Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Age of Exterminations VIII -- How to Destroy Western Europe



US Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., (1891-1967). He was the proposer of the "Morgenthau Plan" that would have turned post-war Germany into a purely agricultural region, exterminating tens of millions of Germans in the process. Initially approved by President Roosevelt, fortunately, the plan was never put into practice. 


After that Germany surrendered, in 1945, the general attitude of the Allies was that the Germans had to be punished. For this purpose, they deliberately limited the supply of food to Germany. Among other things, in the book titled The Death and Life of Germany" (1959), Eugene Davidson reports how the US military authorities explicitly ordered the American servicemen in Germany, and their wives, to destroy the leftovers of their meals. They wanted to be sure that nothing would be left for their German maids and their children. 

This attitude of the Allies predated the German defeat. In 1944, Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, had proposed the plan that would take his name, the "Morgenthau Plan." It called for the transformation of Germany into a purely agricultural society at a medieval technology level. That would have been obtained by the complete destruction of Germany’s industrial infrastructure. A consequence of the plan would have been the death of tens of millions of Germans: a primitive agricultural economy would not have been able to sustain the German population. The Plan was initially approved by President Roosevelt, and it was even publicly diffused in the press. It was later abandoned by President Truman, but it remained a practical set of guidelines for the allied policies in Germany until 1948: plenty of industrial infrastructure was destroyed or removed from Germany and an untold numbers of Germans starved to death. Some people speak of at least one million victims of the famine (or even several million) during the period from 1945 to 1948. Others propose smaller numbers, but we'll never know for sure. 

As we all know, the Germans were far from being innocent in the global extermination game. In addition to the Shoah, the German government engaged in the extermination of other ethnic groups, including German citizens judged to be a burden for society. In 1942, they developed the “Generalplan Ost” (General Plan for the East) that foresaw the extermination of tens of millions of Slavs in Eastern Europe. The survivors would be used as servants and laborers for the German "master race" (Herrenvolk) who would colonize the former Slavic lands.

It is impressive for us to remember how, less than a century ago, there were Western governments happily engaged in planning exterminations involving tens of millions of Europeans. Could these dark times return? It is said that society is just three hot meals away from barbarism. We could rephrase this old saying as "society is just one defeat away from extermination." 

Indeed, the events of the past few months saw Western Europe close to inflicting a terminal defeat on itself by abandoning its main source of energy: Russian oil and gas. Fortunately, it seems that, after all, Europe won't commit economic suicide as it seemed to be poised to do. For the time being, Russian gas keeps flowing into Europe and the lights are still on, although it cannot be said for how long. 

Yet, Europe continues planning for its own defeat itself, as we can read in the recently published "REpowerEU" plan. The plan is mostly greenwashing, recommending such things as hydrogen and other useless technologies. But the substance of the plan is in its calling for huge investments in new regasification facilities that will allow importing large amounts of liquefied gas from the US. The EU plans to switch to sources that will be much more expensive (and also more polluting) than Russian gas. 

If applied, the REpowerEU plan could lead Western Europe to a situation similar to what the Morgenthau Plan foresaw for Germany in 1945: de-industrialization. For this to happen, it is not necessary for Europe to go dark. It is sufficient to increase the cost of energy to such a level that European industrial products would cease to be competitive in the world market. That would generate a spiral of decline that would strangle to death the European economy. Eventually, Europe would become unable to import a sufficient amount of food for its population. Famines would necessarily follow. A new Morgenthau plan, this time Europe-wide. 

Is that possible? As usual, history does not really repeat, but it rhymes. The events of World War II are not so remote from us that we can exclude that they would be repeated in some forms -- including widespread famines and exterminations in Europe. Below, you can find an interpretation of the current situation by Michael McGarrity -- who comments on the Facebook group "The Seneca Effect." This text is reproduced with his kind permission. 

Medieval EU: Plant Oats, Raise Goats.



By Michael McGarrity 23 May 2022

How many years will it take for Russia to adapt and stabilize to a new level of sanctions? Probably not long but, in the meantime, I believe that Europe will deindustrialize as plentiful, reasonably priced, Russian energy and food now sanctioned must be substituted by some yet to be identified source. Today, the German Prime Minister was "hopeful" that in 2023 Energy Production in Senegal may be ramped up to provide additional energy for Germany. This is highly irrational. Siemens, a great German technology company that requires large quantities of energy to produce its products, is now scrambling to find new sources. 

It is likely that many countries will be buying Russian energy through third-party countries such as India. Germany may now buy Russian energy from India at greatly increased prices, it will be rebranded as Indian, not Russian energy while companies such as Siemens lose competitive advantage in the world markets due to greatly increased energy production costs. Over the long term, a general reduction in global energy supplies will harm those who have to pay the highest prices. By this winter, the EU faces significant risks of energy and food shortages. The domino effect on energy will have lag times in the EU. They are not yet evident, but they are already operating.

As European energy and food stores deplete, likely by this winter, the EU economy will become medieval. Russia is self-sufficient in terms of energy and food, but there is not a sufficient supply of energy and food in the world to replace the sanctioned Russian sources in the coming years. The die is cast. The EU is due for a minimum of two years of deindustrialization. Russian Arctic natural gas facilities can't be switched on and off like a light switch. Grain that is not planted can't be harvested. Fertilizer that doesn't exist can't fertilize crops. Some yet to be implemented substitute energy sources such as Senegal will take years to be realized. China, India, and Mexico will quickly take over markets held by great German companies like Siemens. The cake is baked for the EU in terms of rapid deindustrialization, which may be permanent.

All this is part of the delusional thinking underlying the sanctions on Russia, yet to be realized in terms of impact. The reality is that 440 Million EU Citizens are on a fast track to a dystopian Medieval life and there is no turning back due to the scale of the problem, which is related to physical, not ideological constraints. The Russian economy might be destroyed by the sanctions, but no Russian will go hungry or cold. Russia may evolve a self-sufficient standard of living similar to that of the mid-1990s, while Europe goes back to the 1400s: goat carts and bearskin clothes.

I'm no expert in Geopolitics or Finance. I'm an expert in large-scale disaster recovery testing. Nothing theoretical, all practical exercises timed to the minute of what it takes to restore systems, supply chains and such. Politicians such as the German Prime Minister, touting notions of instant natural gas production in Senegal are delusional. It's time for EU citizens to start planting oats and raising goats.


32 comments:

  1. It has been fascinating to watch the war in Ukraine play out from here in the South Pacific. We have seen a Europe that has all the ingredients to be wealthy and secure tear itself apart. Mainly might I add at the behest of the USA. Its like watching Stockholm syndrome victims being required to commit suicide.

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    1. Eerily reminiscent of Gas chambers,,, redo

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  2. Thanks for this Ugo. Thanks for the US, German info. It's even worse than I thought it was.

    Every time I want to slow down and rest on preparations for the worst, something like this pushes me. I want the Awassi fat tailed Middle Eastern desert sheep, but maybe goats are wiser...don't know. Need predator protection after my chicken lesson...and for humans too?. Beans, oats,potatoes? what will survive the ants, grasshoppers? I read that equine flu hit at the turn of the previous century and people didn't even have draft horses...pulled carts themselves.

    Not the retirement of revising my writing and novels that I had hoped, but, still a learning experience. C.

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    1. I'm so hoping that the US, at least, can revert to the relatively civilized 18th century...

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    2. The 18th Century was far from being somewhat civilized.

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  3. All that could well happen, but you are missing to mention the actual causes of this potential return of the EC to Medieval life.
    - We should keep in mind that Stalinism and the KGB created and controlled the Maoism and CCP, till the cultural revolution but since the collapse of the Soviet Union, (planned BTW by Nato together with CCP), now the situation it is exactly vice versa.
    - Without the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Putin would have never started this war against Ukraine and against Nato, practically.
    - Without and other world war again mainly in Europe, the US way of life, consuming X times more than the majority of the world population, can’t survive much longer.

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  4. This is interesting commentary and a dire forecast, but it doesn't take into account the ways in which things might actually play out once the shortages start to bite. There are a couple of possibilities.

    One scenario would have a few European countries rejecting the sanctions and mending their fences with Russia early enough to avoid disaster. Hungary might be one example, perhaps Serbia, maybe others.

    Another thing to think about is how the public will react when they start missing a few meals. The peasants are going to be showing up with their pitchforks before things go very far, and then it will be interesting to see how the governments react.

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    1. It will be instructive to observe if the masses of Europe can unseat their elected and appointed aristocracy in Brussels and locally. My instincts tell me they will starve first.
      Such a shame as the only way out is collective through democratic process.

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    2. I tend to agree. They will starve while watching Netflix

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    3. "Stranger Things" have happened! Do I need to order a truck load of forestry thinnings and a few pallets of coal to keep my family warm for the next few winters?

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  5. Europe isn't the only region that must import much of its energy. The question for importers is which importer has the power to require sellers to sell to them rather than some other importer? Right now, the vast majority of the oil that east Asia uses goes through the Strait of Hormuz. It may be that a desperate Europe decides that they need middle eastern oil more than China, so they 'requisition' the oil from the Persian Gulf and pay the going rate. There is nothing to stop them, especially with US support. The same is true of LNG from the same area.

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    1. Even if that worked, how much of the world's stuff is made in China? Pretty sure European industry is as dependent on widgets from China as it is on oil. So, you'd have all that oil but production would grind to a halt anyway.

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  6. Western Europe close to inflicting a terminal defeat on itself by abandoning its main source of energy: Russian oil and gas...

    What if there is actually not that much Russian oil and gas still remaining in the ground - altogether...

    Watch here how Saddam Husain has been mislead in 1990 and somebody made him to think that invading Kuwait requires an army, tanks and airplanes.

    The groups seen in the video are Iraqi citizens mobilising at the boarder between Iraq and Kuwait recently - ready for invading that small country - yet again.

    Notice how theatrical the scene has been organised and choreographed - mimicking how humans have fought prior to the fossil fuels age - if you remove the Toyotas replacing them with horses...

    The transition of OPEC + Russia to OPEM[ilitias] - is going very well...

    Russia demands roubles for its own oil and gas. [also typically-sanctioned] Militias in the ME and Russia - will demand Crypto - for their looted oil and gas - smuggled into the Energy international black market...

    It was silly and saddening that Europe has ignored Jevons' warning in the 1860s - that fossil fuels appear finite.

    Our Western Civilisation has then burned all the rest of fossil fuels reserves worldwide - to prove the opposite - until today when - reserves no more...

    Humans understand from now on that if one wants to Control the world - the Energy put in the process is always greater than the Grand gain - from that Control...

    The lesson that took the idiotic humans destroying all the millions of years in the-making fossil fuel reserves - until getting it...

    In any system of energy, Control is what consumes energy the most

    Wailing.

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  7. Europe has a high Risk Tolerance relative to Green Energy Transition. I pray it is successful, and this Winter is warm with adequate Energy and Food.
    Little information is available about Resilience of the Energy System. Where I live our Energy Systems are incredibly robust with high fault tolerance and fail over ability. A Normal Winter Here often has several Polar Vortexts lasting a week to 10 Days each. I hope EU Green Energy Systems have the ability to perform under high load and stress

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    1. Where do you live that's so robust (if that doesn't blow your cover ;-)

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  8. You seem to give politicians "the benefit of the doubt" as to their actions being accidental and stupid rather than planned and evil. When will people wake up?
    (And yes hydrogen is stupid stuff as part of a countries energy economy)
    I assume they are planning for a depopulation event.
    Corrupt people seek power, absolutely corrupt people seek absolute power.
    Evilness always seems stupid to the wise.

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  9. Artur Klepacz (liberty90)May 31, 2022 at 8:10 AM

    Mr Bardi. For a scientist you have worrying tendency to, methaphorically speaking, say that somebody is dying when they suffer from a flu. In this case, calling possible economic contraction "medieval economy".

    Let's try some concrete prediction. I would gladly bet that during the year 2024 (or 2025 if you prefer), more than 100 000 cars would be still produced in Germany per year (in fact, I'm pretty sure that Tesla alone would produce more than this in their fresh Gigafactory Berlin). If I win the bet, you would publicly write a text about how you were of course wrong in 2022, as medieval-style economy cannot produce any cars. If I'm wrong and less than 100 000 cars are in fact produced in Germany per annum at that time, I would gladly pay inflation-adjusted 10 euro to a charity of your choice, assuming that any charity would still exist. Agreed?

    Concrete predictions and bets, even small ones, are great cure for overconfidence and overstatement.

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    1. Eh you mean Michael McGarrity? Ugo just reposted an interesting take on the current situation.
      I'd agree that medieval is a strong word but without Russian oil and gas especially during the winter, things will become very tight and expensive. To most of the lay techno social absorbed community it might feel medieval. Gas was already a very large issue before Ukraine.


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    2. You are funny, Artur. What makes you think that I am willing to bet with you on something I never said? :-)

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    3. Artur Klepacz (liberty90)May 31, 2022 at 8:15 PM

      My apologies then- I thought that you probably endorse position/opinion published (implied by the text published) on your blog.

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    4. No offense taken. It is just that neither I nor Michael ever said that Europe would go Medieval in a couple of years. But I do endorse the concept that it might happen -- it would just take a little longer!

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    5. Artur Klepacz (liberty90)June 1, 2022 at 2:28 AM

      I still disagree, but I admit to misunderstanding.

      Still, I sometimes find your whole theory of the Seneca Effect ironic.

      Let's use an example. The Roman Empire arguably died not suddenly in 476, but was dying extremely slowly for hundreds of years since about Marcus Aurelius died.

      Even the Ostrogothic Kingdom, after theoretical fall of the West, was not wholly "medieval" in the later sense- as far as I know economic history of Italy, the city if Rome still had about 200 000 people in the year 500 and finally died only after Constantinople (Justinian) wrecked last aqueducts during these few decades when imperial control was restored under East (doubly ironic). Plague of Justinian 541–549 AD was arguably the true death of reunification/imperial dreams.

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    6. Complex system move along different time scales. The Roman Civilization started around the 8th century BCE. It reached its peak, arguably, around the 1st-2nd century CE, then it declined and disappeared around the 5th century CE (that's for the Western Empire, the Eastern one is another story). So, you see that there was almost one millennium of growth followed by 3-4 centuries of decline. Even if you assume that the end of the empire was with Justinian's plague, decline was still faster than growth. But, of course, the Seneca Effect is not a law of physics. It is an observation that happens to be valid in many cases, but not all. Some civilizations never completely collapsed, but settled at a low subsistence level. The "end point" of a civilization is always arguable.

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    7. BTW, adding to my previous comment, the deindustrialization of Europe is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on for a long time. You may argue that it is part of the long cycle of growth and decline of continental Europe. Arguably, Europe peaked at the time of Napoleon, then it started an irreversible cycle of decline. It was a slow process: it took more than a century after Napoleon for Europe to lose its colonial empires. Now we seem to be entering an accelerated phase of collapse, where Western Europe is rapidly losing its residual industrial capabilities -- which have been mostly transferred to China. Without industries, Europe will indeed go Medieval, losing maybe 80% of its current population. But, as I was saying, it won't happen in a few years.

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    8. Artur Klepacz (liberty90)June 1, 2022 at 12:16 PM

      Since 1900 Europe produces less as percentage of global output (because the world is more equal since parts of Asia started acting competent, I wish Africa the same) but certainly not in absolute numbers. How many cars were produced in 1900? I don't know stats for that, but probably hundreds, jand crafted tpys for the luxury market. Now? Millions of cars in Germany alone. Sure, many among these use parts imported from Asia, but how you can say that this is how collapse looks? To me it looks like benefits from trade.

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    9. Ugo, I fully agree with your timeline for European decline, and I would extend it to ALL we have come to call "Western civilization". The principal reason for Western hegemony over the pass two centuries since the Luddites failed, the Romantics receded (not before Beethoven's Ninth, thank the deities!) and Napoleon rolled to his Waterloo, is the hoarding of tech as a military advantage, effectively ended by the Rosenbergs in the 1950s. From a cultural, social, and intellectual perspective, the "West" has been bankrupt since before the heyday of Nietzsche, a proverbial dead man walking. The question plaguing me most of my 58 years: what civilization will replace this senescent one, and will I live long enough to see it? Thoughts, ideas?

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  10. Artur Klepacz (liberty90)June 1, 2022 at 12:23 PM

    PS. Excuse my typos, mistakes in writing. I could probably benefit from ability to edit posts, but I experience technical issues with trying to use permanent account here.

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  11. Hello Ugo et al.,

    It seemed like an act of hubris, suddenly refusing to take the dope from the usual dealer. As if he would panic and go broke and then what? Give the goods for free?

    What is the exit-strategy? (I suspect that there is no exit strategy...) What if the war ends tomorrow? Who would get to buy Russian petro-products, and at what price?

    Nevertheless, these are minor distractions on the way to depletion, so sooner or later we will all grow oats and raise goats. I love goats.
    I embrace the inevitable and celebrate the turning of the seasons!

    Peace,
    Goran

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    1. Where I live goats for meat have replaced sheep for wool, for profit. The goats eat anything, and everything, they strip there land. They are desert makers. No wonder sometimes the goats head as symbol for the devil.

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    2. Indeed, goats are often a last-resort tool to convert the remaining shrubland into desert. I intend to keep my flock small and within the carrying capacity of my land. There are also niches for goats in thriving, lush ecosystems.

      Thanks for the cultural reference to the horned head! ;)

      Peace,
      Goran

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  12. It depends where and who you are. For some people the world already is medieval.

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    1. Hello k-dog and Ugo and all, Some folks near me live a medieval life by choice (or concensus ) of their community. They are Mennonite or Amish communities that coexist with our "electrified" North American communities. Others live a medieval life by accident of birth country.

      That method of life seems to require a lot smaller population per acre and requires that everyone farms something as well. ArtDeco

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