I haven’t heard about this Jocko guy before; apparently he’s a Navy Seal and he has a podcast. But I stumbled upon this short clip where he and his Seal buddy are talking about gathering data points as regards to dating. In essence it can be stripped down to the advice to not ignore red flags. Which is extremely easy to do when you have a couple of data points that completely overshadow the other potential information. In this example it was: she’s freaking beautiful, and she is nice to you, at that moment.
But this way of extrapolating and objectively analysing information can be used in any other area of life which requires you to make a decision. From very small and mundane decisions to really big decisions.
For example, you’re a Jew and living in Munich in 1935. Plenty of Jews looked at the available data points at the time and promptly moved overseas. Many did not move far enough. But many more did not move at all. They hung on until the bitter end, which for some became rather bitter indeed.
It is extremely easy with hindsight to pour scorn upon those that failed to act appropriately in such an extreme scenario. But the fact of the matter is that people will willingly ignore data points if the information does not fit in with their world view and with their current situation. I’ve been just as guilty of this in the past as anyone. Giving up my band, my job, my apartment, hell, my entire known life at that moment, and jumping upon my clapped out Honda CB750 and blasting all the way across Australia to chase after a really hawt chick who wasn’t returning my calls by the time I set out is a wonderful example of data point avoidance.
Jack over at Sigma Frame has something of a dilemma at the moment. I do not envy him this dilemma. In the space of 24 hours he has put up not one but two articles on how the very idea of China going to war over the island of Taiwan is absurd.
Jack lives in Taiwan.
Reading the articles, it immediately struck me that Jack is selectively utilising data points to attempt to rationalise his decision to stay there. Of course Jack wants to come to this conclusion because I have no doubt that he is very much invested in staying there. Take it from someone who has some experience in this area; picking up stumps and moving internationally without any support is a rather trying ordeal.
Not to mention right at this moment there are two rather big hurdles to moving internationally, namely the Coof and the logistic shipping meltdown with all the associated costs and delays.
Be that as it may, China is ratting its sabers. Let’s take an objective look at some of the points that Jack has written. Remember, this is not personal. I feel for the guy. I would hate to be in his position. But I see someone who is going down the road of making a potentially unwise decision based upon poor data point interpretation.
No one in Taiwan wants a war with China, or with any other country for that matter.
It doesn’t matter what the people of Taiwan want. They’re not the ones rattling sabers. The much more relevant question to ask is, what do the Chinese want?
Yes, Taiwan has been building up it’s military through arms and machinery purchases from the U.S., but mainly for defense purposes. There is no aggressive plan to go “hot”. Military generals have said that even if China invades Taiwan, they will not take the first shot.
Dear me. So the generals commanding your defensive forces don’t intend to shoot first even if Chinese troops begin parachuting from the sky.
Taiwan is probably the most peaceful place on Earth.
Every place is the most peaceful place on earth. Until it suddenly isn’t anymore.
Don’t succumb to the fear mongering being presented in the news.
I don’t get my information from the mainstream media. I get it from writers and analysts that I respect. Like the guys over at the Unz Review, Martin van Creveld, and the Chinese themselves on how they intend to wage unrestricted warfare.
Yes, spinning up the cold war between China and Taiwan into a real potential for a hot war is fake news. It makes no sense, just like invading Iraq in 2003 made no sense.
Yes, invading Iraq made no sense at all. And then they went and did it anyway.
A warning to expats has not even been issued from the U.S. State Department, and they will send a message to American expats in Taiwan if so much as a strong wind blows westward (literally).
The United States government has an extremely poor record of looking after and helping its nationals caught up in foreign disturbances. Look up how US citizens in Libya were not forewarned and were effectively abandoned when Gadhafi took power in 1969, to mention but one example. And on that point, if a war is about to break out, you expats will be the very last to know.
What about other data points that might be applicable here? How is the current state of the US military? Well, they just fled Afghanistan while leaving behind close to $100 billion worth of military hardware. The US carrier groups are paper tigers that were out of date over thirty years ago. The USA itself is in the middle of a political and social implosion. In that regard, the current time is the best it has been since 1945 for China to finally wipe out the Kuomintang.
China’s industrial capacity is currently comparable to the USA in 1941. It is the biggest in the world. I have quite a number of contacts in my industry who do some work now and again in China. They tell me of flying over inland ports which are hundreds of miles of uninterrupted ship building and industrial manufacturing areas. The industrial capacity of the USA has been outsourced to China. Which means that any war that the US gets into with China will have to be decided very quickly if the US is to prevail.
There are also plenty of data points against China invading, at this time. Its foolish past one child policy means that there are entire generations of parents who would be rather upset at losing the one kid who is supposed to be looking after them into old age. Their military has been untested for decades. Since the US military is so weak and ineffective this might mean that the US would resort to nuclear weapons in order to win the fight, (this is also a point against hanging around in the immediate area of Taiwan).
Ultimately, if I were in Jack’s shoes the question that I would be asking myself is not, could China invade? The critical question from my own personal point of view would instead be, if China does invade how healthy will my immediate future be as a Westerner? What plans would China have for the many Americans, Australians, British and all the rest of them who would be caught up in the whole mess?
Because believe me, they will have plans.