December 30, 2008

Russian thinks we’ll be an Asian colony by 2010

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 10:09 am

The Wall Street Journal reports that a Russian academic has predicted the United States will meet the same fate as the Former Soviet Union, although not for the same reasons.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

Hawaii, in Panarin’s fantasy, will “go to” either China or Japan. Others have alternative predictions.

Think Panarin is right? Then bet on it, er, I mean, invest to suit!  [Hat tip to Charley Foster for the inspiration, triggered by a post he wrote way back in March.]


  1. I love those prediction markets.

    Comment by Charley Foster — December 30, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  2. You mean we aren’t already?

    Comment by damon — December 30, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  3. (I’ll go long petroleum when the JoAnns of the world announce prices are now permanently low).

    Comment by Charley Foster — December 30, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Go long gnats when Charley starts straining at them.

    DOUG: Gnats? I don’t get it.

    Comment by anon — December 30, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  5. Ye Olde Bible verse:
    Matthew 23:24, American Standard Version

    “Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!”

    I suspect the anonymous poster is implying Charley is good at catching the small errors while missing the Big Picture.

    Myself, I appreciate Charley’s often fresh perspective. On the matter of future oil prices, I gotta go with the view they are going to inevitably rise in the long run, despite short term fluctuations. The economics (and environmental benefits) of solar waterheating are so great that I am open to the requirement that all new housing come with it installed. When the price of a $5000 system is tacked onto a mortgage the additional monthly increase is almost imperceptible and is likely more than covered by the decrease in monthly electric costs.

    Other than a somewhat attractive obstinant resistance to “nanny state” do-gooderism, I don’t see a reasonable objection. Is there no “public interest” in reducing the pollution from the Kauai (or Kahului, Kahe point, etc.) powerplants run by the electric companies? If I am not allowed to have activities on my property which cause offense to the neighbors (noise, foul odors, etc.) why should I be allowed to generate electricity in a polluting fashion when there are reasonable and cost effective alternatives readily available? It is not as if solar water heater is cutting edge experimental and unproven.

    So, yeah, I gotta go with the Christian Bible on this one. Charley IS straining at gnats with his insistence the “JoAnns of the world” go long on oil rather than impose reasonable energy requirements on new construction.

    Yeah, the “Peak Oil” fanatics too often come across as conspiracy theorists in their explanation of world events, but I disagree it is “crackpot” to predict the price of oil will be going up and base public policy upon such assumptions.

    (Oh my G-d! I just supported the Bible!)

    Comment by kolea — January 1, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  6. Returning from the diversion of Charley’s gnats to address the Russian academic’s “predictions,” the guy is clearly a provocateur, which is sometimes a useful way to stimulate thinking. I suspect he is more interested in playing a role on the stage of Russian popular opinion than in advancing “academic” scholarship.

    It’s too bad his scenario for a breakup of the United States is so ridiculous and fixated upon the 2010 date, but I suspect that gives his popularity a decent shelflife. He will undoubtedly be in the papers and on TV, basking in the fame and getting the chicks for the next two years.

    But Americans might benefit from the commonplace, static assumption that the United States will last forever. Particularly in Hawaii, where we are occupying a lovely “fleet of islands” in conflict with international law (which is admittedly weak) and a moral code to which many of us, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, subscribe.

    Despite changes in military technology from the time the US expansionists acquired Pearl Harbor, Hawaii still makes a useful “sugar-coated fortress” in the middle of the Pacific for supporting American military pre-eminence over much of the Asia Pacific region. So I doubt the US is willing to give up Hawaii without a fight.

    Hawaii’s economy, and therefore our politicians, is controlled by corporate boardrooms outside the state. Even if the local politicians wanted to resist outside domination on behalf of Hawaii’s people (an everchanging demographic), their range of options is extremely limited, so they make efforts to skim off a few benefits for “local people,” sometimes in the form of union jobs, sometimes contracts for local corporations or elite members aligned with prominent politicians.

    Native Hawaiians, however defined, have been here for over a thousand years and will not go away. Nor will there moral claims. Which is OK with the people running this state, so long as they do not rock the boat too much. Hawaiians, and the Hawaiian “host culture,” offer added value to the corporate investments in tourism and real estate and at very little cost. A “Hawaiian Sense of Place” distinguishes Hawaii from other travel destinations. Visitors can have the safety, stability and sanitation of the United States while still have an exotic, tropical vacation. Local people get paid low wages to provide “local color” for the entertainment, nay “education” of the tourists, while the vast bulk of the money siphons out to those oversea boardrooms.

    The investment firm Morgan Stanley, teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, has Hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in the expansion of the Makena Resort on Maui. With that muh money at stake, what chance do the poor pipsqueaks on the Maui County Council have to decide the development is undesirable, too large and unsupportable by Maui’s water supply? Morgan Stanley and their local agent Everett Dowling owns the Maui Council and control Maui’s future, not the people of Maui. If they are lucky, the councilmembers managed to get some campaign contributions, investment opportunities or squirreled away dollars in the Cayman Islands or Panama. More likely, they are (more or less) honest and personally got diddly. And managed to get diddly for Maui’s people.

    It was painful to watch union reps I know and like, get up and ask for approval of the project. In exchange, they will get union jobs for their workers, though even on this point, they refused to support an explicit requirement that Dowling will use union contractors!

    The people of Hawaii do not OWN Hawaii. What happens when the ownership of the corporations who actually own our land and politicians shift to non-American hands? Japanese and British capital already plays a major role. Are the Chinese in a position to assume control through US indebtedness? What happens then to the notion “Hawaii is a part of the U.S.”? How do we label the islands if most of the land, hotels, businesses and politicians are controlled by non-American interests, but the US military continues to have its Pacific Command in the islands?

    For many of us, all we “own” in Hawaii is our friendships, knowledge and memories. Along with some clutter and a beat up car for hauling us to and from work and the shopping mall. Those who own homes are nervously watching as their market value drops along with the bulk of our savings for retirement. Since we no longer “own” Hawaii, what difference does it make who the new Overlords are? What interest do we have in remaining a part of “the United States,” especially if such a status speeds up the influx of newcomers and the loss of our “local” identity?

    And meanwhile, with an understanding of time which approaches “geological,” the Hawaiians wait.

    The “United States” as a a category of thought will decline in importance. All empires crumble into dust. The Russians schema is ridiculously oversimplified. Canada and Mexico will annex adjacent regions of the US? More likely the reverse will happened. Or, has already happened and our conceptions have not yet be changed to recognize it.

    The “Hawaiian Islands” are not simply a legal/political fiction like “the United States.” The basalt will stand, surrounded by sea, for hundreds of thousands of years, probably many millions. So long as people survive as a species, the moral claim of the indigenous Hawaiians will not easily be extinguished. They were the original inhabitants of these islands. Their culture, even language, were formed by it and they were (and continue to be) dispossessed through unjust acts which will also be remembered so long as there are people to tell the tale.

    I suspect that claim will outlast “the United States.”

    Comment by kolea — January 1, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  7. Actually, those who are missing the point are the ones who excuse a law that might or might not have beneficial side-effects but was passed for idiotic non-existent reasons. The reasons we pass a laws are important. It’s how we determine whether a law should be passed in the first place and it’s how we judge a law’s effectiveness over time. If a council member wants to legislate a solar requirement to address pollution, that’s fine. We can study and argue over whether such a requirement is or is not an effective method and whether it would have unforeseen consequences, good or bad. Joann suggested a solar requirement to address not any real problem faced by residents of Kauai, but based on a bogus, trendy, junior-Paul Ehrlich non-issue.

    Comment by Charley Foster — January 2, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  8. I, for one, welcome our new Asian overlords.

    Comment by TS — January 30, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

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