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Sunday, January 29

The modern "Urban Sophists" have placed blind faith in the city-state

The first part of John Batchelor's January 25 discussion with Gregory Copley, the editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, is an educated attempt to peer into the economic future of 2017 and the challenges of war-fighting in this era. But at the 12:59 minute mark the conversation takes a fascinating turn. 

Gregory launches into an analysis of the rise in power of the city-states and their contempt for the Westphalian nation-state, which, as hosts of think-tank denizens have never tired of telling us during the past 20 years, is deader than a doornail.

Just how blinkered is this contempt John Batchelor captured in his remark, "Cities become unlivable in about 25 minutes when the internet goes down." 

Let us hope that cyberwar does not render his remark a literal fact. However, the Urban Sophists, as Gregory termed them, are not yet ready to bend to the will of reality, and so for some time to come the masses must endure blasts of hot air about what the sophists have misidentified as the rise in populism. 

What we're actually seeing is the masses, having escaped the requisite graduate studies that would transform them into sophisticates, clinging to common sense for dear life as reality bears down.
  
On January 27 John and Gregory returned to crystal ball gazing; this time about two emerging nation-state tussles -- one between Kosovo and Serbia, the other between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. I confess the first caused me to blurt, "Oh no, not again!"  

Yes of course again because the mess in the 1990s was never resolved, only papered over, and now the paper mache is crumbling to reveal that Kosovo is in the running for the Crime & Terrorism Capital of the World award. If only President Bill Clinton had listened to the Russians instead of propaganda, which, according to Gregory, cost $2 billion to mount; not small change in those days. But that would have been the smart move, and where's the fun in that?

To round out the story, also listen to John's January 27 discussion with Michael Vlahos, which followed on the one with Gregory last night, and which John titled, "Reawakening of the Threat of Identity Conflicts at the End of Globalization" -- globalization for some reason becoming a more preferable term than transnationalism. I suspect he came up with that title so that every Batchelor Show podcast listener who didn't want to hear any more about Kosovo and Serbia would be coaxed into listening.   

Americans, listen now or be surprised later because three guesses who's going to be expected to deal with the mess.

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