Friday, September 27, 2013

Wrongheadedness of scientific consensus fetishism in climate politics

By Denis G. Rancourt

It pains me to have to write this. It would pain me more to let it go without some kind of a fight.

In this post, I pick up a recent "blowhard" peer-reviewed experts' article [1] published by a most prestigious publisher and show that its two presumed-established starting assumptions -- that global warming is directly perceivable in increasing extreme weather events, and that there is a scientific consensus on global warming -- are at best groundless, and wrong, if the evidence matters at all.

Consider a recent article published in Nature Climate Change, entitled "The relationship between personal experience and belief in the reality of global warming" [1]. The authors of the paper lament:

Moreover, despite widespread agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is occurring only two-thirds (66%) of Americans adults correctly understand that 'global warming is happening', and nearly half of these are only 'somewhat sure' (42%) or 'not at all sure' (5%) of their answer; moreover, only a third believe that they or their families will be harmed.

The authors go on to tentatively explain this US phenomenon as:

Current theories of cognitive science suggest that learning about abstractions requires analytical information processing, which involves cognitive effort-- a scarce commodity, which people expend sparingly.

Given the degree of certainty that these authors possess in complex areas that my own feeble (and scientifically trained) mind has difficulty evaluating, I decided to look up their main supporting references. After all, the reviewers at the Nature publications are no slouches when it comes to insisting that one cite the most reliable sources.

For their introductory statement:

Climate change is affecting every region by increasing the frequency and/or intensity of heat waves, droughts, precipitation, floods, hurricanes, and forest fires, and through impacts on ecosystems and species, including human health.

our authors cite Karl et al. [2], which is the 2009 Report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The latter Report is a large collaborative efforts to review the relevant published articles in order to draw conclusions (sound familiar?). This Report's 2nd key "finding" is:

Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow. Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.

In making this finding, the 2009 Report prominently relies on Kunkel et al. [3]. My survey of the data presented by Kunkel et al. shows me that the data itself is highly uncertain in two regards:
  1. It has broad statistical distributions, having widths that are greater than any theoretical (i.e. regression fitted) trends, and 
  2. It is subject to large systematic and uncontrolled uncertainties arising from the historical changes in measurement coverage (number of stations, geographical coverage, local climate effects, and so on), and methods.

Indeed, the chapter by Kunkel et al. is full of objective disclaimers such as:
  • "However, the heat waves of the 1930s remain the most severe in the United States historical record back to 1895."; 
  • "There is less confidence in data prior to about 1950."; 
  • "The data used to examine changes in the frequency and severity of tornadoes and severe thunder storms are inadequate to make definitive statements about actual changes."; and so on.

So we see how the definitive statement of our authors [1] that "Climate change is affecting every region by..." is anchored in some rather complex and tenuous real data buried several levels deep into government-funded review reports. The lead authors making the said claim work for a "Centre for Climate Change Communication". What do you expect them to say? And do they have the expertize to critically appreciate measured field data and statistical uncertainty theory? (I do.)

Our authors' [1] underlying assumption (in opposing 'personal experience' and 'belief') that global warming can be seen and experienced is, well, ludicrous. My own contribution to this public debate is illustrated in this media video: [4].

"Widespread agreement among climate scientists"

Next, I examine our authors' [1] claim that there is "widespread agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is occurring", by examining their source: Anderegg et al. [5].

I have been critical of the scientific bandwagon artifact in global warming publications since my February 2007 essay "Global Warming: Truth or Dare?" [6][7]. The renowned late historian of science and technology David F. Noble provided a historical perspective on the "peer review" process and on the funding of science professionals, as an antidote to the excesses of "this new orthodoxy [which] is an exaggerated reverence for science" [8].

Furthermore, the said scientific bandwagon artifact has been formally described as the "Gold Effect" and is thus a well known phenomenon in the sociology of modern science [9]:

The Gold Effect is the phenomenon in which a scientific (often medical) idea is developed to the status of an accepted position within a professional body or association by the social process itself of scientific conferences, committees, and consensus building, despite not being supported by conclusive evidence. The effect was described by Professor T. Gold in 1979.[1] The effect was reviewed by Drs. Petr Skrabanek and James McCormick in their book Follies and Fallacies in Medicine.[2] The Gold Effect is used to analyze errors in public health policy and practice, such as the widespread use of cholesterol screening in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.[3]

In their book, Skrabanek and McCormick describe the Gold Effect as: "At the beginning a few people arrive at a state of near belief in some idea. A meeting is held to discuss the pros and cons of the idea. More people favouring the idea than those disinterested will be present. A representative committee will be nominated to prepare a collective volume to propagate and foster interest in the idea. The totality of resulting articles based on the idea will appear to show an increasing consensus. A specialised journal will be launched. Only orthodox or near orthodox articles will pass the referees and the editor."

Thus, in the light of what is known about the sociology and funding of the modern science enterprise, and in the light of the gargantuan financial interests at play in global warming politics [10], it is difficult to view the work of Anderegg et al. [5] as anything else other than either remarkably naive or remarkably crass. Let's see...

First, Anderegg et al. acknowledge, based on their own data, that there is not a scientific consensus on the the IPCC primary conclusion that "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming of the Earth's average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century".

Second, they view this absence of a scientific consensus as a problem in need of a solution [5]:

Because the time line of decision-making is often more rapid than scientific consensus, examining the landscape of expert opinion can greatly inform such decision-making.

And their "solution" is to give little weight to the voices of scientists with which the majority of scientists do not agree (using their particular ad hoc "credibility" criterion) [5]:

This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change.

Who are these "contrarians"? Anderegg et al. [5] consider that, based on their study of 1,372 researchers, the "contrarians" are climate scientists who have published at least 20 scientific articles in climate science. Anderegg et al. find that their "contrarians" have typically each published between 20 and 250 articles about climate science.

But Anderegg et al. [5] find that the "contrarians" comprise only 1 researcher of the top 50 climate researchers, and only 3 researchers of the top 100 climate researchers. Here Anderegg et al. rank researchers according to the number of climate publications, and they ascribe number of climate publications (listed by Google Scholar) as equivalent to "expertise".

Are the top researchers those who have published the most papers? How many papers did Albert Einstein publish? (Very few.) Several researchers studied by Anderegg et al. published as many as 300-900 papers. These are astronomical numbers of publications that can only arise when one is head of a large and well-funded research group in which the group director puts his/her name on every paper. By comparison, consider that a modern Ph.D. program typically leads to only 3-5 substantive papers authored by the Ph.D. candidate. One does not publish 900 peer-reviewed papers by expressing "contrarian" interpretations, in a world where, by definition, most reviewers are not "contrarians".

More realistically, although not stressed in their article [5], Anderegg et al. show in their Figure 1 that 63 of their 270 climate scientists that published between 20 and 50 climate papers were "contrarians". That is, 23% of climate scientists who published 20-50 climate papers were "contrarians". Clearly not a consensus. In science, such a proportion of "contrarians" is more correctly qualified as an active and hotly debated field. Only government-funded review panels (made up of the government-funded "top" scientists) would have one believe differently.

How can we evaluate the "credibilities" of the "contrarians"? Anderegg et al. [5] argue that they "have likely compiled the strongest and most credentialed researchers in CE [convinced by the evidence] and UE [unconvinced by the evidence] groups", and that credibility is reliably measured by number of climate papers and number of times climate papers are cited by other scientists.

Anderegg et al. [5] find (their Figure 2) that the top 50 "contrarians" (UE) have only between 20 and 250 papers each (with one exception at 650 papers), whereas the 50 top warmists (CE) have between 300 and 900 papers each. To me this simply means that the most highly funded climate researchers all advance that they are convinced by the evidence that "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming of the Earth's average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century". This impeccable correlation between apparent degree of funding and interpretation of the evidence would merit some research. Never mind...

Anderegg et al. [5] go on to explain that citation number further confirms that the "contrarians" have low credibility, however the actual data of Anderegg et al. show, instead, and again, an active and hotly debated field: The single most cited paper for each of the "contrarians" is cited an average of 105 times, compared to 172 times for the warmists. When one considers that there are fewer "contrarians" and that they are apparently less well funded, one has to be somewhat impressed that their papers are cited so frequently. One can justifiably argue that their citation numbers constitute evidence, in the demographic and economic circumstances, that their papers are scientifically "better".


The good news is that the common sense of the American people is alive and well. It is remarkable that in an "advanced democracy" the population does not entirely fall prey to the science of service "experts", fed to it by most of the establishment. Americans excel at self-defense against manipulative intellectualism.

Those, like our authors Myers et al. [1], who follow Anderegg et al. [5] in suggesting that scientists be ignored and that "the debate is over", based on the larger publication numbers of those scientists expressing the dominant view, are calling for a return to the dark ages. Science is not an exercise of representative democracy. Although polluted by politics, and led by money, science, in principle, is a search for truth that only works if there are "contrarians", and if those "contrarians" have a voice and an influence.

Yes, "contrarians" can be incompetent attention seekers, but they are also talented and principled scientists. Warmists can be scientifically mediocre funding seekers, and they can also be simply wrong.

Personally, I am baffled that any trained scientist with some knowledge of field measurements (i.e., measurements in the field), Earth systems, and statistical analysis could be "convinced by the evidence" that "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming of the Earth's average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century". Especially in the further light of recent analyses of the failures of all climate models regarding the "non-warming" of the last 20 years [11]. This week's hot air from the IPCC changes none of this.

Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He practiced several areas of science which were funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals and many social commentary essays. Several of his papers are highly cited in environmental science (link). His self-published 2011 paper "Radiation physics constraints on global warming: CO2 increase has little effect" has been downloaded more than 1000 times (link).


[1] Myers, T.A. et al., The relationship between personal experience and belief in the reality of global warming. Nature Climate Change, 2 December 2012, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1754.

[2] Karl, T. R., Melillo, J. M. & Peterson, T. C. (eds) Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009).

[3] Kunkel, K.E., P.D. Bromirski, H.E. Brooks, T. Cavazos, A.V. Douglas, D.R. Easterling, K.A. Emanuel, P.Ya. Groisman, G.J. Holland, T.R. Knutson, J.P. Kossin, P.D. Komar, D.H. Levinson, and R.L. Smith, 2008: Observed changes in weather and climate extremes. In: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate: Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands [Karl, T.R., G.A. Meehl, C.D. Miller, S.J. Hassol, A.M. Waple, and W.L. Murray (eds.)]. Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3. U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Washington, DC, pp. 35-80.

[4] Peter Lavelle (host), Cross Talk: Franken-Climate, Russia Today, 2 November 2012.

[5] Anderegg, W. R. L., Prall, J. W., Harold, J. & Schneider, S. H. Expert credibility in climate change. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 12107-12109 (2010).

[6] Rancourt, D.G., Global Warming: Truth or Dare?, Activist Teacher, 27 February 2007.

[7] Rancourt, D.G., Some Big Lies of Science, Activist Teacher, 8 June 2010.

[8] Noble, David F., Regression on the Left, Climate Guy, 30 May 2007.

[9] Wikipedia. Gold Effect. 27 September 2013.

[10] Noble, David F., The Corporate Climate Coop, Activist Teacher, 1 May 2007.

[11] Fyfe, J.C. et al., Overestimated globalwarming over the past 20 years, Nature Climate Change, vol. 3, September 2013, pages 767-769.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two Authors that Medical Schools Avoid

And whose works should be part of the foundation for a rational and evidence-based medicine...

By Denis G. Rancourt

The two researchers and authors to which I refer are:
In particular, I have in mind their remarkable books:
  • Follies and Fallacies in Medicine (Skrabanek, with co-author McCormick) [1], and 
  • Unhealthy Societies - The Afflictions of Inequality (Wilkinson) [2].
Skrabanek exposes the widespread ineptness and delusional incompetence of the modern medical profession. He does not cross the line of explicitly stating that medical practice does more harm than good but, nonetheless, the reader is left with a realistic mistrust of the inner workings of the mind of the medical doctor. The book opens a window into "the present state of our ignorance", rather than continue the lie that doctors diagnose and prescribe without doing harm [3][4].

Wilkinson, in his chapters 9 and 10, does a review of the extensive research, on both human and non-human animals, which establishes that the dominant and causal factor for health in First World countries is stress (i.e., the physiological responses to stress) from being at the lower end of society's dominance hierarchy.

When we consider the depth, logic, and insight of authors such as Skrabanek and Wilkinson, it is a wonder that their ideas are not the core of medical training, that medical training is not leading a radical criticism of itself, and that individual practitioners can be so indifferent to the Lie. The usual model of professionalism, status, and maintenance of self-image is clearly at work [5].

When we consider that medical practice incorrectly identifies and "treats" false causes (so-called "risk factors") of mortality (Skrabanek, and Wilkinson), combined with the overwhelming evidence that the major killers (heart disease and cancer) are mainly affected by dominance stress (Wilkinson), that medicine can do virtually nothing for the major killers (Skrabanek), and that medical interventions themselves are very often lethal [3][4], then it is a wonder that the modern practice of medicine is legal.


[1] Skrabanek, Petr, and McCormick, James, Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, Whithorn, Tarragon Press, xii + 171 pages, 1998 (Third Edition).

[2] Wilkinson, Richard G., Unhealthy Societies -- The Afflictions of Inequality, London, Routledge, 1996, xi + 255 pages, 1996.

[3] Rancourt, Denis G., Do medical doctors improve health?, Activist Teacher, September 9, 2013.

[4] Rancourt, Denis G., Is establishment medicine an injurious scam?, Activist Teacher, November 21, 2011.

[5] Rancourt, Denis G., On the sociology of medical meta-science: Exposing the Truth supports the Lie, Activist Teacher, November 16, 2011.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do medical doctors improve health?

By Denis G. Rancourt

It is a serious question. If any other profession caused a fraction of the death rate due to medical interventions, then that profession would be prohibited from practicing until a full coroner's inquiry was ordered and completed. But not the medical profession. It kills with impunity, without any real oversight.

The numbers are staggering. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM, of the National Academy of Sciences of the US) published a first authoritative institutional report of medical errors, which disclosed that between 44,000 to 98,000 US citizens were being killed each year by medical errors.[1]

These numbers do not count the equally large death rate from "non-error" adverse effects of medicine.

In her brilliant article of 2000, the late Dr. Barbara Starfield reviewed the medical literature, in the light of the IOM report, and reported that the best estimate of total deaths from medicine in the US was between 230,000 and 284,000 deaths per year.[2]

That was in 2000, and the US population has increased by approximately 11% since then. It is reasonable to assume that the death rates from medicine have remained constant since 2000, which is not contradicted by any study or report. In fact, a detailed study published in 2010 showed no measurable improvement since the IOM report of 1999.[3] This means that presently in the US medicine kills between 250,000 and 310,000 US citizens per year, every year.

These deaths are entirely avoidable, since they are caused by the practice of establishment medicine. This means that halting the practice of medicine would save the lives of over one quarter of a million US citizens every year. Approximately 1000 lives would be saved each day that medicine is not practiced in the US. This is equivalent to the death rate from a large skyscraper collapsing every day.

The corresponding death rate is between 80 and 100 deaths per 100,000 per year. This death rate from medicine is the third leading cause of death in the US, after diseases of the heart and cancer. The other leading causes of death (bronchitis, stroke, non-medical accidents, Alzheimer's, diabetes, influenza/pneumonia, kidney failures, suicide, infections, liver failures) all have individual death rates that are far smaller than the death rate from medicine.[4]

As a percentage, the practice of medicine causes approximately 10-12% of all deaths in the US, compared to diseases of the heart (24%) and cancer (23%). Medicine is a major killer. Yet there is virtually no research funding to find a "cure" for the adverse affects of medicine. By comparison, mega research dollars are spent fighting diseases that medicine has proven itself ineffective at fighting.

The reality of the lethal side of medicine is such that medicine should have the onus to prove that it does more good than harm. If medicine were put to the test, proving its worth would be a difficult task: So-called meta-researchers who critically examine the published claims of benefits from medical drugs and procedures find that most medical research is wrong.[5]-[9]

An institutional analysis reveals an air-tight system in which the medical profession preys on the most vulnerable and kills patients at an alarming rate, without being able to demonstrate a net benefit, from the majority of its lucrative interventions, on the most desperate individuals in society (those with terminal illnesses).

Medicine is good at trauma interventions (car accidents, heart attacks) but may do more harm than good against the leading causes of death, and it is itself a leading cause of death.

All this leads me to suggest that the medical profession is unable to regulate itself, or objectively judge itself. It is in urgent need of external regulation and/or boycott or something. It should be stopped in most of its functions until we figure out how to disarm it.

One collapsing skyscraper per day! If Bush were around, he could start a war against medicine. And that would be more sane than any Obamacare. No public health policy makes any sense unless it deals with the third leading cause of death head on.


[Related article::: "Is establishment medicine an injurious scam?"]

[1] Kohn L. et al (eds.). To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.

[2] Starfield B. Is US Health Really the Best in the World? Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 284, 2000, 483-485.

[3] Landrigan C.P. et al. Temporal Trends in Rates of Patient Harm Resulting from Medical Care. New England Journal of Medicine, 363, 2010, 2124-2134.

[4] For death rates which do not correctly account for deaths from medicine, see the annual National Vital Statistics Reports, such as the report entitled "Deaths: Final Data for 2010".

[5] Ioannidis, John PA, Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, 2005, PLoS Med 2(8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

[6] "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science" by David H. Freedman, The Atlantic, 2010.

[7] Ioannidis, John PA et al., Replication validity of genetic association studies, Nature genetics, 2001, 29(3), 306-309.

[8] Ioannidis, John PA, Contradicted and initially stronger effects in highly cited clinical research, JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005, 294 (2), 218-228.

[9] “On the sociology of medical meta-science: Exposing the Truth supports the Lie” by Denis G. Rancourt, 2011.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Global Economic Model of War::: Understanding Syria and more

War museum, Ottawa, Canada

By Denis G. Rancourt

Following a quick survey of macro-economic indicators which are readily available on the web, from such public sites as the CIA, WTO, and so on, one can readily posit a clear and predictive model of war. (All numbers in this article are expressed in trillions of US dollars, such as 1.0T for one trillion US dollars, as an amount, or as a rate per year, as per the context.)

On observing the planet from space (using a macro-economic telescope), the first and most glaring observation arises from a look at net exports, which clearly show a single and dominant global empire, the USA. It has, for many decades, had a negative annual net export, of -0.63T, or so -- far greater than that of its closest "rival", and former dominant empire, the UK, with -0.14T.

This means that US military projection (over 1000 military bases world wide) and power is such that the US can maintain steady and long-term extraction of wealth from the rest of the world towards itself, no questions asked.

Only a country which is a participating satellite of the empire can share in the spoils of the global extortion project and consistently report a large negative rate of net exports. Notably, the UK (-0.14T), and France (-0.07T). (In this regard, it is no accident that the governments of the UK and France are the most willing partners in the US's present call to destroy Syria; more on this below.)

There are also momentary localized cases of large negative rates of net exports in post-war financial invasions, otherwise known as re-constructions financed by the empire (in the broad sense, including the financiers). But that is part of the accompanying phenomenon of how the empire profits from war itself.

For the system of extortion to function, the empire must maintain two parallel instruments: its military apparatus, and its financial apparatus based on the US dollar as world currency for the purchase of the main strategic commodity, which is energy. Only the empire can print the money that is needed to access the ability to develop or expand. A threat to the US dollar is a sufficient reason for war. Both Libya and Iraq had taken concrete steps to circumvent the US dollar as the operational currency, prior to their destructions. An attempt to circumvent the US dollar in buying or selling oil is an attempt to escape the empire's control, and this cannot be tolerated.

As long as the US dollar is needed to buy and sell the key strategic commodity, the US controls the relative value of other currencies, and as long as the US prints the money, it controls world finance and uses the global financial instrument to enslave all those without military protection, or without the sense to know better (i.e., jurisdictions with puppet leaderships).

Financial extortion is a tremendous tool. World national debt is 56.3T or so. The US debt is only a fraction of this at 11.6T or so. Interest on the national debt is low for "stable" states protected by the empire, and high for "unstable" states being consumed by the empire. The world revenue from interest on national debts can be estimated to be at least 1T (per year), and possibly as much as 10T or more from all loan sources. This is comparable to or greater than the gargantuan world revenue from oil and gas, presently at 4.5T.

Based on history, it is more than reasonable to posit that the empire's wars are driven by profit, that is, by an insatiable desire to extract as much stolen wealth as possible as quickly as possible, and to control territory to ensure continued extraction. Next, I examine the consequences of this assumption.

If the militarily superior empire is driven, as it has always been in terms of its military campaigns, by instant wealth gratification and conquest, then, in order to predict wars, we search for where wealth can be found and stolen. Wealth comes in many forms, such as slave labour, and natural resources, but one form is, more than any other, a strategic commodity: fossil fuel energy.

In the present technological and economic context, fossil fuel is incomparable as a strategic resource. It is the most accessible source of development and growth. Without it, a civilization slows and loses its ability to compete. Control energy supply and you control development. By cutting supply, you can bring an economy to its knees.

It is well known, for example, that the Afghan war is in large part about pipeline geopolitics, in view of controlling China's access to energy. To an empire, territory is important for two reasons: the resources that it contains, and the transportation routes that it sustains.

In the case of Afghanistan, there is also the formidably profitable drug trade, now controlled (and, to some degree, exploited) by the empire. The world illegal drug economy is estimated to be between 1.5T to 5T (per year), comparable to oil and gas. Whereas these drugs are not a major strategic commodity, the empire must control the illegal drug economy in order to prevent any competitors or resisters from accessing the corresponding easily-earned mega-revenues. This explains the so-called US "war on drugs". It of course has nothing to do with US public health.

In a nutshell, in the empire's mind, non-compliant and counter-allied states, such as Iran and Syria, cannot be allowed to benefit from and to control significant oil resources, in an area where China could secure protected land access to these resources. The war in Syria is nothing if it is not a predictable march forward by the dominant global empire. The sectarianism on the ground is as significant a motive, from a macro-economic perspective, as the war propaganda spewed out by the empire's sock puppet politicians and disinformation media is truthful. Sectarianism without financial and military support on either side has a way of turning into negotiated accommodation.

In addition to its geopolitical objectives, war also has its immediate dividends for many in the empire. The destroyed territory (infrastructure, population, etc.) must be "reconstructed", as a compliant serf state, using the empire's financing, and re-building enterprises, all leveraged via the continued world pillaging elsewhere. The sick and dying or diseased population needs expensive prescription drugs, and so on. World spending on prescription drugs is approximately 0.95T (per year), and this is a major high-profit sector in the empire's operations. The interest rates on reconstruction loans will keep the invaded population subservient and exploited for decades.

The main high-profit services and commodities include: prescription drugs, illegal drugs, fossil fuels, ultra-cheap labour, debt financing, and so on, all related to non-essentials to which entire First-World populations are addicted. These economic areas, consequently, are represented by the corporate players that have the greatest influence within the empire, and that most generously contribute to political campaign funds, and to post-political lucrative prize-positions for former politicians and their family members.

Medium-profit economic sectors such as domestic manufacturing and services can hardly compete for influence, and have a much reduced voice compared to the industrial era. Behold the era of the US war economy empire.

Basically, the empire's behaviour is entirely predicted by a mafia economic model of geopolitics. To be fair, however, mafias have ethical rules regarding killing an opponent's family and such, whereas the drone-wielding USA empire has no such rules.

By comparison, from a macro-economic perspective, military spending in China (0.17T) and Russia (0.09T) is defensive against the military spending of the US and its client/satellite states -- US (0.68T), UK (0.06T), Japan (0.06T), France (0.06T), Saudi Arabia (0.06), ..., Australia (0.03T), Canada (0.02T) -- since their net exports are positive: China (+0.20T), Russia (+0.14T).  The net exports of the US's main war partners are of course negative: UK (-0.14T), and France (-0.07T).

There can be no surprise that the US's most willing war partners will always be the UK and France. Such are their macro-economic structures. They have satellite war economies, a status Canada is working hard to fully achieve.