK and First Channel; but the US (and its British subsidiary) are run by an oligarchy which carries out its propaganda exercises through private corporate entities. Nevertheless, it is still a propaganda exercise, and it is very interesting to ask, What is being propagandized, and for what purpose?

The screenplay appears to have been based on the book Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian fiction writer who writes in Russian. Although Wikipedia claims her to be an investigative journalist and historian, her real genre is historical fantasy of the tendentiously anti-Russian macabre variety. It works well on those who enjoy having their negative emotions manipulated and not at all on those who enjoy a balanced perspective and objectivity. You know, one self-important lady-writer’s senseless, bloody mayhem could also be construed as altruistic acts of patriotic heroism by men whose sacrifices have built and preserved the great Russian nation. Oh, but Alexievich isn’t even a Russian; she has just been borrowing Russia’s language and culture to make a bit of money.

Another one of her books was on the Afghan conflict and has been widely discredited by those who took actually took part in it. She wrote it after just a 20-day visit to Kabul five months before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and it was a fabrication pretty much from beginning to end. But Russophobia pays (in the West) and Alexievich has been awarded the Nobel prize in literature (which has been highly politicized all along). As a sort of homage, I suppose, Alexievich has been written directly in the screenplay of the HBO miniseries as one Ulyana Khomyuk, a sort of Ukrainian Erin Brokovich.

The miniseries has been praised for its obsessive-compulsive attention to the details of the late Soviet-era lifestyle. Apparently, no effort was spared in collecting period props at flea markets throughout Belarus and the Ukraine, and those who had lived in the USSR during that period were impressed by the verisimilitude of the setting. But that’s the extent of the show’s praiseworthiness; the rest is a litany of lies, as attested by the very lengthy lists of outright fabrications and distortions compiled by several analysts who have thorough firsthand experience of the disaster. I can’t recommend that you watch it; I know I won’t. As I said, the show itself doesn’t matter; what matters is why it was made, and what that means.

Based on all of my research, major nuclear accidents are rarely accidental. The ones that are truly accidental are hushed up; the ones that aren’t are widely publicized. You have probably heard about Three Mile Island, Chrernobyl and Fukushima; but have you heard about the Windscale reactor fire at Sellafield in the UK in 1957? It burned for three days and spread radioactive contamination all over the UK and Europe. That was an actual accident: somebody forgot to turn on cooling fans, and somebody else preferred to sit around drinking tea instead of responding to an alarm.

As far as the other three, there is a strong whiff of mystery to them. In the case of the Three Mile Island, valves controlling the flow to a secondary cooling circuit were inexplicably left closed for several work shifts. When an over-temperature condition occurred, the reactor had to be shut down in a hurry, which it was. Nevertheless, operators then fiddled with circulator pumps until the tops of the fuel assemblies became exposed to air and overheated, releasing hydrogen and gaseous radioactive isotopes into the reactor containment vessel. The operators then vented the radioactive gas to an expansion tank outside the containment vessel but the vent valve got stuck and the venting went on until the expansion tank had to be vented to the atmosphere. The result was a smallish radioactive fart—too small to reliably measure above background radiation and definitely too small to have any measurable adverse effects on public health.

When you cross-multiply the probabilities of the entire cascade of events that led all the way to the little radioactive fart, you get such an infinitesimally small probability of the overall event that it beggars the imagination. At the same time, great pains were taken to drive the population into a state of panic and to provoke an entirely unnecessary evacuation in which 17 people died in car accidents as they fled in horror. As always, it is useful to ask, quo bono? Who benefited from this ridiculous exercise of first staging a mindbogglingly unlikely accident, then publicizing it with the goal of whipping the public into a paroxysm of fear and despair? The answer, unsurprisingly, is that this appears to have been done for the benefit of the federal bureaucracy. You see, nuclear energy is one industry that is most frequently, and most successfully, organized as a government monopoly, but in the US the ideology of free enterprise dictates that it be handled by private companies. In order for the federal government to assert control over the nuclear industry (which it did) it had to thoroughly undermine public trust in privatized nuclear industry (which it did).

Now let’s look at Fukushima. There, three reactors were running at the time of the earthquake and tsunami, and all three were successfully shut down. Nevertheless, over the following days, all three reactors melted down, roughly one a day. The reason given for the meltdowns is that there was no electricity to power the cooling pumps because the electric grid was out while the backup diesel generators were flooded out by the tsunami.

But there is more to this story. Here are some bullet points to consider:

• Nuclear power stations are constructed out of a great deal of concrete, rebar, steel plate and other very sturdy materials that can stand up to any tsunami; but the doors to the building that contained the diesel generators was made of… plywood! That’s right, it was specifically designed to break away when hit with a bit of water. A sliding screen of oiled rice paper with a drawing of Mount Fuji on it would have worked just as well.

• Diesel engines will run even when fully submerged provided their air intakes are fitted with snorkels, and are not too hard to restart even after they’ve been flooded out. If compressed air tanks are available, they can be restarted without any electricity. But in this case the electrical switching panels (which do not respond well to being flooded out) were installed in the basement, which filled with water.

• Naturally occurring earthquakes have a certain specific signature on a seismograph: they start small and get bigger as the rock being moved picks up speed. Nuclear explosions, on the other hand, start with an instantaneous big bang and then die down as the shockwaves propagate away from the epicenter. The Fukushima earthquake is an imposition of the two signatures: it looks like a nuclear depth charge that triggers an earthquake… that produces the tsunami that floods out Fukushima (because it was delicately arranged for just that purpose).

Fukushima: a nuclear explosion in a seismic zone

• At the time of the earthquake and tsunami the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was cruising offshore, close to the epicenter of the earthquake, and a bunch of sailors on it got radiation poisoning (and later sued the US government for and received monetary compensation for the harm they suffered).

• At the time of the Fukushima disaster a large release of radioactive Cesium 137 was mapped by satellite, and the location of the release was not over Fukushima but several hundred miles offshore, near the epicenter of the earthquake. From there it spread all over the planet. Calculations showed that the reactors at Fukushima could not have produced the required quantity of Cs-137; that would have required the use of a nuclear bomb.

Cesium 137 from nuclear bomb blast offshore from Fukushima

• Also at the time of the Fukushima disaster the US nuclear power industry was looking at a major shortage of enriched uranium. During the previous years it operated on mixed-oxide fuel provided by Russia as part of the megatons-to-megawatts program, in which Russia ground up its excess plutonium, combined it with uranium and provided it to the US for a modest fee, but this program was scheduled to end. Meanwhile, the effort to build uranium enrichment facilities within the US did not succeed (earlier diffusion-based methods were no longer practical while gas centrifuges are very tricky to design).

• If the nuclear power stations in the US could not be refueled (and there is somewhere around 100 of them) then the US would be facing major blackouts. But Japan had backup fossil fuel-based generating capacity for every last bit of its nuclear power capacity, and its nukes could be shut down without triggering blackouts. Handling this crisis on a commercial basis would have resulted in exorbitantly high electricity rates, triggering a wave of bankruptcies and causing a financial collapse.

• Japan is not a sovereign nation but has remained under US military occupation ever since World War II. Its nuclear power industry has been controlled by the US through major government contractors such as General Electric. The US had already nuked Japan once before, so there was a precedent. The dramatically overhyped disaster at Fukushima has caused the Japanese public to become extremely adverse to the use of nuclear power, which neatly solved the problem of enriched uranium shortage.

Now, moving on to the Chernobyl disaster. It was by far the worst nuclear disaster in history, because there the entire contents of a nuclear reactor were spat up into the sky, spreading long-lived radioactive contamination over a very wide area. And, once again, the theory that it was an accident appears significantly weaker than the theory that it was not an accident. Here are some points to help us weigh the evidence.

To make things simple, nuclear reactors are like cars: safe if safely operated, manifestly unsafe if not. If while cruising along the highway, you let go of the steering wheel and step on the accelerator, then there is an excellent chance that you will crash and burn. Your control inputs keep the car from “going critical.” Similarly with the nuclear reactor; timely and correct control inputs keep it from blowing up.

Nuclear reactors are a bit tricker to operate than cars. With cars, every time you step on the accelerator or the brake, the effect is largely the same. But nuclear reactors have memory and can be in any number of states based on how they have been operated. While a lot of the power they generate comes from the nuclear decay of uranium and plutonium, a very important fraction comes from the decay of lighter elements that are generated in the process, each with a different set of characteristics and a different half-life. In our car analogy, under some conditions suddenly stomping on the accelerator will cause your car to blow up. You have to speed up very slowly and gently, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge.

Unlike a car, a nuclear reactor doesn’t have an accelerator and brakes; it has just the brakes. These are called control rods and inserting them into the reactor dampens the reaction while pulling them out part-way causes it to speed up while pulling them out all the way and leaving them there will reliably cause a nuclear accident. Now, the type of nuclear reactor used at Chernobyl, RBMK-1000, had a strange quirk. Normally, if the reaction is getting out of control, pushing the control rods all the way in is a good way to get it under control. But with RBMK-1000, pushing them all the way in actually accelerated the reaction, at first. This was discovered at another RBMK-1000 in Leningrad 11 years before Chernobyl, where a full meltdown was avoided by sheer luck. Although the release of radioactive contamination was some 30 to 50 times smaller than at Chernobyl, it was significant. Nevertheless, there was no hype or media attention of any sort and the incident was largely kept secret—a sure sign of a real nuclear accident as opposed to a contrived one.

The experience at Leningrad was subsequently studied and new operating procedures and standards were established that would avoid repeating the mistake that led to it (which was shutting down the reactor, then restarting it too soon or too quickly, then being forced to shut it down again). Nevertheless, this is precisely what happened at Chernobyl 11 years later. Various people blame various factors. One of them was the administrative decision to transfer nuclear power plants from the purview of the Ministry of Middle Industry (code for Nuclear Industry) to the Energy Ministry which had no experience with nuclear power and put similarly inexperienced political appointees in positions of responsibility at nuclear facilities.

The accident at Chernobyl was the outcome of an experiment which was either mindbogglingly stupid (if it was indeed an accident) or moderately clever (if the disaster happened as intended). It pretty much repeated the script of the Leningrad accident. There was also some outright political meddling: phone calls from the Kremlin forced the experiment to be delayed, ensuring that the reactor would sit idle for a longer period of time, making it more likely to explode when it was suddenly restarted.

So, who were the traitors that caused the Chernobyl disaster? They were ensconced in the Kremlin, and their ringleader was Mikhail Gorbachev, who saw his greatest lifetime achievement in relinquishing his post as the first and only president of the USSR as nationalist leaders broke it up into 15 pieces. But he had some other major achievements as well, such as pulling troops out of Afghanistan in such a way as to make the spread of Islamic jihad to Russia’s southern tier almost inevitable. But Chernobyl definitely took the cake: the mitigation of this one disaster cost the USSR almost its entire annual GDP, resulted in massive reputational damage, and the ham-handed political handling of the post-disaster situation succeeded in turning quite a bit of the population against the Soviet government. This last element was not a complete success, as shown by the results of various referenda during the breakup of the USSR, because much of the populace voted to preserve it. But their wishes were overruled by… traitors.

And this brings us to the final question: What would prompt two giant Western media conglomerates to throw massive treasure at a relatively obscure and unpopular miniseries that is essentially a nuclear horror flick that is custom-tailored to smear Russia? Yes, the 30-year anniversary of the disaster is indeed an anniversary, but what else? Here, the relevant facts appear to be as follows:

The collective West has pretty much lost the ability to build nuclear power plants. The only new European nuclear power plant to have been completed is in… China, and the project only succeeded thanks to swarms of Chinese specialists documenting and rectifying every single mistake made by the Europeans at a similar reactor in France, which is not on-line yet. Another similar project in Finland is in some state of un-completion. All three of these projects have seen absolutely staggering schedule slips (of a decade or more) and truly ridiculous cost overruns. A couple more projects in the US are also languishing in some state of un-completion (the Department of Energy recently threw some more federal money at the one in Georgia).

Although the harm caused to human health and the environment by nuclear energy is orders of magnitude smaller than that caused by fossil fuel generation, nuclear power is deeply unpopular in the West and, given the experience at Fukushima, in Japan. Germany has shut down its nuclear power plants. France still relies on theirs for a large percentage of its power generation, but at this rate its aging fleet of reactors will not be replaced in time. Experiments with renewable energy have so far resulted in much higher electricity rates, hurting the competitiveness of European industry. In short, Europe does not have any good options as far as electricity generation.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Rosatom has perfected the latest VVER-1200 and has a full dance card building, fueling and operating nuclear power plants all around the planet. Since nuclear reactors apparently do melt down sporadically, Russia’s latest ones are fitted with a meltdown tank that stops the reaction and makes clean-up easier, so no more “China syndrome.” And since it does apparently happen that nuclear fuel becomes exposed and generates hydrogen gas, the new reactors have catalytic hydrogen scrubbers installed at the top of the containment vessel, so no more hydrogen explosions either. Rosatom now owns something like 2/3 of the global market for new nuclear energy projects. China has a very ambitious program to build out nuclear generation capacity as well. Add to this the fact that Russia has scored two major nuclear technology breakthroughs.

The first breakthrough was in bringing a fast breeder reactor online: the BN-800 has been in commercial use at Beloyarskaya AES since October of 2016. This is a type of reactor that makes its own fuel and then some from the extremely abundant but generally useless uranium 238. Everyone else who has tried to perfect this technology (the US, France and Japan) has failed and given up. It is a breakthrough because it solves two major problems: mitigating the shortage of naturally occurring uranium 235, and solving the problem of long-lifetime radioactive nuclear waste, which BN-type reactors can burn up until it is safe enough to bury.


The second breakthrough is in the introduction of the closed nuclear cycle. Those who obtain their nuclear fuel through contracts with Rosatom do not have to worry about what to do with spent fuel: after a cool-down period, Rosatom takes the fuel assemblies back for reprocessing. The spent fuel is ground up and the useful elements are extracted, enriched, recombined and used to make new fuel assemblies. With a steady stream of Western nukes being shut down and dismantled about to turn into a flood, simply paying Rosatom to take away the spent fuel provides a good solution where previously there was none, lowering the costs of decommissioning to something that national budgets can conceivably bear.

So, what is there to be done by Western propagandists confronting the situation of the West languishing with no good energy alternatives while Russia’s and China’s nuclear programs are speeding away from them? Why, of course, the choice is obvious: put out a pseudo-documentary based on the fantasy-fiction of a Nobel-prized Grade A Russophobe to smear both Russia and its nuclear industry! Honest competition is too old-fashioned. The new Western way to succeed (or to try but fail) is by knocking out your global competitors using whatever it takes: sanctions, fabrications, smear campaigns… nuclear horror flicks.

While some countries are rich enough to film high-budget nuclear horror flicks, some are not so lucky. For instance, the Ukraine is too destitute to do much of anything artistic at such a scale, but this wretched country, trying so hard to be a Mini-Me to America’s Doctor Evil, might actually try to grab some international attention (and help—for its oligarchs to steal) by staging a nuclear “accident.” It still has a dozen or so nuclear reactors, which produce the majority of its electricity, and they are—horror of horrors!—Russian. Well, no, they are in fact Soviet: they are very old and due to be shut down for good in just a couple of years. Let’s hope that that Ukrainian nuclear reactors will be shut down and decommissioned safely (quite a trick in a country that will by then lack an electric grid). But if Chernobyl 2.0 does happen, please, don’t go around claiming that it was an accident!

World’s Biggest Problems Solved


Five years ago, when Angela Merkel, at the time the respected leader of the European Union’s largest economy, was interviewed on the subject of the biggest problems facing the world, she opined that they would be the following three key ones:

• Russia’s annexation of Crimea
• Ebola epidemic
• ISIS in Syria

I am happy to report that over the intervening period all three of Frau Merkel’s most important problems facing the world have been solved, and she can now retire in peace. Ironically, none of them have been solved by her, her government, her nation, the whole of the EU, or the collective West in its entirety.

After the rhetoric surrounding Crimea died down, it turned out that the Crimeans themselves voted overwhelmingly to join Russia while Russia only acceded to their lawful demands. The Crimean Tatars—a significant minority—are particularly happy now that their language has become one of the three official ones, joining Russian and Ukrainian. Meanwhile, the rhetoric in Western media has stayed the same, but the facts behind it have turned out to be null and void. The use of the term “annexation” is particularly fact-free: in international law, annexation requires the use of force; voluntary annexation is not even a thing. Although the phrase “annexation of Crimea” is still heard in Western media, the phrase rings hollow because the world’s number one problem has thus been solved. So, who solved it? Umm… The Russians?

The Ebola virus has been known since 1976 but gained notoriety in 2014 when 2258 cases of Ebola infection were recorded in Equatorial Guinea. Later it spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, but it was at that early moment that Western mass media started ramping up their fearmongering, claiming that an Ebola pandemic is about to engulf the world. The explanation for this running start soon followed and was freely offered by its main beneficiaries: two Western pharmaceutical companies, US transnational Merck and British THK GlaxoSmithKline. Serendipitously, both of these companies both developed and stockpiled mass quantities of their respective Ebola vaccines just in time for the scare campaign. The effectiveness of these vaccines proved to be ineffectual, but they sold a lot of them anyway.

And then, at the height of the epidemic, a large group of specialists arrived, set up field hospitals and conducted a massive operation that ranged over the entire affected region looking for signs of infection. In a short period of time, these specialists developed a new vaccine, Gam-Evac Combi, which turned out to be orders of magnitude more effective than the American or the British ones. The epidemic was quickly ended. It was at that point that the entire episode vanished from Western media. But it would have been very interesting to find out more. For instance, was the epidemic spontaneous, or was its ground zero specifically chosen? There have been reports from the affected region of militants targeting Western medical teams; are they beginning to suspect something? In any case, where did these other, non-Western specialists come from, and who developed the effective Ebola vaccine? Who were they? It was… the Russians, again.

Five years ago, the situation in Syria was indeed dire: ISIS, or the Islamic Caliphate, had taken over a large part of the country, terrorizing the local populations and threatening the rest of the country. But then… I’ll cut to the chase this time, Russia intervened. It turned killing terrorists into a wonderful training exercise for its military. Over the following years, over 63000 Russian service personnel, including 25000 officers and over 400 generals, were rotated through Syria. The Air and Space Forces performed 39000 sorties, destroying 121466 ISIS targets. Transport aviation delivered 6077 tonnes of humanitarian assistance by parachute. On the ground, 1220 physicians and 10 specialized medical teams provided medical care to 88318 Syrians. If you’ve noticed, Western media hardly mentions ISIS at all any more; this is mostly because it no longer exists. Although the Syrians and the Iranians did quite a lot to help, Russia can take most of the credit. (The US can take credit for destroying the Syrian city of Raqqa, where there were plenty of civilians, but from which ISIS was mostly absent at the time).

Perhaps Frau Merkel would be so kind as to volunteer a new list of thee most important problems the world faces… for Russia to solve? Or perhaps we should start ignoring the noises emitted by Western politicians and mass media on this topic of world’s biggest problems because, you see, we can tell what the world’s biggest problem is without their help: they are.