Here are today’s quizzes:
Should America fall, who of the following is most likely to take over as the new world’s class captain?
(D) Globalists/ World Economic Forum
(E) None of the above.
Answer: Pick your choice.
2 What will a globalized, nuclearized, digitized world without a Class Captain or with multiple Captains look like?
(A) Likely more stable
(B) Likely more unstable
(C) Certainly stable
(D) Certainly unstable
(E) Hobbesian- state-of-nature
Answer: pick your choice. Or read till the end.
3 Talking of parallels, will the end of the Russia-Ukraine war resemble?
(A) 1939 Germany-Poland invasion (begot WW2-Aggressor: Germany, roundly defeated)
(B) 1979 USSR-Afghanistan invasion (led to the collapse of Soviet Union, the Aggressor)
(C) 2001 America-Afghanistan invasion (Aggressor: America shamed, lost money, credibility)
(D) 2003 America-Iraq invasion (Aggressor: suffering from internal/external eternal injuries, but toppled & killed Saddam Hussein
(E) 1994-1999 Russia-Chechnya Wars 1&2 (Round 1: Chechnya 1, Russia 0, securing de facto independence. Round 2: Russia 2, Chechnya 0, got reincorporated into Russia)
4 Which of the following ‘’Missiles’’ is most life-threatening today?
(A) Intercontinental Ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from Putin, Russia
(B) Intercontinental Ballistic Hunger missiles (ICBHM)
(C) Intercontinental Ballistic Energy missiles (ICBEM)
(D) Intercontinental Ballistic Climate missiles (ICBCM)
(E) Artificial intelligence (AI)
(Perfect scores: a box of chocolate, after the war!)
Supposedly, the triple T’s (?) year, 2022, was to be the year that things ’got back to normal’, economically, geopolitically and ’pandemically’. Ironically, the world is enmeshed in triple troubles instead: hot wars, economic woes and violent geopolitical shifts. Strangely, history is not linear, it is circular. The world is at the precipice of the gravest catastrophe in recent human history. In 1632, Williams Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar” warned: ‘’beware the ides of March’’. Could this be the crucial March the novelist had in mind? The chances are nine to ten that when Putin’s ICBMs must have stopped flying over Ukraine, the other missiles: Food crisis, Energy crisis and crazy climate, which are equally intercontinental, ballistic and lethal like ICBMs, will continue to have devastating effects for the foreseeable future.
Once, I recall, the world was here, at a similar juncture. In 1930 Hitler invaded Poland from the West, accusing Poland of persecuting ethnic Germans living in Poland and of planning with its allies, Great Britain and France to encircle and dismember Germany. The concomitant implosion led to the collapse of The League of Nations. By the time the guns went silent on 2nd September 1945, an estimated 70-85 million people directly and indirectly through bullets, war-related diseases and famine had died in an incomprehensible WW2.
The long term implications of the ongoing global shifts, which is likely to extend till the end of this decade are beyond grave. It is not a drill. It is not a ludo game. It is not a movie. It is not a malaria dream that 2:2:2x3x3 Panadol tablets prescription can fix. It requires everyone to draw their conclusions and take proactive actions. Going back to sleep–or doing things the old way–after reading this will be a lousy choice. Maybe you are waiting for the traffic light to turn green before taking consequential actions, you can stop waiting, a perfect storm is already at your doorstep, and the traffic lights are highly likely to remain permanently on red for the foreseeable future. Move. Accelerate your limo. Now.
The last major global shift (WW2) that catapulted America to the driver’s seat of the world’s limo was expensive, it lasted 2,194 days and claimed 3% of the then world population (2.3 billion, 1940) out of which 1% of the death was caused by famine and war-related diseases. Today, the world population is almost 8 billion with nine countries possessing second-strike nuclear capabilities, capable of destroying the whole world several times over.
No doubt, America’s hegemony is under continuous attack. The international world order is undergoing a major transformation, a strategic geopolitical realignment is on the horizon. The Western hegemony which started even before the German Goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invented the first–China disagreed, said she was the first with the Printing technology, not Germany–printing press around 1436, leading to the agrarian revolution of 17th century, the 18th-century French-inspired Age of Enlightenment, 19th-century British-inspired Industrial revolution and the American-inspired Information technology revolution from the 20th century face multidimensional challenges today. America has made (and is still making) several geopolitical miscalculations that stymie her capacity to continue to export its values, culture and franchise globally. The many wrong choices such as the George Bush 1&2 wars in the Middle East, Bill Clinton’s short-sighted policy on China, Obama’s world’s financial fumble, his unenforceable Syria’s red line cum Russia expulsion from Europe/G8, Trump’s mercantile, ad-hoc governance model coupled with Biden’s multiple foreign policies failures have led to the erosion of America’s myth, mojo and credibility.
Nonetheless, the odds are still in America’s favour. Of the 20 pillars of geopolitical critical success factors, America is ahead of its challengers in 13. Combined, the strengths of New Axis countries are no match to America and her allies, at least for now.
By way of definition, power is the ability to do what you desire to do and prevent opponents from doing what you don’t want them to do.
The new Holy Grails of geopolitics are four and account for a whopping 40%: Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Space dominance. ‘’Whoever gains the first-mover advantage on AI will emerge as the next Super Power’’, said President Putin on CNBC on September 4th 2017. In 2021 President Xi said ’whoever leads in artificial intelligence in 2030 will rule the world’’.
Artificial intelligence is far more dangerous than nuclear bombs, according to Elon Musk. With quantum computing, (QC) there is no secret again- everything can be hacked by the nation with superior QC skill. America remains the leader in all these four because Silicon Valley is peerless: a melting pot of money, talents, diversity and audacity. Similarly, in all the remaining 16 traditional geopolitical power pillars which account for 60%: Global reserve currency, Financial Centre, Competitiveness, Geography, Population, Quality of Government, Industrial Capacity, Military capability, National Character, Diplomacy, Natural Resources, Economic Development, Ideology, Sports, Morals and Foreign Support, America leads in 9 categories. Both score F9 in Morals and National character.
It is not a strength that China’s gargantuan military capabilities have not been tested since 1945 when it suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of small Japan, losing about 15 million Chinese in WW2. America’s dollar is still standing erect, strong. China UnionPay is no match to SWIFT. No doubt, China has leapfrogged America in its industrial capacity and economy while trying to catch up with technology. Militarily, the fear of Russia is the beginning of wisdom.
The Russia-Ukraine war is not an accident. On May 21st 2019, a global research organisation developing solutions to policy challenges wrote a paper: How to bring Russia down. The Rand Corporation, a non-profit organisation, officially funded by the CIA, Pentagon and US Army with an army of 1800 senior researchers in Washington came out with a strategy- OVEREXTENDING AND UNBALANCING RUSSIA.
The Rand Corporation in 2019 spelled out the strategies and tactics to bring down Russia.
(1) Attack Russia’s economic vulnerabilities.
(2) Cut the umbilical cord that ties Europe to Russia – oil and gas.
(3) Encourage internal protests using mainstream western media, sanction the Russians Oligarchs and set them against Putin, promote the coup option.
(4) Arm Ukraine in a calibrated manner that makes the war most expensive to Russia without provoking (the reason behind America no-no-fly- zone over Ukraine skies) a larger conflict.
America desires, one; a weakened Russia that will no longer pose a threat to the America-led unipolar world order. Two, a United Europe not beholden to Russia for energy supply. Three, the continuation of the USD as the world’s reserve currency. While Russia wants Ukraine’s reintegration into the Russian Federation, a multi-polar world order where Russia will dominate what she calls ’’strategic sphere of privileges and influence’’, a weakened NATO, with a little foothold in Eastern Europe, a divided Europe with Germany on her side, through Nord Stream 2. Russia also wants a new global payment system to replace SWIFT and the dollar.
Ukraine, on the other hand, wants security provided by EU/NATO membership, and complete independence from Russia. The French President gave a summary of the EU desires in a meeting he had with selected EU diplomats in 2020: Sovereignty of Euro currency, European Army, European sovereignty, and Economic sovereignty from America and freedom to have a more structured partnership with China.
In conclusion, the said 2019 research ended by submitting that: ‘’the options in the plan are only variants of the same war strategy, the price of which in terms of sacrifices and risks is paid by “ALL OF US’’
True to the plan, the Russian Ruble is under rubble, the Central Bank is locked out of the SWIFT system denying her access to her currency savings, ability to trade internationally has been substantially crippled. On the other hand, America has got her ‘’first beloved wife’’- Europe, back home. Germany has thrown away the Nord Stream2 Greek Gift from Russia into the black sea.
Ukraine, unfortunately, is collateral damage, America knows Ukraine will lose the war. In international relations, there is no morality. Putin is responding as programmed. Russia has placed a ban on the export of fertilizers to the EU, as Ukraine bans the export of corn used by Europeans for livestock feeds. Hunger is loading, Europeans and their livestock will starve this year. Russia is secretly soliciting for both military and economic assistance from China. America is secretly dating Iran and Venezuela, Russian girlfriends, because of oil and gas. There is silence- of the graveyard in Saudi Arabia: no love lost between MBA, the crown Prince, and Biden. Saudi Arabia holds America’s vital ‘’ball’’- Petrodollar and America equally holds the Crown Prince’s ‘’vital Ball’’- security: Balance of Terror!
30% of world wheat from Ukraine and Russia will not arrive in the global market in 2022: Ukraine, the world’s ’bread baskets’ is burning. Meanwhile, both Ukraine and Russia have started recruiting mercenaries to fight on their behalf. Ukraine has recruited 16,000 so far and pays $2k per day or $60k per month, while Russians are importing battle-tested Syrians soldiers to fight for Russia.
The global situation is further compounded by the high cost of energy- gasoline, natural gas, coal and fertilisers, the highest level in 40 years. As the Russian troops move, so does inflation, aiming for the roof, which is expected to exceed 10% globally.
Rural incomes and the livelihoods of about 100 million people in Africa are on the line. The International Fertilizer Development Centre also estimated that 30 million metric tons less food will be produced in 2022.
In China, President Xi took a step backwards with his draconian economic policies targeted at China’s capitalists, clamping down on technology businesses like video gaming. According to The Economist, that singular decision led to the erosion of $1.5 trillion in shareholders’ funds. Besides, the mountain of debt that accompanied the property boom in China making Evergrande, China’s second-biggest estate developer, to be swimming in massive debt has further compounded China’s worsening macro-economic fundamentals, coupled with structural challenges arising from the growing population of old-age dependents. Analysts fear that the cascading effect of continuous default in payment will spell doom for China and the lending intuitions that granted the loans. A repeat of 2008 American housing market collapse is loading in China. President Xi may choose to divert attention away from domestic tension by playing the Taiwan invasion card, depending on how the Ukraine’s gamble ends. Moving the needle on internal economic systemic complications seems to be President Xi’s stiffest challenge, but it is doubtful how far his draconian economic policies will sustain China’s economic growth which is expected to plateau at 5% in 2022.
In a word, as America is on fire, China is in the oven, Europe and Russia are inside the frying pan, economically and metaphorically speaking.!
Recently, the Treasury Department reported that the total debt of the US surpassed $30 trillion for the first time in history which is equivalent to 130% of America’s yearly GDP. This caused a flutter of conversations in the business community, but as expected, the American Political class buried its head, like an ostrich, in the sand, dismissing the news as not abnormal. Typically, no arsonist will like to hang out at the scene of a fire of which he is the culprit.
In February 2022, alone, the Russian-Ukrainian war cost America and its allies the sum of $850 million. Congress is proposing a $14 billion emergency fund to help Ukraine immediately. America is topping up debt, the way teenagers top-up airtime on their telephone.
The world is also facing a shortage of chips/semiconductors for computers, automakers and medical production arising from the gap created by the C-19 lockdown in 2020. The median industry inventory level in possession of customers fell from 40 days to 5 days, which was responsible for the 8 million fewer cars that were produced in the US in 2021 causing a loss of $210 billion, according to the US Commerce Secretary.
Today, Taiwan accounts for 63% of the global production of chips, and in total, 87% of the chips worldwide are from Asia. If China successfully and forcefully annexes Taiwan tomorrow, the US technology edge will be erased in a jiff. This is why. The real INFERNO is not Ukraine, but Taiwan.
Against this background, notable market Analysts are not ruling out an unprecedented catastrophic market crash this year based on the signals from Wall Street, London, Europe and Shanghai. Famous investor, Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder of Boston Asset Management who predicted accurately the last two super bubbles, said: “the bubble will burst with a global ricocheting effects sending the indexes to statistical norms and possibly further, of which the estimated losses in the US alone will be around $35 trillion.”
Another economic Depression seems to be loading. All the 5 major signs that preceded the 1930s THE GREAT DEPRESSION are present today, as multiple things are going wrong simultaneously.
(1) Persistent vulnerabilities in the global economy and absence of political will by major nations to work together for a win-win stable international financial system. China, America, Russia, Japan, UK, Europe are all working at cross-purposes.
(2) Reckless financial gambling: most of the G20 nations are heavily indebted.
(3) Unbridled increase in money supply: Russia and America are printing money with reckless abandon and without the required gold reserve to back it up.
(4) Dollar volatility.
(5) Trade protectionism. Globalisation seems to be preparing to go on sabbatical leave as Japan, South Korea and the West are moving most of their factories out of China. Those five signs are like the cloud that precedes the rain of economic depression.
(6) The world has not recovered from the C-19 pandemic economic challenges before the Ukraine war commenced. This is equivalent to a perfect storm. There will be a global cascading effect of Russia’s economic crisis arising from the historic and massive sanctions imposed by the West. As the world’s biggest country, whatever happens in Russia is bound to have a richochetting effect worldwide.
What is a victory to Putin, and what does that mean to the world? Putin told Macron during their last meeting that he wants Ukraine for dinner. This was why Macron declared ‘’the worst is yet to come’’. If Putin succeeds in annexing Ukraine completely, there will be a global domino effect. China will copy and paste Putin’s model and militarily take over Taiwan, Israel will annex Palestine, Turkey will take Cyprus to complete the unfinished business of 20th July 1974 invasion, Saudi-Arabia will take Yemen while Azerbaijan will take Armenia. America will hijack Iceland. The list is endless. What stops France and UK from re-colonizing Africa, since the world would have degenerated into a Hobbesian state- of- nature?
What are the available strategic options for Africa in all this?
One, African leaders need to stop being viewers or common commentators in the emerging new world order. Africa Union needs to set up a high-level THINK-TANK to plot different scenarios of a unipolar, bio-polar, tri-polar and multi-polar world order and come up with strategies to leverage the random opportunities that will be thrown up.
Two, emphasis should be on massive modernisation of agricultural businesses to meet international standards. Food, not cash will become the King very soon. There will be more cash, but less food!
Three, and more importantly, the pledge $170 billion Global Gateway grant for Africa launched on 9th of February 2022 by the EU to counter China’s One Belt, One Road Initiatives in Africa should be used to build a new Africa-Europe Gas/Oil Corridor (AEGC) to enable Africa to partake in the over $200 billion yearly gas and oil businesses that are currently on the table as a result of EU/US ‘’Rusexit’’.