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Europe's Security and Geopolitics?

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  Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Europe's Security and Geopolitics?
    Posted: 28-Aug-2008 at 05:48
With the EU expanding along with maybe becoming a more united entity and perhaps with a united Europe playing a much larger role in World Affairs some years from now does anyone think that the threats to the EU's security and stability will increase and where will that threat come from the main threat portrayed among many in Western Society Extremist Islam or from a more resurgent Russia or from something else such as internal demographics and possible future general social instability throughout Europe.

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  Quote Bankotsu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2008 at 06:03
I think EU's role in the world is limited since there is still NATO as a factor influencing decisions and policy.

There are also tens of thousands of U.S troops in europe. So, the independent role of EU is doubtful.


Zbigniew Brzezinski's view of USA policy towards Europe:

Europe is America's essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia. America's stake in democratic Europe is enormous. Unlike America's links with Japan, NATO entrenches American political influence and military power on the Eurasian mainland. With the allied European nations still highly dependent on U.S. protection, any expansion of Europe's political scope is automatically an expansion of U.S. influence. Conversely, the United States' ability to project influence and power in Eurasia relies on close transatlantic ties.

A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy. A larger Europe will expand the range of American influence without simultaneously creating a Europe so politically integrated that it could challenge the United States on matters of geopolitical importance, particularly in the Middle East. A politically defined Europe is also essential to Russia's assimilation into a system of global cooperation.

America cannot create a more united Europe on its own -- that is a task for the Europeans, especially the French and the Germans. But America can obstruct the emergence of a more united Europe, and that could prove calamitous for Eurasian stability and America's interests. Unless Europe becomes more united, it is likely to become more disunited again. Washington must work closely with Germany and France in building a Europe that is politically viable, remains linked to the United States, and widens the scope of the democratic international system. Choosing between France and Germany is not the issue. Without both these nations, there will be no Europe, and without Europe there will never be a cooperative trans-Eurasian system.

In practical terms, all this will eventually require America's accommodation to a shared leadership in NATO, greater acceptance of France's concerns over a European role in Africa and the Middle East, and continued support for the European Union's eastward expansion even as the EU becomes politically and economically more assertive. A transatlantic free trade agreement, already advocated by a number of Western leaders, could mitigate the risk of a growing economic rivalry between the EU and the United States. The EU's progressive success in burying centuries-old European antagonisms would be well worth a gradual diminution in America's role as Europe's arbitrator.

Enlargement of NATO and the EU would also reinvigorate Europe's waning sense of a larger vocation while consolidating, to the benefit of both America and Europe, the democratic gains won through the successful end of the Cold War. At stake in this effort is nothing less than America's long-range relationship with Europe. A new Europe is still taking shape, and if that Europe is to remain part of the "Euro-Atlantic" space, the expansion of NATO is essential.

Accordingly, NATO and EU enlargement should move forward in deliberate stages. Assuming a sustained American and Western European commitment, here is a speculative but realistic timetable for these stages: By 1999, the first three Central European members will have been admitted into NATO, although their inclusion in the EU will probably not take place before 2002 or 2003; by 2003, the EU is likely to have initiated accession talks with all three Baltic republics, and NATO will likewise have moved forward on their membership as well as that of Romania and Bulgaria, with their accession likely to be completed before 2005; between 2005 and 2010, Ukraine, provided it has made significant domestic reforms and has become identified as a Central European country, should also be ready for initial negotiations with the EU and NATO.

Failure to widen NATO, now that the commitment has been made, would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe and demoralize the Central Europeans. Worse, it could reignite dormant Russian political aspirations in Central Europe. Moreover, it is far from evident that the Russian political elite shares the European desire for a strong American political and military presence in Europe. Accordingly, while fostering a cooperative relationship with Russia is desirable, it is important for America to send a clear message about its global priorities. If a choice must be made between a larger Europe-Atlantic system and a better relationship with Russia, the former must rank higher.

http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/9709brzezinski.html


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  Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2008 at 17:11
Originally posted by Bankotsu

I think EU's role in the world is limited since there is still NATO as a factor influencing decisions and policy.

There are also tens of thousands of U.S troops in europe. So, the independent role of EU is doubtful.


Zbigniew Brzezinski's view of USA policy towards Europe:

Europe is America's essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia. America's stake in democratic Europe is enormous. Unlike America's links with Japan, NATO entrenches American political influence and military power on the Eurasian mainland. With the allied European nations still highly dependent on U.S. protection, any expansion of Europe's political scope is automatically an expansion of U.S. influence. Conversely, the United States' ability to project influence and power in Eurasia relies on close transatlantic ties.

A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy. A larger Europe will expand the range of American influence without simultaneously creating a Europe so politically integrated that it could challenge the United States on matters of geopolitical importance, particularly in the Middle East. A politically defined Europe is also essential to Russia's assimilation into a system of global cooperation.

America cannot create a more united Europe on its own -- that is a task for the Europeans, especially the French and the Germans. But America can obstruct the emergence of a more united Europe, and that could prove calamitous for Eurasian stability and America's interests. Unless Europe becomes more united, it is likely to become more disunited again. Washington must work closely with Germany and France in building a Europe that is politically viable, remains linked to the United States, and widens the scope of the democratic international system. Choosing between France and Germany is not the issue. Without both these nations, there will be no Europe, and without Europe there will never be a cooperative trans-Eurasian system.

In practical terms, all this will eventually require America's accommodation to a shared leadership in NATO, greater acceptance of France's concerns over a European role in Africa and the Middle East, and continued support for the European Union's eastward expansion even as the EU becomes politically and economically more assertive. A transatlantic free trade agreement, already advocated by a number of Western leaders, could mitigate the risk of a growing economic rivalry between the EU and the United States. The EU's progressive success in burying centuries-old European antagonisms would be well worth a gradual diminution in America's role as Europe's arbitrator.

Enlargement of NATO and the EU would also reinvigorate Europe's waning sense of a larger vocation while consolidating, to the benefit of both America and Europe, the democratic gains won through the successful end of the Cold War. At stake in this effort is nothing less than America's long-range relationship with Europe. A new Europe is still taking shape, and if that Europe is to remain part of the "Euro-Atlantic" space, the expansion of NATO is essential.

Accordingly, NATO and EU enlargement should move forward in deliberate stages. Assuming a sustained American and Western European commitment, here is a speculative but realistic timetable for these stages: By 1999, the first three Central European members will have been admitted into NATO, although their inclusion in the EU will probably not take place before 2002 or 2003; by 2003, the EU is likely to have initiated accession talks with all three Baltic republics, and NATO will likewise have moved forward on their membership as well as that of Romania and Bulgaria, with their accession likely to be completed before 2005; between 2005 and 2010, Ukraine, provided it has made significant domestic reforms and has become identified as a Central European country, should also be ready for initial negotiations with the EU and NATO.

Failure to widen NATO, now that the commitment has been made, would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe and demoralize the Central Europeans. Worse, it could reignite dormant Russian political aspirations in Central Europe. Moreover, it is far from evident that the Russian political elite shares the European desire for a strong American political and military presence in Europe. Accordingly, while fostering a cooperative relationship with Russia is desirable, it is important for America to send a clear message about its global priorities. If a choice must be made between a larger Europe-Atlantic system and a better relationship with Russia, the former must rank higher.

http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/9709brzezinski.html




However with this to quote something along the lines of what a French political analyst said which was that "American success is European success". I think in many ways if not most ways this is true and I think a more united Europe would be very close in terms of geopolitical interests with the United States. However this is not to say that they would have disagreements especially on issues like economics and business ties in many areas of the World and on environmental issues as well.     
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2008 at 18:22
militarily I feel there will be no threatsto the EU based on a quote i was read, "if there is a WW3 WW4 willbe faught with stiks and stones" a word war in a modrn era would just have to drastic a consequences
 
economically I feel there may threats from China only gentlmens agrement limits there trade to here to 11% the special frendiship with US should stop any issues there I hope Wink 
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2008 at 02:31
Europe has known and understood hegemony since the early 16th century.  In the last century, the hegemon was either Germany, or Russia in its Soviet disguise.  The US is a hegemon, but rarely acknowledged as such.
 
The unadvertised strategy of the US has been to provide cover for western Europe, and since the 1990s, for eastern Europe as well.  This cover (in the form of NATO), coming after the recovery plans post WW II, was as much to attain control over Germany as it was to keep Russia from expanding her influence westward.
 
It had little to do with altruistic intent.  It did have to do with prevention of another hegemony on the Eurasian land mass.  Such a hegemonic entity would be against the interests of the US.  The domination of markets and control of resources would be a serious challenge to US global position.
 
The US has no interest in Europe consolidating.  There have been some views (French) that a "Big Europe" extending from Portugal to Moscow would be able to counter US global hegemony.  Give it 100 years, but I can't see that now.  The only Euros who seem to see that as advantageous are intellectuals....often the most unrealistic of people.
 
Such a Big Europe would be dominated by Russia.  France would become like Ukraine; Germany would become like some other vassal, and all the others would be little Georgias.  The geographic realitiy of such a hegemony would lead to enough tensions over resources and markets that another general and probably catastrophic war would be more likely.
 
It is far better and cheaper to isolate Russia from all her former European enemies and satrapies, to promote the decomposition of nascent European unification (unlikely anyway) and to present the tableau of Russian misbehavior to as many as possible.....Kosovo/Georgia/Chechenya.....threats of attack against east Europe, etc.
 
All this goes far beyond - to assessments of the zones of conflict around the rim of the Eurasian landmass and whether they are "soft" and malleable like the general Arab world, or "hard" and must be dealt with like India and China.  Europe is a soft zone, and has been since 1945.
 
As far as European security, the European states are now a Balkan peninsula that has been controlled by outside power since the 1940s.  Security has come at the price of dismantling the imperial resource bases that gave some of them the added strength/potential to regain the aggressive postures of the years pre-1945, and acquiesence to NATO (US) protection against Russia and German revanchism.
 
As it stands, European geopolitics is an extension of US geoplitical interests.  Ask Poland and Estonia and Ukraine who they would prefer.  Unfortunately, geographically, a resurgent and confident Russia "is they daddy."
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 29-Aug-2008 at 04:05
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 01:53

Who thinks Europe, as a whole, has much latitude in its collective approach to foreign affairs and to its security concerns?  Let's discuss this.

I submit that European powers misinterpreted their influence in world affairs, after the years 1914-45, in Indochina, Indonesia, in North Africa, and had to surrender any influence at all after the Suez debacle in 1956.  The only European powers of any consequence, France and the UK, were told what they could do in foreign affairs, and how far they could go, by the United States.  This situation was due to a confluence of interests of the US and the USSR.

Has this changed since 1956?  Only to the extent that western Europe's lines of supply and commerce are dependant on US naval power, and that the rest of developed Europe is substantially hostage to energy resources purchased from Russia.  In sum, does Europe now have less latitude to act absent attention to American or Russian interests than 50 years ago, or has the situation remained much the same?
 
Why would either the US or Russia acquiesce in actions of European states (or Europe collectively) that did not coincide with their interests?
 
     

  

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 05:17
Europe is dependent on the US ultimatly, with the exception of France and UK. Europe's defence is based on the assumption that US will defend it. Europe dose have significant latitude to act; for example Iraq war, when it was split in Rumsfeld's immortal words, between Old Europe and New Europe plus the UK, however it can't go against US interests beyond  a certain limit. So friendship with Russia is only up to the extent that the US vital interests are not threatened.
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  Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 05:55
Europe's defence is based on the assumption that US will defend it.

From whom?

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 08:46
From any external threat, Russia for one.
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  Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 11:39
I don't think Europe fears Russia at all. After all, european countries are dismantling their conventional armiesand building smaller ones, with clear aggressive orientation.
Apart from this, the big european countries can easily match russia's capabilities. Unless of course you speak of nuclear threat, which I don't think is anyhow propable.
I think Europe's reliance from the US has not to do with Europe's defence, but rather with offense. European countries cannot launch operations overseas without the US helping.

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  Quote Dacian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2009 at 20:26
it might be safe to say that maybe after centuries of inner fighting the european heads found out it is more advantageous to try keeping the stuff togheter than always trying to break it appart

even more so for now (likely with time will change as selfconfidence in the european power grows and us power will decay) europe is focusing on economy, research and wellfare which is not at all bad for it's inhabitants

pretty much everyone expects the new top dog to be china and the EU doesnt seem to want to interfere with the china-us economic powerstruggle (its complicated enough as it is by the way the china and us economies are interlinked)

i guess for now is watch and welfare for europe (watch everybody else russia included).

not to mention europe is busy with itself , trying to bring the eastern block closer to the western part  which is not an easy task...one cannot wipe 50 years of communism that easy)

still it is some place left for world wide diplomacy here and there to show a new european image focused on helping peace and sorts...which is quite true for now...but without a doubt things will change with time...as with any "empire" it will be growth peak and collapse
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2009 at 21:44
This popping up again made me reread over the thread. I don't see why Russia is seen as such an important factor any more. It is nothing like the giant it was.
 
Currently the Russian population is about 140 million - half the size of the US, and half the size of the Soviet Union - while the EU's population is close to 500 million. I'm not a great fan of GDP as a measure, but again currently the EU GDP is something more than ten times the Russian GDP - $18 trillion vs $1.75 trillion or thereabouts.
 
And its current economic situation shows how vulnerable it is to fluctuations in the oil price.
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  Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2009 at 22:05
Originally posted by gcle2003

This popping up again made me reread over the thread. I don't see why Russia is seen as such an important factor any more. It is nothing like the giant it was.
 


I think it might be a built in psychology of many major European powers to fear Russia's historical past. I'm not saying that modern Russia is to be ultimately feared as the main threat, but we are not really that far removed enough from the past for peoples memories too fade to nothingness, as if the events of the twentieth century never happened! As a whole, Europe has nothing too fear from Russia. Independently, they might have everything too fear and not only from Russia, but also from past European expansionist powers!


Currently the Russian population is about 140 million - half the size of the US, and half the size of the Soviet Union - while the EU's population is close to 500 million. I'm not a great fan of GDP as a measure, but again currently the EU GDP is something more than ten times the Russian GDP - $18 trillion vs $1.75 trillion or thereabouts.


Economics aside, just how united is Europe really? I'm not asking this out of any gleeful hostility to the EU project, but i do have my suspicions? If i may be allowed my two cents of druthers... i'd rather see the EU be a bit more united, but a lot less centralized than it is currently, than for it to go back to the way it was per-20th century.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2009 at 17:26
Originally posted by gcle2003

This popping up again made me reread over the thread. I don't see why Russia is seen as such an important factor any more. It is nothing like the giant it was.
 
Currently the Russian population is about 140 million - half the size of the US, and half the size of the Soviet Union - while the EU's population is close to 500 million. I'm not a great fan of GDP as a measure, but again currently the EU GDP is something more than ten times the Russian GDP - $18 trillion vs $1.75 trillion or thereabouts.
 
And its current economic situation shows how vulnerable it is to fluctuations in the oil price.
 
Russia has natural resources.
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2009 at 23:08
Originally posted by rider

Originally posted by gcle2003

This popping up again made me reread over the thread. I don't see why Russia is seen as such an important factor any more. It is nothing like the giant it was.
 
Currently the Russian population is about 140 million - half the size of the US, and half the size of the Soviet Union - while the EU's population is close to 500 million. I'm not a great fan of GDP as a measure, but again currently the EU GDP is something more than ten times the Russian GDP - $18 trillion vs $1.75 trillion or thereabouts.
 
And its current economic situation shows how vulnerable it is to fluctuations in the oil price.
 
Russia has natural resources.
 
That might make Russia more of a Chinese target down the road.  The Chinese are woefully deficient in many natural resources that are needed to support any ongoing economic development that China can sustain.  Russia is vulnerable to fluctuating oil prices, as is any one-commodity political economy.  The Chinese are vulnerable to ANY drop in economic demand because their industrial base is so immature.  They manufacture a lot of low quality, low cost goods that are more dependent on mass, low-income consumer demand.
 
If, as the global economic situation evolves, China becomes either a) more sophisticated in her manufacturing base, or b) called upon to satisfy many developing low cost markets (assuming the global economy achieves some equilibrium) with industrial production, the closeness of Russia's natural resources may be too inviting to ignore, or too expensive to bargain for.  The possibility of Sino-Russian conflict is likely to be undeniable.
 
If that occurs, Iran might make her bid for dominance in the Caspian region in order to control the hydrocarbon resources that a) she cannot control in the Persian Gulf, and b) she needs in order to support Iranian pretensions to being a credible regional power.
 
In future, the key to the domination of central and north Asia is going to revolve around the interests of, and conflicts between Russia, Iran and China.
 
As, long term, birth rate wins, China wins; Russia loses, and Iran picks up what central Asian scraps she can.  The Russians still have twice the population of Iran, and will not abandon the Caspian without a struggle.  The world remains economically dependent on oil - the only resource either Russia or Iran, currently, have going for them.
 
In sum, your resources (Russia) don't mean that much when your competing neighbor (China) has ten times your population.  Eventually, your competing neighbor probably is going to go after your resources.
 
      


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 02-Apr-2009 at 23:14
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  Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2009 at 23:55
That's consistent with the fact that Russia keeps her best conventional forces (I'm having the T-90 and BMP-3 in mind) in the Far East, rather than Europe. apparently, Russians have a reason to thinks there's where the hotter front is going to be.

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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 01:07
Originally posted by xristar

That's consistent with the fact that Russia keeps her best conventional forces (I'm having the T-90 and BMP-3 in mind) in the Far East, rather than Europe. apparently, Russians have a reason to thinks there's where the hotter front is going to be.
 
I absolutely agree.  It is no longer 1914 or 1941. 
 
Russia's recent bluster in the West (the Baltic states; Poland) is only by way of emphasizing that, to the central European peoples, Russia wants to be seen as a major power; an arbiter of European affairs as she was under the USSR.  Russia has little to fear from the West - France and Germany are not the powers they were 100 years ago; the European status quo is guaranteed by US presence on the continent and by US leadership of NATO.  The interests and policies of the USA have been directed toward Asia, not Europe, for almost the last 50 years.  
 
The US has nothing to gain by any threat to Russia.  The overtures of NATO to states of Russia's "near abroad" have been primarily to gain bargaining chips for future issues of negotiation over interests that impact both "sides." 
 
Russia's most likely adversaries are in Asia - China and Iran.  In the case of the former, any strategic determination will likely be defined by a balance of nuclear forces.  In the case of Iran, it may be more conventional, perhaps under nuclear umbrellas. 
 
Recently, I have become intrigued by the idea that Iran has been using Russian support to develop nuclear capability, with the US as a surreptitious threat to Iran, when Iran knows that, long term, their far more dangerous adversary is...Russia.
 
    
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  Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 01:16
Pikeshot,

You have piqued my curiosity. What in the world are doing being a stockbroker (A highly intelligent position itself), when your grasp of geopolitics far surpass even most of our currently elected government officials? I kid you not!
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 07:39
No offense, but i highly doubt the capacity, nowadays, of the US to defend an entire continent from any external threat, since they cannot win a war in rocky Afghanistan and had to deploy an entire army in a freaking desert (Iraq that is ) in order to keep the order........
Plus, Russia is not a threat to Europe.  Russia needs the European market and European cash. Only an imbecile would do otherwise. Just look how many Russians do their business or live in the UK....


Edited by Spartakus - 03-Apr-2009 at 07:42
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 15:23
Originally posted by Panther

Pikeshot,

You have piqued my curiosity. What in the world are doing being a stockbroker (A highly intelligent position itself), when your grasp of geopolitics far surpass even most of our currently elected government officials? I kid you not!
 
Well, thanks for the compliment, I guess.  It is much too late in life for this older guy to change course, and I didn't have the academic credentials to get involved in national security or teaching.  My days in the navy were as a line officer, and later in administration, so I don't have any professional intel background.  I wasn't one of "the annointed."  Big smile 
 
In those days, all the strategists thought about was the USSR.  That was perhaps why Condi Rice, as an old Cold Warrior, was clueless in the 2000s. 
 
In order for anyone to have a broader understanding of geopolitics with numerous other players, you had to read up on the 19th century, and on WW II - and that became very unfashionable, at least in the US.  We tend here to think nothing happened before yesterday.  So, Cold War geopols became like simulacra of one another. 
 
George Kennan's policy recs and Spykman's geographic thinking had to be ossified in order to sell them to the mass of voters as "immutable truths."  Kennan was so disappointed in what happened to his policy positions he quit the State Dept.  Whatever...I know I never would have fit in anyway.  
 
The financial biz has been good to me (even if half my clients don't do what I recommend - they still buy high and sell low too often). 
 
 
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