It must be the first time in history that so much of the world has been ruled for so long by such very old men who by now must have completely lost touch with the needs, desires, and ambitions of their peoples.
For Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the US president, it was merely weeks into his presidency when some joked whether those court cases on the election were still going on.
Now precisely a year later, stocks have crashed. Disney is down 7%. RKLB too. Lilium is down 10%, as is bitcoin. PLTR is down 7.5%, Nasdaq as a whole is down another 2.72%.
That’s in one day, in a monotonous repetition of red as there have been many such days in the past two weeks where the above has repeated almost everyday.
The American people think Biden is doing a terrible job on the economy and he must wonder what is he meant to do.
Appoint a treasury secretary that does anything for starters, rather than the oldest treasury secretary that is never even heard of.
Try modernization, digitization, the adaptation of rules written for a paper age, to the digital age. Talk of leveling up as Boris Johnson does who, though he might have copied it from this space, still gives some sort of vision for Britain.
What is Biden’s vision for America? Why is he even there, what does he want? Just continuation when voters rebelled against it, or does he have, 40 years after ruling in one way or another, something new to offer?
Putin, The Small
A 23 year old fresh from finishing university in Russia, has never known even in very blurry childhood memories another ruler but Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
A 30 year old with that power of mature youth and vision, as well as with commanding power where it concerns the enactment of day to day activity, likewise has never lived in any other world but that ruled by Putin.
Even in the Soviet Union, even in absolute kingship, the style of management at the top changed more often.
Not in Russia where a 50% drop in their GDP, from $2.3 trillion in 2013 to $1.2 trillion in 2016, and now barely better at $1.5 trillion, has led to no change at the top.
This anting of a people, in a rape of sorts, is a most curious phenomena that speaks to the inherent evil of the mechanism of the government itself when it is abusivly captured.
If Medvedev had known how his people would be impoverished, and the people knew too, would this frogging have been prevented for a different path where Russia remains European?
We may learn next year as Putin faces the choice of officially labelling himself a dictator by breaching the constitution to crown himself for a 5th term as President and 7th term as defacto ruler.
It may be in this context the mobilization of the Russian navy, which in a few days will give us some tense pictures of passing through Istanbul, can be seen as the vain plot-gineering of a power hungry wannabe dictator that puts himself above country, and puts his thirst to forever rule, above peace itself.
It was of course while Biden was Vice President that this same Putin took Crimea. The Russian GDP back then had reached all time high. The Olympics boosted morale. The west was distracted in the quagmire of Iraq and Syria.
Now all that seems a world away. God Save the Queen plays in Ukraine as the British defence minister heads to Moscow. A US carrier is on its way to the Mediterranean. The Spanish Armada is sending a ship. Canadians are sending money and a lot else. France wants to send troops to Romania. Germany is sending hospitals.
Erdogan will be twiddling his mustache with a very stern heavy sight while them Russian warships pass. The weight of history on his hands.
Europe has never been more united on a cause in living memory to reinstate the principle enshrined by our forefathers that there will be no illegitimate redrawing of borders in this Europe.
That the matter is even considered, for the first time since Hitler, speaks of an abject failure of the ‘never again,’ and of the evil inherent within dictatorship where peace is war.
It also speaks of a duty for the millennial generation both in Europe and Russia to achieve what may seem impossible, as it was in Germany and France. An alliance, that maybe should start with the common ownership and control of steel, to effectively make war between the two impossible, dictator or not.
For now, in the absence of such mechanism, amid frantic diplomacy and the movement of troops, one may well delude themselves into thinking that this is perhaps Putin preparing to leave by setting up a framework that can be built upon by whoever follows, maybe Medvedev again, to work towards unbreachable peace in the continent to set the way for economic re-integration and perhaps even alliance.
The choice so stark, the question is whether the inevitable outcome will be produced by diplomacy on the ground or diplomacy at the table, with it very much the case that except for Putin, there is not one person in Russia who would not want greater integration with Europe.
Which is why there is not one person under 30 in Russia who would salut Putin for grandpa is very much hated among the millennials, who of course now hold pretty much ultimate power in practical terms and who of course are inheriting both the present and the future.
The matter in addition may be so much worse for Putin as it might be affecting stocks. The US economy shouldn’t be affected much you’d think, but speculators will speculate based on what others might be speculating, with the recent sell-off being across all things, including bonds and commodities.
Such flight to fiat has not been seen since 2018, so it might be more related to Fed, but it might be nonetheless Putin that takes the blame if there’s an intrusion, which would give an economic angle to a lot of the anger.
It is time thus grandpa passes the batoon because we’re sick of his generation stuck in the past and we’re even more livid by his choice to crash his economy for no gain whatever, except his own ego, which will be punished by history with his name of course none other than Putin the small, small minded, backwards, unsophisticated, a thug and a thief, while leaving open the other interpretation that it’s just because he is short.
Xi, The Fluke?
It is difficult to imagine Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, giving any support to Putin in the event of any incursion in Ukraine presumably because he knows very well that it would echo some of the greatest mistakes in history and it would be met with a firm, principled, and harsh opinion.
Also because he is a bit busy with crashing his own economy. Shanghai stocks had some more red on Friday. The Chinese central bank moved to cut the base rate, but by such a small amount that it is not having any effect at all.
At the same time Chinese goods are now the most expensive since 2018 with CNY continuing to strengthen to 6.33 per dollar, from 7.2 in May 2020.
This should make imports cheaper, but China is an export economy, with exports some 30% of their GDP.
Their more expensive goods thus should reduce demand while making other producers more competitive, adding to a slowdown in property and potentially a liquidity crunch as Chinese consumers tighten their belt.
This all may echo to some Japan’s experience, all furnished with the yen then strengthening while their economy was crashing.
Japan has since made many reforms and their lost decade is not so lost anymore, but considering the very restrained actions of PBOC, in China we may have more a denial of what is happening.
It’s a natural response after euphoria which in China must have peaked. Things can only get better, goes the denial phase, but with their private sector debt levels far bigger than in US, things do sometime get worse.
In such a situation you’d expect a proactive response, rather than letting things rumble on until it comes crumbling, but it is perhaps more natural to expect instead a refusal to acknowledge there is a problem at all.
Yet China may be heading for a recession with a slowdown in growth progressing since 2019, and it is probable they have no clue what to do about it.
Economic reforms may be necessary if they are to progress any further. To continue growing there has to be more liberalization, not less, because the market economy that has produced such economic miracle for the past four decades of growth, can only continue with a word that Xi maybe hates, more freedom.
They think we’re wrong and they’ve said as much. Indeed during the peak of the euphoria in 2020, they even had fanciful thoughts their system – which at best can be described as a half transition to liberalism – is superior.
As it becomes evident that the lockdowns achieved nothing but crash the economy, and as UK now comes out with removing all restrictions while China keeps locking down and closing air travel, in great part because UK’s science has been far more innovative, it may not be too early to say that in the end our system managed better.
That should be evident to China you’d think because they’ve copied it, a lot, just half way. It is difficult thus on an intellectual basis to see how they can genuinely suggest the market economy is actually inferior to a managed economy.
The only way they can do so is by making the usual mistake of romanticism whereby culture is imbued on the matter with an overt choice to sacrifice the economy for more emotional and arguably irrational aspects, such as picking collectivism above individualism even though much of history shows collectivism is more limiting than individualism.
It’s a choice China is faced with. Do they halt here and potentially gradually decline as stagnation kicks in due to a failure to reform, or do they continue with market liberalization to transition to a knowledge economy.
Much of the growth in America for example has been due to what critics might call regulatory arbitrage, while we would call practical liberalization in tech.
A lot of that in this space, but also the wider tech scene, with that ‘freedom frontier’ expanding in US and Europe over the past decade.
Without such moving of the boundaries, growth may be a lot more difficult. While Xi thus and the CCP personally take credit for the economic miracle, one does hope that they do actually know it was because of the introduction of the market economy and liberalization reforms. And so one hopes they also know what halting them means.
Whether they do or not, will become more clear in October when they elect or re-elect a leader with it to be seen what the collective decides in regards to the path forward.
A re-election of Xi would break away with their own tradition and law of two terms, which thus officially will give him the title of dictator.
That risks making the miracle short lived as Xi has also broken away with another tradition of cooperating with the west.
Although some in China may think elections do not matter thus, presumably some would think that a different face would give a better chance of renewal.
Because China choosing an alliance with Russia which has seen a GDP fall of 50%, instead of with the west which has seen a doubling in GDP, appears on its face to be a typical mistake of an unaccountable system.
It is that same Russia which gave China communism and starvation. It is not clear they have much more to offer nowadays. So such choice would only objectively be a product of irrationalism.
Of which unfortunately there is still plenty of, but unlike Putin or Russia, China still has the opportunity of putting a lot of past things down to a fluke, including the pandemic itself.
That said, in Russia too there will be elections next year and there too another Putin term would officially give him the label of dictator as it would be unconstitutional.
The Dance of Muses
We may thus be in for a fairly unique opportunity of bringing back the 90s in as far as no state level enemies or tense rhetorics towards another nation with the potential for a re-instatement of cooperation and good relations with both Russia and China.
That’s if Putin and Xi leave, which they may, as the body corpurus in both Russia and China perhaps considers the step of official dictatorship too far, and demands a change.
In the west, there will be pressure to give the new guy, or maybe even the woman although that’s unlikely, every chance to re-instate trade relations without tensions.
It would be the first time in more than two decades that such opportunity would arise in Russia, and it would also be the first time in a decade it would arise in China.
Where Russia is concerned, the Putin they have now was forged in the long gone Bush and maybe even Tony Blair. Both long kicked out, yet Putin still operates as if they still rule.
Where China is concerned, much of the tensions arose during Trump which has also been kicked out, yet Xi still operates as if Trump still rules.
It is this ability to change to circumstances that gives the west its resilience and long prosperity, and it is the inability to do so for Russia so far that gives it poverty.
For China, they have so far abided by the two terms limits, and so it remains to be seen whether they can change. One long lesson however has been that the inability to change in either Russia or China has no effect on the prosperity of Europe, unless of course things get completely out of hand.
So it’s more a matter for them and their people, but there is also a generational change that is shown clearly in the old age of these rulers.
To millennials, it is the economy and prosperity first. While some in China may try to excuse potential regression as the west being racist, the fact of the matter is this generation sees no race, nor even gender.
This generation has worked very hard to reduce tensions, and we even ended the wars in the Middle East. We were perfectly happy to work with Russians and plenty have Chinese friends, as long as we were allowed to work with them.
The fact of the matter is the cold war and the communist generation in both China and Russia would rather interfere in the prosperity and peace of this generation, than get over their prejudices and let a golden age begin.
As such, all three must go. Biden soon enough if we do not get democracy stolen in US with a re-run of Trump v Biden, and instead get Desantis or someone else from this generation.
Xi should go because right or wrong, a pandemic was allowed to spread globally in his time, and because of the regression a descend to official dictatorship by being crowned a third term would bring.
Putin should also go because after more than two decades with the same monotone thinking, everyone is pretty much sick of him, most of all his Russian population.
Time for change. Time for an end once and for all to any of the geopolitical tensions so that we can enjoy peace and prosperity and move on to space colonization rather than wasting resources on vanity dictatorial devil games of no gain.