2014 June 12 Thursday
Barack Obama Does Not Want Jihadists In Iraq Or Syria

The whole northern province of Ninevah in Iraq has fallen to Sunni forces called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (or ISIS with Syria as the second S) including the city of Mosul. How many Americans died fighting in Mosul? For what? Meanwhile the Kurds took this opportunity to capture Kirkuk, which they've long seen as their capital. The Kurds claim to have moved into areas to take control when the Iraqi Army fled from the Sunni fighters.

So what do America's leaders think of these events? Obama does not want Sunni Jihadists getting control of a piece of territory.

We do have a stake in making sure these Jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria for that matter.

Well, good luck with that Barack. The Shias in charge in Baghdad do not have the Right Stuff to keep down the Sunnis. By contrast, the Kurdish Peshmerga seem less likely to crack under fighting pressure. The funny thing here is that the Shias are the largest population block. Can the Shias maintain control of Baghdad? Will Shia militias show the level of spine that is missing from the Iraqi Army?

The Kurds are the winners in all this. The government in Baghdad is going to want help from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the Sunni Arab fighters. The Kurds seem like more effective fighters. The Kurds want to control towns where Kurds live in substantial numbers.

Will the Shia solders in the Iraqi Army fight more effectively in Shia-majority areas?

Are we witnessing the emergence of 3 states out of Iraq? Will the Shia state call itself Iraq while the Kurds proclaim their territory as Kurdistan?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 June 12 10:45 PM 


Comments
Wolf-Dog said at June 13, 2014 2:07 AM:


We are also witnessing the emergence of the first Jihadi group that might demonstrate its ability to create an official state with a government: namely the Caliphate. The reason such an Iraqi Jihadi state is relevant is mainly because it can encourage the same thing in Saudi Arabia. If the Jihadis can come to power in Saudi Arabia, they might gain control of the entire Saudi Peninsula and this would give them significant control of the oil trade in the world.

Question: Can the US afford such an outcome? The answer obviously depends on the available oil and natural gas reserves of the US. Although it has been said that the new fracking and shale methods will make the US self-sufficient, the infrastructure to extract all these reserves will not be ready for another decade, and it has also been claimed that the new reserves will also be depleted rather very quickly, in a few decades after we begin exploiting them.

Thus, the writing is on the wall: the US needs a Manhattan Project for energy research, especially new generation nuclear reactors that can be both clean and abundant enough to convert carbon into liquid fuels. We also need a Bronx Project for economically viable batteries for electric cars. This would take at least $25 billion per year for the next decade, but even if the government spends $50 billion per year on energy research for the next decade would be less than the $1 trillion we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if we take into account the cost of the medical care that the traumatized veterans need, we have wasted an additional $1 trillion also. Thus spending $50 billion per year for energy research for the next 10 years would be less than 1/4 of the total cost of the failed wars we prosecuted in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here is a new interview with the CEO of Flibe Energy developing molten salt thorium reactors that would be both very clean and affordable, as this system burns all the long-term nuclear waste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TQkLRQxgyY


Wolf-Dog said at June 13, 2014 2:10 AM:

We are also witnessing the emergence of the first Jihadi group that might demonstrate its ability to create an official state with a government: namely the Caliphate. The reason such an Iraqi Jihadi state is relevant is mainly because it can encourage the same thing in Saudi Arabia. If the Jihadis can come to power in Saudi Arabia, they might gain control of the entire Saudi Peninsula and this would give them significant control of the oil trade in the world.

Question: Can the US afford such an outcome? The answer obviously depends on the available oil and natural gas reserves of the US. Although it has been said that the new fracking and shale methods will make the US self-sufficient, the infrastructure to extract all these reserves will not be ready for another decade, and it has also been claimed that the new reserves will also be depleted rather very quickly, in a few decades after we begin exploiting them.

Thus, the writing is on the wall: the US needs a Manhattan Project for energy research, especially new generation nuclear reactors that can be both clean and abundant enough to convert carbon into liquid fuels. We also need a Bronx Project for economically viable batteries for electric cars. This would take at least $25 billion per year for the next decade, but even if the government spends $50 billion per year on energy research for the next decade would be less than the $1 trillion we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if we take into account the cost of the medical care that the traumatized veterans need, we have wasted an additional $1 trillion also. Thus spending $50 billion per year for energy research for the next 10 years would be less than 1/4 of the total cost of the failed wars we prosecuted in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here is a new interview with the CEO of Flibe Energy developing molten salt thorium reactors that would be both very clean and affordable, as this system burns all the long-term nuclear waste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TQkLRQxgyY

Stephen said at June 13, 2014 4:47 AM:

For the last 30yrs we've been busy undermining every government in the region that tried to form a strong state (in case it threatened Israel), and now we reap the whirlwind.

James Bowery said at June 13, 2014 7:45 AM:

This is merely a diversion by the Obama administration as it invites the world to send their children to the US to become future voters for more centralized government and laborers for more centralized wealth.

amac78 said at June 13, 2014 11:22 AM:

Here's a great line from the "The Hill" article linked in the main post:

The Pentagon recently notified Congress that it plans to sell 200 Humvees to Iraq for $1 billion.

I'm no math whiz, but my calculator puts that at $5 million per.

Yep. That's what the Iraqi (Shi'ia?) Army needs to decisively turn the tide of battle. More $5 million Jeeps.

James Bowery said at June 13, 2014 12:50 PM:

WolfDog writes: "the US needs a Manhattan Project for energy research..."

No it doesn't. The US of today bears little resemblance to the US of the Manhattan Project era. The human capital of the nation of settlers has been largely digested in an urbanizing orgy. What tattered remains are left with anything resembling the manly attributes required of such a project have been so alienated from society that the establishment has had to construct a lightning rod called "The Tea Party" to ground out the, shall we say, "discontent" of this remnant.

Now, if you could somehow connect up that lightning rod to power the machinery of such a project you might have something -- but this risks the loss of control to those who built the civilization that is being stolen by the establishment and its "nation of immigrants" and that just won't do, will it?

The last time anyone had a chance to do something about the energy problem within the realm of government policy was the legislation that Robert W. Bussard promoted while blowing the whistle on the fusion program. Since the only copy of his letter to Congress is in an archive of my old web site you can see how much traction that got with the media, academia, think tanks and the responsible government agencies.

No one with power really wants to solve this problem. They'd rather ride the sinking ship of state down while they're collecting the jewelry and anything else that isn't nailed down to load it on a lifeboat they've cleared of women and children.

Wolf-Dog said at June 13, 2014 3:45 PM:

James Bovery,

Although it is true that many special interest groups such as the current oil and gas industry would try to prevent breakthroughs in competing new forms of energy, the fact is that in the name of capitalism, a lot of other rivals would fight back by financing these rival ideas. The government might be manipulated by the oil industry to cripple the competition, but this will not be so easy in this new era where information is flowing a lot more easily than during the 1970s and 1980s.

Please watch the YouTube video of Flibe Energy that I mentioned above, where the CEO Kirk Sorensen said that considerable private funds are behind the company. The battery industry will almost certainly be seen as a threat by the oil companies, but again, there are a lot of rich investors who are in Silicon Valley and other parts of the world.

The old fusion establishment was very entrenched, and they even prevented the publication of a research paper by the Nobel laureate Schwinger who was investigating the possibility of low energy nuclear reactions (previously known as cold fusion), and as a result, believe or not, Schwinger actually resigned from the American Physical Society before he died, but he also went to Japan to encourage Asia to pursue this area of nuclear physics.

Separately, when oil and natural gas begin to run out (after the new shale and fracking reserves are also exhausted in a few decades), even the entrenched industries will not have any more power leftover to block progress in energy research.

Wolf-Dog said at June 13, 2014 3:51 PM:

My apologies for having misspelled your last name.

Stephen said at June 13, 2014 7:28 PM:

Wolf-Dog said "This would take at least $25 billion per year for the next decade, but even if the government spends $50 billion per year on energy research for the next decade would be less than the $1 trillion we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if we take into account the cost of the medical care that the traumatized veterans need, we have wasted an additional $1 trillion also."

The proletariat will applaud spending a trillion dollars on a war of choice that will kill 1000s of their children, then in the next breath they'll claim they're too highly taxed so can't spend 10% of that on research that will benefit their grand-children.

The power of propaganda continues to amaze me.

James Bowery said at June 13, 2014 8:12 PM:

Private funding is another kettle of fish from a Manhattan Project, but even there we're facing a serious shortage of manly capital. Sorensen's modest funding toward a profit stream starting in 10 years is inadequate. I suspect the Chinese will take this up when it looks like the primary risks have been contained -- and I don't think the graphite problem has been contained yet.

The problem with the "entrenched industries" is the game has become regulatory capture. That kind of game can only dig itself into an ever deepening hole. The oil and natural gas plays currently being pursued are in a race against regulatory capture and sooner or later the need to innovate due to depletion of that technology's opportunities will slow them down enough that the rent seekers will get them. Its already nearly intolerable that young pioneer stock guys are able to find jobs that pay enough to support siring children in a conscientious manner -- so much progress has been made in destroying the middle class aka the nation of settlers in the last generation it is downright dangerous to loosen the thumbscrews at this point.

Wolf-Dog said at June 14, 2014 12:06 AM:

There are probably many types of molten salt reactor that can be designed. If more money were put to work, certainly some good results would materialize within a decade. There is a lot of accumulated hidden capital lurking around, all the accumulated debt corresponds to the same exact amount in the form of real cash that has been stored elsewhere.

Separately, here is the 2013 government spending table:

http://www.proposalexponent.com/federalprofiles.html

As you can see, only an infinitesimally small percentage of the spending is for energy research, and from this, an a small fraction goes to nuclear reactor research. (It seems that most of the "nuclear energy spending" that the government does is mostly for the maintenance of nuclear warheads, not nuclear reactors to generate energy.)

Adding just $5 billion per year for reactor research, would make a big difference. That's how bad the situation is. In contrast to the 1950s and 1960s, in the United States very few nuclear physics PhDs are given every year, certainly not in the top schools. I have been making a list of college textbooks on nuclear physics, and most of these were written during the 1950s and 1960s, with a few more texts during the 1970s. Without a government mobilization to give scholarships to graduate students to study nuclear physics and nuclear energy, there will not be enough talent to develop new generation reactors on time.

On the other hand, believe it or not, even though Germany made the political decision to close down many of its existing reactors after the Japanese earthquake, EU is still increasing its budget for research in nuclear science:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-EU_to_raise_nuclear_research_spending-0111124.html

In fact, European universities train a lot of nuclear physicists even though the best brains are still in the US. All we need to do is to convince the government to increase the budget for science and engineering geared for nuclear reactors, and to throw in more seed money to develop reactors.

James Bowery said at June 14, 2014 12:30 PM:

Letting the post-millennial US government pick which technology to develop is asking for more Solyndras. This was true even back in 1992 when I drafted the fusion prize legislation that Bussard campaigned for and it has only gotten worse.

The best you can hope for as a generalization of the fusion prize legislation to allow for all forms of nuclear energy, with particular attention to page 7 of that legislation wherein nuclear test range land is set aside for lease by private enterprise that is developing nuclear energy technology so as to allow less onerous NRC oversight, and, in addition to auctioning off the He3 inventory as was specified for fusion, auction off U233 and other fission-related inventories (including thorium itself).

The problem with prize award legislation is the very reason it is more likely to work: It reduces the potential for more Solyndras from public sector rent seekers -- hence it will be viciously opposed by those rent seekers who are, now, more influential than ever. On the other hand it might work if some _reasonable_ private sector philanthropist could be found: a privately financed prize of this type to the tune of a few billion dollars, combined with some sort of deal with a foreign government that isn't quite as pathological as the US -- perhaps Australia -- to lease some isolated desert area for the technology test range.

Wolf-Dog said at June 14, 2014 1:44 PM:

The first step is to convince the government to do the following two things:

1) Give a lot of scholarships for students to attend graduate programs in fundamental areas of physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science. Most of these science PhDs will not find jobs in their specialties, but instead, a critical minimum mass of talented people will be trained to give them the mental flexibility to innovate. The reason many physics PhDs cannot find jobs in their fields is not because there are too many of them, but because there are too few research jobs in the US at the fundamental level.


2) Create a "Small Technology Company Incubator Program", where the government gives cheap or free loans to promising new technology companies: it is well-known that 90 % of new companies go bankrupt, but the surviving 10 % end up growing successfully and they hire a lot more workers, in such a way that they end up paying more taxes than the money wasted by the government subsidies to the new companies. Solyndra disaster was due to the corruption at the government level that picked winners, but I am talking about a more sparse and nebulous way of throwing money in smaller increments to many companies instead of just one big hand-picked loser.

In any case, high risk science and technology never gets developed by corporations who want relatively short term and safe profits that are visible on the horizon. This is why the innovation that came from the desperate secret military programs during World War II and Cold War I, generated a lot of dramatic commercial technologies that got applied soon after the military programs. For example, the microchips that were needed for military space and missile efforts, or most notably, the nuclear power reactors that were initially a byproduct of the preparations for nuclear war against Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. Without government-backed programs, probably nuclear power reactors wound not have been developed for another century.

Stephen said at June 14, 2014 6:33 PM:

Without government-backed programs, probably nuclear power reactors wound not have been developed for another century.

Don't fret Wolf-Dog, the Chinese will do it...

Matt@occidentalism.org said at June 15, 2014 3:34 AM:

"it is well-known that 90 % of new companies go bankrupt, but the surviving 10 % end up growing successfully"

Once these companies are using other people's money (tax payer money) you can expect all due diligence to go out the windows. Perhaps 1% of those companies might be successful in that instance.

James Bowery said at June 15, 2014 5:34 PM:

Wolf-Dog said "In any case, high risk science and technology never gets developed by corporations who want relatively short term and safe profits that are visible on the horizon."

That's why the fusion prize legislation specified a large number of short-term milestones each of which paid out $(1992)100M.

Bob Bussard supported this as plausibly enabling him to get private financing for his approach to IEC all the way to to commercial operation.

It's hard work coming up with the operational definitions for prize award criteria that are relatively immune to favoritism while also having a high probability of real progress, but that's hard work worth doing if you want to throw around billions of dollars.

Mike Street Station said at June 16, 2014 7:46 AM:

So Obama finally comes around to thinking that it's not in America's interest to have a Jihadi state controlling territory? Better late than never.


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