Russia and North Korea through the Lens of GDP

One of the ways in which the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative doesn’t pass the smell test is when you sniff at Russia’s GDP. In 2014, it was north of $2 trillion. But by 2016 it was down 40 percent to $1.3 trillion.

Wonder why? You know the reason: Fracking. The fracking revolution has brought oil prices down from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel. So we are to believe that the Russians, whose whole economy relies on high energy prices, were colluding with the party of “drill, baby, drill?” I don’t think so.

Mexico, another oil state, has seen GDP drop from $1.3 trillion to $1.05 trillion in the oil price bust. That’s a nasty 20 percent drop. But it tells us that Mexico’s economy is about a lot more than oil.

Let us talk about North Korea and its nukes and play a little quiz. What’s the per capita GDP of South Korea? Answer: $27,500. So what’s the per capita GDP of North Korea? Answer: $583.

You might ask, how in the world do the Norks pay for ICBMs and nuclear warheads with that kind of GDP? I couldn’t possibly comment, except to say that a $1.60 a day economy has no business trying to make it in the world of nuclear powers. Still, the leader of a $1.60 a day economy has to do something to avoid being blown away by the next puff of wind, and Kim Jong-un is still in power, so he must be doing something right.

Let’s get back to Russia. Per capita GDP is $8,700. Do you know what the U.S. number is? $53,700. So really, when Putin is doing the hokey-pokey down in Syria he is dancing way above his pay grade, which is about the same as China and its per capita GDP of $8,100. What about Iran? Per capita GDP is $4,900, down 37 percent from $7,800 before the frack began to crack.

Of course, Putin wants to Make Russia Great Again, and China wants to make sure that nobody gets any idea of sacking the Old Summer Palace, as the Brits and the French did in 1860, or run riot in Manchuria, as the Japanese did in the 1930s. And Iran wants to strut and fret its hour upon the stage of the fracked-out Middle East before it’s too late.

So what, exactly is all the fuss about Russia and Iran and North Korea about? Could it be that, just as social justice warriors need the existential threat of racists, sexists, and homophobes, the foreign policy deep-state establishment needs credible foreign threats to battle against?

Now we all know that in order to be taken seriously in foreign policy you have to have a stack of Ivy League degrees, and have written deep-think pieces in Foreign Policy, and served on the National Security Council, and been a Deputy Assistant something-or-other in the last administration but one.

If this is true then how come the debacle in the Middle East on Obama’s watch, the Iraq folly on Bush’s watch, the Balkan follies on Clinton’s watch, and the Vietnam folly on the JFK/LBJ watch?

In fact, U.S. foreign policy is one stupid failure after another, a fact that only makes sense if Harry Truman’s “striped-pants boys” are idiots. But that would be insulting to idiots.

Here is my favorite example of foreign policy by idiots. The Bush administration persuaded Libyan leader Gaddafi to give up its nuclear program, and then the Obama striped-pantsuit girls went in and toppled the tin-pot dictator’s regime. What message do you think that sends to tin-pot dictators everywhere from Iran to North Korea?

Any idiot could tell you that: Never, ever, give up your nuclear weapon. Or weapons, as the case may be.

Think about what nuclear means to the Iranians. It means that the great powers have to negotiate with them and get them to promise to Barack Obama that, no, never, not-nohow will they develop nuclear weapons, wink, wink.

Think about what a nuclear capability means to the Norks. It means that the great powers are actually paying attention to their pathetic undeveloped country with a per-capita GDP one half of the U.S. GDP back in 1800. How cool is that?

Now, I’m not saying that the striped-pants boys are completely useless and create more trouble than they are worth. After all, despite World War I and World War II and the Cold War and the War Against Islam we are all still here. Even with our modern industrial economy and its ability to blow everything up until the rubble bounces, we are still here, pace six million Jews, ten million kulaks, 30 million Chinese, and so on.

All I’m saying is: GDP puts things in context.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

 

One of the ways in which the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative doesn’t pass the smell test is when you sniff at Russia’s GDP. In 2014, it was north of $2 trillion. But by 2016 it was down 40 percent to $1.3 trillion.

Wonder why? You know the reason: Fracking. The fracking revolution has brought oil prices down from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel. So we are to believe that the Russians, whose whole economy relies on high energy prices, were colluding with the party of “drill, baby, drill?” I don’t think so.

Mexico, another oil state, has seen GDP drop from $1.3 trillion to $1.05 trillion in the oil price bust. That’s a nasty 20 percent drop. But it tells us that Mexico’s economy is about a lot more than oil.

Let us talk about North Korea and its nukes and play a little quiz. What’s the per capita GDP of South Korea? Answer: $27,500. So what’s the per capita GDP of North Korea? Answer: $583.

You might ask, how in the world do the Norks pay for ICBMs and nuclear warheads with that kind of GDP? I couldn’t possibly comment, except to say that a $1.60 a day economy has no business trying to make it in the world of nuclear powers. Still, the leader of a $1.60 a day economy has to do something to avoid being blown away by the next puff of wind, and Kim Jong-un is still in power, so he must be doing something right.

Let’s get back to Russia. Per capita GDP is $8,700. Do you know what the U.S. number is? $53,700. So really, when Putin is doing the hokey-pokey down in Syria he is dancing way above his pay grade, which is about the same as China and its per capita GDP of $8,100. What about Iran? Per capita GDP is $4,900, down 37 percent from $7,800 before the frack began to crack.

Of course, Putin wants to Make Russia Great Again, and China wants to make sure that nobody gets any idea of sacking the Old Summer Palace, as the Brits and the French did in 1860, or run riot in Manchuria, as the Japanese did in the 1930s. And Iran wants to strut and fret its hour upon the stage of the fracked-out Middle East before it’s too late.

So what, exactly is all the fuss about Russia and Iran and North Korea about? Could it be that, just as social justice warriors need the existential threat of racists, sexists, and homophobes, the foreign policy deep-state establishment needs credible foreign threats to battle against?

Now we all know that in order to be taken seriously in foreign policy you have to have a stack of Ivy League degrees, and have written deep-think pieces in Foreign Policy, and served on the National Security Council, and been a Deputy Assistant something-or-other in the last administration but one.

If this is true then how come the debacle in the Middle East on Obama’s watch, the Iraq folly on Bush’s watch, the Balkan follies on Clinton’s watch, and the Vietnam folly on the JFK/LBJ watch?

In fact, U.S. foreign policy is one stupid failure after another, a fact that only makes sense if Harry Truman’s “striped-pants boys” are idiots. But that would be insulting to idiots.

Here is my favorite example of foreign policy by idiots. The Bush administration persuaded Libyan leader Gaddafi to give up its nuclear program, and then the Obama striped-pantsuit girls went in and toppled the tin-pot dictator’s regime. What message do you think that sends to tin-pot dictators everywhere from Iran to North Korea?

Any idiot could tell you that: Never, ever, give up your nuclear weapon. Or weapons, as the case may be.

Think about what nuclear means to the Iranians. It means that the great powers have to negotiate with them and get them to promise to Barack Obama that, no, never, not-nohow will they develop nuclear weapons, wink, wink.

Think about what a nuclear capability means to the Norks. It means that the great powers are actually paying attention to their pathetic undeveloped country with a per-capita GDP one half of the U.S. GDP back in 1800. How cool is that?

Now, I’m not saying that the striped-pants boys are completely useless and create more trouble than they are worth. After all, despite World War I and World War II and the Cold War and the War Against Islam we are all still here. Even with our modern industrial economy and its ability to blow everything up until the rubble bounces, we are still here, pace six million Jews, ten million kulaks, 30 million Chinese, and so on.

All I’m saying is: GDP puts things in context.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.