Geopolitics

(edited)

There was a very interesting video presentation published in 2014 by Peter Zeihan on the subject of Geopolitics.  Click here

It is of course based on data available at that time, and I do hope some of our resident experts can tell us more about where the world actually stands today, but it is a great example of how some of the big-picture data interrelates and affects us all.

So, I'd be interested to learn where Peter was right, wrong, or "the jury's still out" in his predictions based on the data he had at that time.  Also, if anyone has access to another more recent presentation such as this it would be wonderful if you could share.

Edit:  I just found a new presentation by Peter Zeihan, published 2018.  Click here

Same questions apply.  Do you think he's right, wrong or out there?

Edited by Dan Warnick
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1_ZHiRcDWB2oTuRVn_x2IqAA.jpeg.4ceea967f575af340db337ab54475a4b.jpegSure you really want to get me started on the topic of geopolitics?  I've been banned, family threatened, house broken into and trashed, death threats, censored and other assorted fun stuff over the years.  Not sure I want to go down this road again using my real name.

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2 minutes ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Sure you really want to get me started on the topic of geopolitics?  I've been banned, family threatened, house broken into and trashed, death threats, censored and other assorted fun stuff over the years.  Not sure I want to go down this road again using my real name.

Not sure how to answer that, Tom.  But it sure sounds like we will all be interested in what you have to say!

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10 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Not sure how to answer that, Tom.  But it sure sounds like we will all be interested in what you have to say!

I've been more active on anonymous forums, using multiple layers of VPNs.  For example, showing Iranian kids back around 2010 (? I forget the years) how to bypass government censorship to post vids on YouTube of the violent crackdown by the government against dissent.  More recently, a couple years ago showing local Malaysians how to bypass government censorship of websites.  And spent years (pointlessly) arguing against Scientology culties (waste of my time).  Among other things.  Arguing against Socialism. Communism.  Globalism.  The list goes on.

Freedom of Speech activist.

Freedom of Thought activist.

Gets me into loads of trouble over the years.

This forum is my playground.  I get to shoot my mouth off endlessly about international oil & gas + its intertwined geopolitics.  And gently poke fun at stupidity and absurdity.

SRS BSNS I try to keep to anon forums, where I can't really get in trouble for saying words.

Meantime, have some Birdsongs of the Mesozoic to mull over my outburst.

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Ok, lets play. Remember my friendly wager?  Pretty sure everyone thought I was nuts.  Still accepting lunch bets.

 

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Think I'm full of it? Have a Google of one of my troll / research socks:

Moonbatshitfag

Started as a simple troll sock for amusement, but ended up providing dox.  SRS BSNS.

Or OTBT, who I ended up killing off with cancer, because the sock was getting too much attention.

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Hmmmm I have a whole colection of Flat Earth troll pics I can use as ammunition for amusement.  Please advise the rules of engagement so I can... oh screw it.  Bring it on.  I'll poke fun at it.  Should be fun.

 

e6dbd8cc285f6e9d250252da275243e38a4dfab96ddbec4f19eadab06657140d.jpg

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I didn't even see the fuse.  What have I done? 

Mommy?  What's a sock?  Don't worry, dear.  There, there.  Shhh...

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1 hour ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Think I'm full of shit? Have a Google of one of my troll / research socks:

Moonbatshitfag

I tried, but google seems to be censoring you.  Google only gave me 6 hits.  I normally get around 6 billion pages worth of hits.  Only 6 hits on one page seems small.  Plus, all of the hits were trying to sell me smart phones.  

 

2 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Pretty sure everyone thought I was nuts. 

Don't worry, Tom.  We all know you are nuts.  But, honestly, that is why we always listen to everything you say.  The nutty ones are the ones who are always right.  For that reason, I am definitely interested in hearing anything you want to say about geopolitics.  Feel free to let it rip!  

 

2 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Ok, lets play. Remember my friendly wager?  Pretty sure everyone thought I was nuts.  Still accepting lunch bets.

I'd definitely take you up on this bet.  My guess is that if the sanctions don't crush Iran's influence in the Middle East, then there will be a US invasion before 2020.  My only concern is the logistics for meeting up for lunch.  Malaysia is a long ways from the US.  However, based on those longitudinal lines in the picture you posted, maybe I have been calculating my distances wrong this whole time!  ;)       

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Epic said:

  My only concern is the logistics for meeting up for lunch.  Malaysia is a long ways from the US.  However, based on those longitudinal lines in the picture you posted, maybe I have been calculating my distances wrong this whole time!  ;)      

Chad, you need to take the Polar Route.  Much shorter.   The original swimmers in that swim contest through the Arctic demonstrated that.  (But that nice lunch with Tom picking up the tab will be a great reward!)

Edited by Jan van Eck
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3 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

There was a very interesting video presentation published in 2014 by Peter Zeihan on the subject of Geopolitics.  Click here

^This was a very interesting presentation.  Zeihan did a great job with it.  Thanks for sharing, Dan.  

3 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Do you think he's right, wrong or out there?

Well, considering the vid was posted in 2014, and we are coming up on 2019, we don't really need to "think" much about these.  Over half of his predictions were dead wrong.  I mean, "Iran is the US's best ally."  ???  If there was a single country the US wants to destroy right now, it is Iran.  Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean Peter was wrong about Iran.  What he said was that Iran had the most potential to be our strongest ally.  Iran might have just screwed it all up when they decided not to play by the US' rules.  In other words, Peter was just pointing out that Iran was given a golden goose that could lay golden eggs...and the Iranians killed it for food.  

He was dead wrong on solar.  

Peter also predicted the the US naval fleet is king.  He is right if the US can stop the new unstoppable missiles (which they probably can).  If the US can't, then the US fleet is just a big floating debris field masquerading as a military force.  

He was right about the new concept of war (drones + special forces and Marine Expeditionary Units).

The data about the demographics was really interesting.  I found it to be the most insightful, and I now greatly fear for both Canada and the EU.  (I feared for them before, but now I greatly fear for them).  Luckily the UK is getting out while the getting is still good.  Ironically, the one thing that might save the EU is their immigrants, and this happens to be the one thing that might also drag them down even faster.  It is all a question of integration: can the immigrants be integrated into the local cultures fast enough for them to buttress the nations' tax-base before their costs associated with that integration quicken the depletion of those tax funds to the point the economy collapses?  

In short, he had lots of good data, and from the data he has, he made great predictions.  However, like all analysts, he is operating on a very limited amount of data, which explains why his predictions sound so good but end up being so wrong.  They sound good because he is giving you all the relevant data to support his predictions, but he has avoided giving you any data that contradicts his predictions (since he himself either does not have it or considered that relevant data to be irrelevant).  I would love to have this guy as part of a think-tank, but I would hate to rely solely on his predictions, since those predictions have thus far proven to be wrong in a majority of the cases.  

For instance, he was wrong about Russia and Russia's time-frame for expansion, wrong about Alberta leaving Canada, wrong about Iran, wrong about the time-frame for the disintegration for the EU...basically wrong about everything.  I mean, the whole reason he had to write the second book was likely because so many of the predictions in his first book ended up being wrong and he had to 'modify' them.  In the second video he is now predicting a war between China and Japan in the next decade or so, which he says China will lose easily.  In fact, he is predicting 3 world wars, all of which will result in catastrophic consequences for everyone except the west.  He also said that Israel would just be sitting around eating popcorn from the safety of their country even while Chinese and Russian nukes are up for sale to the highest bidder...  I'm sorry, but no.  Israel will steal one of those nukes and use it on Miami (while blaming it on IS) before they allow even a single Russian or Chinese nuke to be sold to anyone who threatens them.  

Although Peter's predictions turned out to be basically all wrong, they were only wrong due to the time-frames he set for them.  His predictions might still come true...they were just delayed, for whatever reason.  I think this reason may have something to do with the fact that other people can also see the writing on the wall, and they can change course because of it, thereby delaying the inevitable.  I wouldn't be surprised if most of Peter's predictions don't come true...but they probably won't start coming true for another 20-30 years.  

In contrast with his erroneous predictions, he does have lots of remarkable data.  His data about EU debt, and how they consider debt to be late after 271 days of nonpayment vs the US's 90 days, was quite interesting.  It is important to understand such nuances so as to not end up with skewed data.  His remarks about the average American voter having little-to-no understanding about foreign policy was spot on.  I thought he made a very interesting statement that a common currency gives huge advantage to areas with the best geography...which is why southern EU is struggling but northern EU has been relatively successful.  I also thought his opinion about the advantage of co-located inputs (in the US) to be very interesting...I had never considered these aspects before, and so I really appreciate his info...just not his analysis of the info.  

Although most of his data is quite fabulous, he does seem to gloss over many aspects vital to his predictions.  For instance, he does not mention the effects of blockchain, robots, or the one belt one road initiative, among many others.   Obviously, the biggest mistake I think he is making is how much he is overestimating the average US voter.  We have increasing illiteracy, unlimited PAC money, 81% of the US population hating their govt and not trusting it, 1 in 4 females on anti-depressants which damage the brain (the most limited and valuable resource), etc... He ignores all social issues and thinks that as long as we have a big military and oil were just fine. I have recently attended a US college as a non-traditional student, and though some students on campus were remarkably sharp and give me great hope for the future, a vast majority of them are there only to check the boxes in order to get their degree.  In simpler terms: attending a US college made those students even more incompetent than their secondary education did.  Unless the US reforms their education system and incentivizes people to think, create and solve problems, then there is the very likely chance that those 'vast majority of students' will end up becoming the 'vast majority of voters' who go on to one day elect a Hugo Chavez of our own to run the USA.  When that happens, it might not matter how many rivers or what kind of geography or natural resources (or any other advantage for that matter) that the US has: if you make enough holes, even the largest boat will sink.  

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Good post Dan, thanks.

a few thoughts:

1) I have interest in shale, glad to hear him say breakeven for shale is $37 a barrel, if he’s right.  If he is, shale should maintain profitability for some time.  I’m no expert but don’t believe that breakeven is correct but hey the guy seemed to know what he was talking about on several topics within.  I would really like to know what the collective here has to say.

2) Those who understand Chinese logic, is it plausible that China is setting up to withdraw and will likely “Wall off” and wait for things to blow over as economics and geopolitics reset?  

3) Is Angela Merkel blind, arrogant, out of touch or all 3?

4) Does the “Absent Superpower” bear culpability in the current Venezuela situation we’ve carved up so much in the other thread?  And if so, perhaps Jan is right, hell, maybe his plan isn’t aggressive enough?

5) Tom, trust the plan.

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(edited)

"EPIC"  makes the following observation:    I thought he made a very interesting statement that a common currency gives huge advantage to areas with the best geography...which is why southern EU is struggling but northern EU has been relatively successful. 

I have to disagree. The economies of Southern Europe - Spain, Greece, Italy - struggle precisely because they are locked in into the Euro.  These countries has relatively inefficient industries, unable to compete toe-to-toe with the industries of the North, especially France and Germany.  These southern enterprises have historically been able to stay afloat by the use of currency devaluation, giving them an exchange-rate benefit that keeps them in the ball game.  When they all adopted the Euro, these southern tier countries lost the ability to control their own monetary policies - that went to Germany and German Banks - and lost the ability to devalue.  It made them slaves to the dictates of the German Central Bank and bankers.  Those entities insisted on economic contraction by reduction of public-sector jobs and budget austerity, which kept those countries in the iron vise of economic recession  (or depression, take your pick on the nuances).  So you end up with these stagnating economies that have no hope of ever paying back support loans from the North, become totally beholden to the North, and can never become competitive to the North.  In effect, they end up as cheap tourist locations, with a sullen, servile hospitality industry and workforce.

Now when you dump in vast boatloads of desperate migrants, on top of these economic problems, you end up with an explosive mix.  The burden is unsustainable, as these southern-tier countries do not have the resources or the depth of management to cope. And you know the result of that. 

Edited by Jan van Eck

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8 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

"EPIC"  makes the following observation:    I thought he made a very interesting statement that a common currency gives huge advantage to areas with the best geography...which is why southern EU is struggling but northern EU has been relatively successful. 

I have to disagree. The economies of Southern Europe - Spain, Greece, Italy - struggle precisely because they are locked in into the Euro.  These countries has relatively inefficient industries, unable to compete toe-to-toe with the industries of the North, especially France and Germany.  These southern enterprises have historically been able to stay afloat by the use of currency devaluation, giving them an exchange-rate benefit that keeps them in the ball game.  When they all adopted the Euro, these southern tier countries lost the ability to control their own monetary policies - that went to Germany and German Banks - and lost the ability to devalue.  It made them slaves to the dictates of the German Central Bank and bankers.  Those entities insisted on economic contraction by reduction of public-sector jobs and budget austerity, which kept those countries in the iron vise of economic recession  (or depression, take your pick on the nuances).  So you end up with these stagnating economies that have no hope of ever paying back support loans from the North, become totally beholden to the North, and can never become competitive to the North.  In effect, they end up as cheap tourist locations, with a sullen, servile hospitality industry and workforce.

Now when you dump in vast boatloads of desperate migrants, on top of these economic problems, you end up with an explosive mix.  The burden is unsustainable, as these southern-tier countries do not have the resources or the depth of management to cope. And you know the result of that. 

Jan, I think you misread what I wrote, or I possibly my writing was not clearly stated without support from the video.  In the video, Peter said that Spain, Greece and Italy were at a disadvantage precisely because they had a common currency with the northern states (and their more powerful industries)  Peter claimed that the industries of the northern states were more powerful due to having the better geography than southern Europe.  According to Peter, better geography = better industry because the better geography makes the industry more economical and harder to compete against (his point was that transportation costs are less by river than by road).  To more effectively compete against that better geographic advantage, the southern states would normally devalue their currency, but the common currency of the Euro prevented that, thereby giving advantage to the areas with the best geography.  Or in other words: Peter was saying the economies of Southern Europe struggle precisely because they are locked into the Euro.  He also said the Euro resulted in a "transfer of wealth" from southern European nations to northern European nations.  

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(edited)

On 9/8/2018 at 4:27 PM, Epic said:

Jan, I think you misread what I wrote, or I possibly my writing was not clearly stated without support from the video.  In the video, Peter said that Spain, Greece and Italy were at a disadvantage precisely because they had a common currency with the northern states (and their more powerful industries)  Peter claimed that the industries of the northern states were more powerful due to having the better geography than southern Europe.  According to Peter, better geography = better industry because the better geography makes the industry more economical and harder to compete against (his point was that transportation costs are less by river than by road).  To more effectively compete against that better geographic advantage, the southern states would normally devalue their currency, but the common currency of the Euro prevented that, thereby giving advantage to the areas with the best geography.  Or in other words: Peter was saying the economies of Southern Europe struggle precisely because they are locked into the Euro.  He also said the Euro resulted in a "transfer of wealth" from southern European nations to northern European nations.  

OK, fair enough, and I would comment that "Peter" is right about the Euro, but wrong about the reasons.  It has little if anything to do with river barge traffic.  It has everything to do with along-standing superior technical education system that produces superb engineers and designers, and an apprentice system that produces a skilled workforce.  Add into the mix the advantages of a well-developed financial system to finance industry, and those countries invariably prevail as against the Southern countries with more peasants, less technical education, less engineers (and more limited universities), and a less-aggressive banking system.  Cheers.

Edited by Jan van Eck
correct "add into the max" to "add into the mix"
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3 hours ago, TXPower said:

5) Tom, trust the plan.

Yep.  Expecting the media frenzy to increase until the mid terms in November. 

What makes a good movie?

Enjoy the show.

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7 hours ago, Epic said:

I tried, but google seems to be censoring you.  Google only gave me 6 hits.

Amusing.

When is the last time Google gave you only 6 hits on *anything* ?

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37 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

It has little if anything to do with river barge traffic.  It has everything to do with along-standing superior technical education system that produces superb engineers and designers, and an apprentice system that produces a skilled workforce.  Add into the max the advantages of a well-developed financial system to finance industry, and those countries invariably prevail as against the Southern countries with more peasants

^You definitely sound right about these factors. 

Jan, do you happen to have much experience with the educational system overseas vs. that provided by the US?  The reason I ask is because I have received a higher education in the US, and I was rather disappointed by it.  However, I also didn't attend an ivy league school.  I attended a low-cost State university.  Do you know if there is really that drastic of a difference between the education levels received between American and Germany, or even between an American State university and an American Ivy league school?  I imagine there must be something of a dramatic difference, because I certainly never saw the "superior technical education system that produces superb engineers and designers" of which you speak.  Unless, of course, you are speaking only for foreign schools, and not American schools.  Or maybe you speak for foreign schools and American Ivy League schools, but not the State universities. Or maybe you are speaking of on the job training, and not necessarily of schooling?  

I guess my main reason for asking is that I don't want to go around telling people that schooling in the US is terrible when the real problem is that I just couldn't afford to attend a good school, in which case it is more of a 'wealth problem' rather than a 'schooling problem'.  

Anyway, your input would be appreciated.  Thanks!

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Epic said:

^You definitely sound right about these factors. 

I guess my main reason for asking is that I don't want to go around telling people that schooling in the US is terrible when the real problem is that I just couldn't afford to attend a good school, in which case it is more of a 'wealth problem' rather than a 'schooling problem'.  

Anyway, your input would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Private preparatory schools in New England, of which there are many, but very pricey, are all excellent, and some are truly superb. Examples would be Phillips Academy (New Hampshire); Taft School, Hotchkiss School, (CT - Connecticut). 

A handful of public schools in the richest, toniest communities are quite good.  For example, Greenwich, CT  (average home price over $1 million); Westport High School (same idea), Farmington High School (same deal) (all CT).   Those towns have the coin to buy the best and hire the best. 

What happens in Europe (and I was speaking specifically to Europe in the previous posts) is even more rigorous than all of the above, and more rigorous than the Ivy League.  Northern Europe, and Cambridge and Oxford in England, are unbeatable. 

Germany and France both have these tech schools for industrial apprentice programs, you get out of the tech school and you then spend four years in some factory as an apprentice, and by the time you are through you are a very highly skilled worker.  That is what sets Germany apart. 

The standard run-of-the-mill US high school is useless, mostly due to discipline problems, especially in the big cities and close-in suburbs, plus the absurd bureaucracy of the State Education Departments that seem designed to specifically weed out anyone good and ensure the perpetual employment of vast numbers of useless deadwood. It is what it is. [Parents who are of modest means but unhappy with the public school system enroll their kids in "parochial schools," which in practice means the Catholic School system. That seems to work rather well, mostly because they avoid the discipline problems endemic to public schools. ] Trust this clarifies a bit  (Just my opinions, which as always reflect my personal prejudices.)

I would add that there is nothing to stop you from continuing your education throughout your life.  You can do that formally, through actual classes, or informally, by making a concerted effort to study a specific discipline or general area, such as The Great Books of Western Civilization.   You would be surprised how your knowledge and wisdom expands with continued study of both classical literature and technical fields (outside of what you use to earn a living).  I devour all kinds of stuff. You never want to stop exposing yourself to critical thinking.  Right now I am studying Danish; interesting language.  Cheers. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
corrected Phillips Academy to be in Exeter, NH
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34 minutes ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Yep.  Expecting the media frenzy to increase until the mid terms in November. 

What makes a good movie?

Enjoy the show.

A well written script and the right actors for each part.

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5 minutes ago, TXPower said:

A well written script and the right actors for each part.

We are on the same page here.

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12 minutes ago, TXPower said:

A well written script and the right actors for each part.

^

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8 hours ago, Epic said:

I tried, but google seems to be censoring you.  Google only gave me 6 hits

Over the target.

Enjoying my Sunday morning here.

https://youtu.be/uIXV0cir4-E

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2 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Amusing.

When is the last time Google gave you only 6 hits on *anything* ?

I tried and Google gave me  148,000 hits.  By definition, that makes you a celebrity!

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4 hours ago, TXPower said:

Good post Dan, thanks.

a few thoughts:

1) I have interest in shale, glad to hear him say breakeven for shale is $37 a barrel, if he’s right.  If he is, shale should maintain profitability for some time.  I’m no expert but don’t believe that breakeven is correct but hey the guy seemed to know what he was talking about on several topics within.  I would really like to know what the collective here has to say.

2) Those who understand Chinese logic, is it plausible that China is setting up to withdraw and will likely “Wall off” and wait for things to blow over as economics and geopolitics reset?  

3) Is Angela Merkel blind, arrogant, out of touch or all 3?

4) Does the “Absent Superpower” bear culpability in the current Venezuela situation we’ve carved up so much in the other thread?  And if so, perhaps Jan is right, hell, maybe his plan isn’t aggressive enough?

5) Tom, trust the plan.

You're welcome.  When I watched that video I just knew this was the right crowd to appreciate it and to get into it.

I have thoughts about a couple of your points:

2) Yes, I believe it is quite plausible, but of course it would be painful and that is where it helps to have a great deal of control over the thoughts and beliefs of the citizenry.  Combine that with an intense nationalism, and a vast military and government bureaucracy, and China should be able to sell the idea that it must be done due to "crazy" outside forces.  There is so much to this question that I am sure my answers won't suffice, but I'll keep trying.  Think about the government a) having an almost monopoly on the transportation systems = individual movement and communication, even or especially within the country.  b) Even if people do travel around internally for work when the country has closed down its borders, the people they meet when they get where they are going will tow the line as instructed AND they are being fed the same nationalistic messages = crops/robust sustenance/healthy industry/government good (no famine/lots of productivity/government good).  c) The government can round up millions of dissenters and fill up those ghost cities they have built, sort of a custom built government holding cell, and they know how to build walls around anything.  d) Ultimate control of telecom, media, social media, and data access = information about what's happening, even in the next province let alone outside of China.  There is limited privatization in some of these sectors, but that privatization comes with strict limits and the knowledge that those privileges can be taken over by the government in the interest of national security. 

Like I said, there is so much to this question that I've really only hit the highlights.  It wouldn't be clean by any stretch of the imagination, but you should see a stoic Chinese when challenged to do the "right" thing.  It is a truly unbelievable condition to behold.  Think of your sister or mother, or your wimpy brother Dan, getting all of their teeth pulled out, without anesthetics or anyone holding them down and no straps, without a tear on their cheek or a whimper, staring straight ahead.  In a room with 100 other patients!  Oh yes, that stoic.  And I have seen it with my own eyes.  I must admit that this is hard for me to accept in the aftermath of the one-child policy, but the older generations have seen with their own eyes the price that can be paid for not converting back to stoicism, so I think the reverse transition from somewhat spoiled only children (one-child policy) to stoic could happen very quickly.  The Chinese equivalent of you are either with us or against us, but the meaning applies totally within the borders of China.

3) There will be others that can answer more about Angela than me, but I will help get their juices flowing, so to speak:  Angela comes from post WWII East Germany where endless studies, unproductive meetings, totalitarian control and the ever present feelings of being cast aside were omnipresent.  That makes for one interesting type of German personality, to say the least.  Angela has been re-integrated and she believes that it can be worked out for others, no matter where they come from.  I asked old friends and colleagues about their thoughts of the mass migration that was causing them so much trouble a few years ago, and I was quickly and firmly told that Germany had handled integration before and they could do it again.  That was then; this is now.  Now the original West Germans aren't so sure it's such a good idea; the original East Germans, such as Angela, may continue to believe that no-one should be turned away, or cast aside, if you will.  I also presume that Angela has seen the videos that I linked to at the beginning of this thread, or may have been present at one of the inter-governmental meetings herself.  If she has or was, she knows she needs young people and she needs them now, not 25-30 years from now.  Being a strong good German, with her background specifically, she has taken the decision to force the immigration upon the country with the firm belief that Germany can make it work.  Who knows, she may be right.

Your question also included whether or not she might be arrogant.  Yes is the simple answer.  And since I still have friends and ex-colleagues there, that is all I'm going to say.

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