Scenario for Resolution

[Nov. 18, 2018] - Israel "Defence" Minister resigns.  Gaza truce holds.  Trump is in a corner, as apparently he has deep connections with Saudi's (there is info circulating about how Saudi "royal family" types bought his yacht "Princess" for $20 million when Trump was in bankruptcy), as well as other unspecified financial assistance.  This suggests Trump is deeply loyal to Saudi royals, and unlikely to take any action against them.  Maybe they own him? 

This is a serious problem, as it explains Trump's willingness to hype-up the attacks on Iran, a nation that should be an ally now in the fight against terrorist extremism.  News is usually noise, but this could be different.  Our investment work includes scenario construction.  We have one now that leads to WW3. Drops the jaw, as each step has reasonable (quite non-zero) subjective probability. 

Plays like this: Trigger fact is resignation of White House advisor on the Saudi sanctions.  Minor item, but suggests no serious action will be taken against the Saudi's, despite American being energy-independent (US is now net exporter of oil).  Trump, under attack on several fronts, decides to take page for Bush playbook, and initiate action of some kind against Iran.  CIA is angry, as they would be asked to phony-up intel re. "mass destruction weapons" again.  So, they release (leak?) to press the intel details proving MBS order the murder.  Event-Driver-Question?  "Can we (USA) knowingly do business with proven gangster state?  - We have records of the phone-calls confirming everything that happened."  [Time this came out. Quality work, guys.]

What happens now?  Trump tries to fake-up another conflict with Iran, to deflect everyone from the rot and filth in the House of Saud that USA & Israel are in partnership with.  Israel has been briefed on the outlines of the plan, and approves.  (Explains their curious willingness to avoid Gaza conflict).  But this time, it goes wrong.  Will the US military actually be willing to operate as a proxy army for the Saudi's?  

USA, Russia, Turkey and Iran should join hands and work together to fix the problem of ugly extremism in the mess that now is the Middle East.  But instead Saudi and US politics prevents this, as of course also does Saudi oil.   But Turkey is a NATO ally, at a time when NATO itself is in danger.  

Big Saudi money is invested in the USA, and it is the Saudi's (and the Israeli's, not the Russians) that are driving US politics now.  If Trump is really in the corner that it looks like he is, then he may take desperate action, and this will mean some sort of small war - but *not* with Saudi Arabia.   But any action taken that does not address the threat that corrupt Saudi politics represents, risks initiating a very unstable dynamic process.

And if the Saudi's really *do* own Trump, then their own "royal family's" desire to hold onto power may provoke them to aggressively assist Trump in whatever military adventure he is planning.  Doubtless the pro-war-folks of Israel are comfortable with this scenario - (Likud likes to see explosions and buildings burning - same as in USA - ups the votes) - but *any* USA/Saudi-initiated military action in the Middle East is likely to have unpredictable results.  There will be no "coalition" this time.   And the US CIA has made it clear, it will *not* be party to faking intelligence results to justify more information-screening violence.

The Saudi "royal family" has to go, but it is *deeply* hard-wired into USA politics, vastly more so than Russia - almost as much as Israel. (Likud also has to go, but that will not happen yet.) 

If Russia aggressively backs Iran (in a faked-up US attack), and local US military commanders (with CIA information in their hands), refuse to carry out Trump+Saudi-royals plan of action, things suddenly get really fluid.   The US president is military commander-in-chief - but only during times of war.  

Trump is in a check-mate scenario here, damned regardless of which way he moves.  Likud and the Saudi's want him to move against Iran, but that makes him the bootboy of proven murderers.  But if he fails to act, (and the CIA has forced his hand), then he fails badly as a leader.  His only option is to insist on bin Salman's arrest for the crime. (America thinks: "Bin Salman, Bin Laden, what's the difference?  Bunch of bedsheet-wearing nutjobs.") 

So, he will probably act as the agent for Israel and Saudi royal's, and attack Iran.  But that would be so dangerous, as with Russian assistance, Iran might do a deal with Turkey, and invade Saudi Arabia.  There are rich oil-fields ripe for the picking, the Saudi "royals" have no moral authority now (as proven gangsters, documented by the CIA), and an Iran/Turkey coalition could grab the whole country rather quickly with Russian assistance.   All the US forces would have to do, is to stand-down, East-Germany style.  The joint invasion of Saudi lands could be pitched as an action of democratic "liberation" - as both Iran and Turkey actually *elect* their leaders. 

The USA is in the idiotic position of actively supporting the most non-democratic entity in the entire Middle East, next perhaps to ISIS.  

The problem with any Iran "adventure", is that it is likely to fail.  Perhaps Trump knows this, but in desperation (and with the support of Israel's advanced nuclear arsenal), he might feel he can win the gamble. But to win, he will need those Jewish nukes.  And once Israel starts throwing tactical nukes around (even if launched from anonymous locations), events could escalate very quickly.  Why would Israel launch?  Because some anonymous entity would simply nuke one of their cities.   Who would that be?  Several possibilities.  Sure, the power of nukes lies in *not using them*.  But provoking Israel to launch could have a very useful strategic outcome.  Once they are *directly* involved, and have deployed a nuclear device,  Russia could simply destroy them, and remove an entity that has been a serious menace to Russia since Israel's development of nuclear weapons was proven. The Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor back in 1981 scared the hell out of the Russian leaders.  It showed that Israeli attack aircraft could penetrate deeply into what was thought to be a well-defended country.  Had those Israeli aircraft flown a bit further, they would have been in Russian airspace.  With modern stealth technology, radar pretty much does not work anymore, and the Russians know this.

With Israel involved, and having deployed it's big devices, the Russians could address the problem once and for all.   What would America do?  What would they launch, and at what target?    Would Trump and his associates suffer the destruction of Israel?  Not likely.  So is Israel safe?  Maybe.  But once a conflict is initiated, it may play out rapidly, and in an unpredictable way.   

This seems a far-fetched and almost absurd scenario - but each step is not that unlikely.  If Iran was attacked by US or Saudi forces (they will be viewed as one in the same), it is possible other actors might take advantage of the conflict.  If a tactical nuke were launched from an Iran location, against Israel, and Israel then responded with an attack on Iran, assisting it's American and Saudi allies, it could provide a pretext for a responsive action by perhaps Russia, or some other entity.  And this may involve using different assault technology.  (The recent use of the hyper-toxic "Novochok" nerve-agent in England, shows the kind of technology that exists.  Why destroy the buildings and infrastructure of a nation, when you can just destroy the people?  This idea that nasty-bad weapons are "banned" is idiotic.  The weapons exist and are well understood - which is why the killers in England were identified.)

So yes, this seems an absurd escalation.  But if Russia could remove the Israeli threat, and partner with Turkey to remove it from NATO, they would view that as a huge win. If they were clever, they could make it look like the nuclear attack came from Iran. If that view was accepted, then American would launch against Iran, and not Russia, and WW3 might come to an end that does not result in global destruction.  Turkey ends up with the Saudi oilfields, the Israeli menace is removed, Iran is destroyed, and democracy comes to Saudi Arabia.  And the whole thing could be blamed on Iran, which no longer exists to defend itself.

What is interesting here is that this may actually be a viable path to ultimate peace in the region.  As things stand now, peace is unlikely.

[Nov. 17, 2018] - I've been asked: "What is 'information weaponization' (IW) ?".  My definition is: "Information management done to produce an outcome similar to what happens in a military action.  You engineer a victory for your side, and a loss for your adversary."   From TechTarget.com:  "Propaganda is an example of weaponized information: misleading or biased information of a political nature that is usually spread by governments. ... Weaponized information is one form of social engineering. The presentation of the information may be skillfully crafted to exploit common cognitive biases and errors." 

Exfiltration of private communication is also a method by which information can be weaponized, and this has been well understood since ancient times.  (It is why military agents typically execute spies for treason).  

But the systemic exploitation of cognition errors and cognitive biases is also part of IW now.  If you can make your counterparty believe something untrue, you can explicitly direct his behaviour toward an outcome that provides a victory for you, and a loss for him.  One need not waste time with "Game Theory" abstractions.  You only need to disinform your enemy sufficiently so as to successfully motivate him into making decisions and taking actions which ensure the successful outcome of your strategy. 

Once AI technology is deployed into the domain of modern neural-science and behavioural economics, I now believe that the Elon-Musk-Scenario ("AI, sufficiently advanced, may be used to seriously damage humanity.") might actually be both possible and likely.  If I had access to a complete market-beating AI, would I use the wealth generated for me, in a positive way?  Or would I use it to accumulate power, and begin behaving badly?   

My market AI stuff works annoyingly well.  I am seriously running into a "human problem", where the suggested trades look *very* uncomfortable, and I am not putting them on.  This is a real problem.  I don't like what the AI is telling me to do, so I don't do it - and then I watch the market trade down to the point indicated, (I don't act), and then the market reverses, and shoots off, and I see that the trade would have made thousands.  I am finding this process deeply unnerving and unpleasant to say the least.    As humans, we are weak, and full of fear, and this makes us *very* easy to manipulate.   Our cognitive apparatus evolved for jungle-survival, and watching the grasslands.  It does not work well at all, in the high-stress, high-cost, high-reward environments of the digital netherworld.  At least mine does not. 

The weakness in most formal systems, is visible in the bathroom mirror.  And it is why in the "AI's versus Humans" struggle (which is already very evident in the stock and bond markets), the AI's will win, and win consistantly.   This suggests difficult times ahead, in a number of unique and non-predictable ways. (For example: It means professional money managers will be outperformed by an AI.  Not just sometimes, but every time, every year, year-in and year-out.  That job is basically an anachronism now. [My Pocket-Oxford defines anachronism: "An out-of-date thing"] )

But if World War 3 happens, then perhaps we need not worry much about job descriptions.  As a clever guy I knew who has since died, once reminded me: "Libraries will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no libraries." 

If we are entering the beginning of a "Time of No Libraries", then investment strategies may be measured in survival of one's farmland, and wealth ranked by the number of cartridges one has in storage.  Big Grin

Scenario for Resolution

[Nov. 18, 2018] - Israel "Defence" Minister resigns.  Gaza truce holds.  Trump is in a corner, as apparently he has deep connections with Saudi's (there is info circulating about how Saudi "royal family" types bought his yacht "Princess" for $20 million when Trump was in bankruptcy), as well as other unspecified financial assistance.  This suggests Trump is deeply loyal to Saudi royals, and unlikely to take any action against them.  Maybe they own him? 

This is a serious problem, as it explains Trump's willingness to hype-up the attacks on Iran, a nation that should be an ally now in the fight against terrorist extremism.  News is usually noise, but this could be different.  Our investment work includes scenario construction.  We have one now that leads to WW3. Drops the jaw, as each step has reasonable (quite non-zero) subjective probability. 

Plays like this: Trigger fact is resignation of White House advisor on the Saudi sanctions.  Minor item, but suggests no serious action will be taken against the Saudi's, despite American being energy-independent (US is now net exporter of oil).  Trump, under attack on several fronts, decides to take page for Bush playbook, and initiate action of some kind against Iran.  CIA is angry, as they would be asked to phony-up intel re. "mass destruction weapons" again.  So, they release (leak?) to press the intel details proving MBS order the murder.  Event-Driver-Question?  "Can we (USA) knowingly do business with proven gangster state?  - We have records of the phone-calls confirming everything that happened."  [Time this came out. Quality work, guys.]

What happens now?  Trump tries to fake-up another conflict with Iran, to deflect everyone from the rot and filth in the House of Saud that USA & Israel are in partnership with.  Israel has been briefed on the outlines of the plan, and approves.  (Explains their curious willingness to avoid Gaza conflict).  But this time, it goes wrong.  Will the US military actually be willing to operate as a proxy army for the Saudi's?  

USA, Russia, Turkey and Iran should join hands and work together to fix the problem of ugly extremism in the mess that now is the Middle East.  But instead Saudi and US politics prevents this, as of course also does Saudi oil.   But Turkey is a NATO ally, at a time when NATO itself is in danger.  

Big Saudi money is invested in the USA, and it is the Saudi's (and the Israeli's, not the Russians) that are driving US politics now.  If Trump is really in the corner that it looks like he is, then he may take desperate action, and this will mean some sort of small war - but *not* with Saudi Arabia.   But any action taken that does not address the threat that corrupt Saudi politics represents, risks initiating a very unstable dynamic process.

And if the Saudi's really *do* own Trump, then their own "royal family's" desire to hold onto power may provoke them to aggressively assist Trump in whatever military adventure he is planning.  Doubtless the pro-war-folks of Israel are comfortable with this scenario - (Likud likes to see explosions and buildings burning - same as in USA - ups the votes) - but *any* USA/Saudi-initiated military action in the Middle East is likely to have unpredictable results.  There will be no "coalition" this time.   And the US CIA has made it clear, it will *not* be party to faking intelligence results to justify more information-screening violence.

The Saudi "royal family" has to go, but it is *deeply* hard-wired into USA politics, vastly more so than Russia - almost as much as Israel. (Likud also has to go, but that will not happen yet.) 

If Russia aggressively backs Iran (in a faked-up US attack), and local US military commanders (with CIA information in their hands), refuse to carry out Trump+Saudi-royals plan of action, things suddenly get really fluid.   The US president is military commander-in-chief - but only during times of war.  

Trump is in a check-mate scenario here, damned regardless of which way he moves.  Likud and the Saudi's want him to move against Iran, but that makes him the bootboy of proven murderers.  But if he fails to act, (and the CIA has forced his hand), then he fails badly as a leader.  His only option is to insist on bin Salman's arrest for the crime. (America thinks: "Bin Salman, Bin Laden, what's the difference?  Bunch of bedsheet-wearing nutjobs.") 

So, he will probably act as the agent for Israel and Saudi royal's, and attack Iran.  But that would be so dangerous, as with Russian assistance, Iran might do a deal with Turkey, and invade Saudi Arabia.  There are rich oil-fields ripe for the picking, the Saudi "royals" have no moral authority now (as proven gangsters, documented by the CIA), and an Iran/Turkey coalition could grab the whole country rather quickly with Russian assistance.   All the US forces would have to do, is to stand-down, East-Germany style.  The joint invasion of Saudi lands could be pitched as an action of democratic "liberation" - as both Iran and Turkey actually *elect* their leaders. 

The USA is in the idiotic position of actively supporting the most non-democratic entity in the entire Middle East, next perhaps to ISIS.  

The problem with any Iran "adventure", is that it is likely to fail.  Perhaps Trump knows this, but in desperation (and with the support of Israel's advanced nuclear arsenal), he might feel he can win the gamble. But to win, he will need those Jewish nukes.  And once Israel starts throwing tactical nukes around (even if launched from anonymous locations), events could escalate very quickly.  Why would Israel launch?  Because some anonymous entity would simply nuke one of their cities.   Who would that be?  Several possibilities.  Sure, the power of nukes lies in *not using them*.  But provoking Israel to launch could have a very useful strategic outcome.  Once they are *directly* involved, and have deployed a nuclear device,  Russia could simply destroy them, and remove an entity that has been a serious menace to Russia since Israel's development of nuclear weapons was proven. The Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor back in 1981 scared the hell out of the Russian leaders.  It showed that Israeli attack aircraft could penetrate deeply into what was thought to be a well-defended country.  Had those Israeli aircraft flown a bit further, they would have been in Russian airspace.  With modern stealth technology, radar pretty much does not work anymore, and the Russians know this.

With Israel involved, and having deployed it's big devices, the Russians could address the problem once and for all.   What would America do?  What would they launch, and at what target?    Would Trump and his associates suffer the destruction of Israel?  Not likely.  So is Israel safe?  Maybe.  But once a conflict is initiated, it may play out rapidly, and in an unpredictable way.   

This seems a far-fetched and almost absurd scenario - but each step is not that unlikely.  If Iran was attacked by US or Saudi forces (they will be viewed as one in the same), it is possible other actors might take advantage of the conflict.  If a tactical nuke were launched from an Iran location, against Israel, and Israel then responded with an attack on Iran, assisting it's American and Saudi allies, it could provide a pretext for a responsive action by perhaps Russia, or some other entity.  And this may involve using different assault technology.  (The recent use of the hyper-toxic "Novochok" nerve-agent in England, shows the kind of technology that exists.  Why destroy the buildings and infrastructure of a nation, when you can just destroy the people?  This idea that nasty-bad weapons are "banned" is idiotic.  The weapons exist and are well understood - which is why the killers in England were identified.)

So yes, this seems an absurd escalation.  But if Russia could remove the Israeli threat, and partner with Turkey to remove it from NATO, they would view that as a huge win. If they were clever, they could make it look like the nuclear attack came from Iran. If that view was accepted, then American would launch against Iran, and not Russia, and WW3 might come to an end that does not result in global destruction.  Turkey ends up with the Saudi oilfields, the Israeli menace is removed, Iran is destroyed, and democracy comes to Saudi Arabia.  And the whole thing could be blamed on Iran, which no longer exists to defend itself.

What is interesting here is that this may actually be a viable path to ultimate peace in the region.  As things stand now, peace is unlikely.

[Nov. 17, 2018] - I've been asked: "What is 'information weaponization' (IW) ?".  My definition is: "Information management done to produce an outcome similar to what happens in a military action.  You engineer a victory for your side, and a loss for your adversary."   From TechTarget.com:  "Propaganda is an example of weaponized information: misleading or biased information of a political nature that is usually spread by governments. ... Weaponized information is one form of social engineering. The presentation of the information may be skillfully crafted to exploit common cognitive biases and errors." 

Exfiltration of private communication is also a method by which information can be weaponized, and this has been well understood since ancient times.  (It is why military agents typically execute spies for treason).  

But the systemic exploitation of cognition errors and cognitive biases is also part of IW now.  If you can make your counterparty believe something untrue, you can explicitly direct his behaviour toward an outcome that provides a victory for you, and a loss for him.  One need not waste time with "Game Theory" abstractions.  You only need to disinform your enemy sufficiently so as to successfully motivate him into making decisions and taking actions which ensure the successful outcome of your strategy. 

Once AI technology is deployed into the domain of modern neural-science and behavioural economics, I now believe that the Elon-Musk-Scenario ("AI, sufficiently advanced, may be used to seriously damage humanity.") might actually be both possible and likely.  If I had access to a complete market-beating AI, would I use the wealth generated for me, in a positive way?  Or would I use it to accumulate power, and begin behaving badly?   

My market AI stuff works annoyingly well.  I am seriously running into a "human problem", where the suggested trades look *very* uncomfortable, and I am not putting them on.  This is a real problem.  I don't like what the AI is telling me to do, so I don't do it - and then I watch the market trade down to the point indicated, (I don't act), and then the market reverses, and shoots off, and I see that the trade would have made thousands.  I am finding this process deeply unnerving and unpleasant to say the least.    As humans, we are weak, and full of fear, and this makes us *very* easy to manipulate.   Our cognitive apparatus evolved for jungle-survival, and watching the grasslands.  It does not work well at all, in the high-stress, high-cost, high-reward environments of the digital netherworld.  At least mine does not. 

The weakness in most formal systems, is visible in the bathroom mirror.  And it is why in the "AI's versus Humans" struggle (which is already very evident in the stock and bond markets), the AI's will win, and win consistantly.   This suggests difficult times ahead, in a number of unique and non-predictable ways. (For example: It means professional money managers will be outperformed by an AI.  Not just sometimes, but every time, every year, year-in and year-out.  That job is basically an anachronism now. [My Pocket-Oxford defines anachronism: "An out-of-date thing"] )

But if World War 3 happens, then perhaps we need not worry much about job descriptions.  As a clever guy I knew who has since died, once reminded me: "Libraries will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no libraries." 

If we are entering the beginning of a "Time of No Libraries", then investment strategies may be measured in survival of one's farmland, and wealth ranked by the number of cartridges one has in storage.  Big Grin