Geopolitics affects bitcoin. It’s outside the banking system, it’s outside state control in fundamental parameters. It’s a fixed supply of global digital gold.
So when things happen, bitcoin is often the first to know. That’s not always easily visible on price, due to OTC markets and the complex global price setting mechanism, there may be a lag.
But geopolitical events tend to show themselves on the chart, and we are currently witnessing one of the biggest such geopolitical dance certainly in living memory, but perhaps even in history.
Meeting his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this Wednesday “our opposition towards hegemony has no limits.”
The two are plotting towards the overthrowing of the global international rule of law, to replace it with what they call a democracy between states, rather than within their own authoritarian state, where they are not constrained to themselves act with impunity in imposing dictatorship or in satelliting their neighbors or allies.
These two very different states, although Moscow was occupied by Mongolia for two centuries, are united in the thought that there should not be an international rule of law, but a rule of China or a rule of Russia.
That the Europeans should not teach them about the enlightened and accountable civil service, or good governance, but instead that Europe should be taught of the superior authoritarian way of Chinese governance where the state has unlimited power.
Unsatisfied with keeping these thoughts to themself, Russia in particular has engaged in subversion and forceful propaganda across Eastern Europe, and even some of Western Europe, with it now fighting a direct but proxy war in Ukraine against the entire system of a rule of law based western democracy and liberalism.
After plotting and plotting for two decades when Putin was appeased because no one thought the Russian elite would find appealing a return to an authoritarian style governance which had just collapsed, the mask is now off, and with it, a geopolitical dance is now on.
The British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, whom the Russians call the iron lady, is in India today at the same time as Lavrov.
We lost China, perhaps due to Putin wouldn’t, Putin wouldn’t… in this case fool China to see their biggest trading partner as some ‘other,’ to see the very international order that made them rise as inferior to the one that made them starve.
It’s unlikely India would easily be lost. They’re a democracy, they generally speak good English, and you certainly don’t want some underground narrative about others uniting against the European race.
That would be a foolish prism from which to look things, unless they go further in the Hitler doctrine after copying quite a bit of his book, but is the world dividing, and what do we say to it if it is?
Back to the Past?
On the first question, the answer currently seems to be that it is up to China. Russia on its own is irrelevant. Russia with China, engaging in an attempt to impose dictatorship across the globe, including in European states, may well be seen more as Russia being China’s proxy.
China is not at the mask off stage of Russia. They are more at the stage of does Putin return after serving two terms. Does Xi Jinping, China’s president, return this October for a third term in contravention of their own constitution as it was prior to he taking power?
If he does not, then there’s an opportunity for a new start. US has a new president, Germany has a new Chancellor, a new face of China can allow for a lot to be sent to the book shelfs because a lot of it would not have been under the watch of whoever is the new face.
Until then, as far as we see it, China is more in limbo. Their words mean nothing, their actions of course are relevant, but metaphorically there is not yet a China, there will be one in October.
If Xi returns as plenty expect in a coronation of sorts, then what is anyone to think but a repetition of the trajectory where in a decade we all find ourselves in the same position, but with China rather than Russia.
Because dictatorship – as it would be semi-officially due to breaching their own two terms – goes only in one direction. It can not respond to the wind, it foolishly tries to fight the wind instead.
And though obviously one would hope China would not be as foolish, then what choice would there be but to prepare for a repetition since much else is similar.
And thus it is up to China’s ruling class to decide where do they want to be in a decade. In a trajectory towards cooperation, with a treaty based international and western rule of law where foreign businesses, foreign investments, and foreign citizens are concerned, or in a trajectory where China is an island under the ‘intellectual’ leadership of the two centuries behind Russia where wholistic philosophical thinking in matters of business and much else is concerned.
Back to the past in other words, and if this is what the leaders are moving towards, what do we as the self imagined wider ruling class say to it?
We can always revolt. Not directly as that would be more for the peasants, metaphorically speaking, but we can first of all speak out against it and do a lot more if we were inclined, including outright subversion as arguably happened with Manning, Snowden, etc.
We can demand a move towards the 90s. No enemies of the state, no domestic propaganda, no moves by politicians that obsesses the public with their every move, no cult building as with Putin. Basically, politics back to the background.
And we would like that very much. We will in fact glorify the 90s in a truth doesn’t matter way to keep alive the idea and pass it on to generation to come, the idea that we can have general global peace, we can have an atmosphere where the state is in the background, not constantly on our face.
An idea some may well say the state has been working against to keep control of the populace. First with endless terrists, then with an extremely exaggerated pandemic, and now maybe with a faux cold war.
Fake, easy for us to say. The Libyan and Syrian government had been sponsoring terrists for years. Terrists that foolishly thought to spectacularly strike the soil of the United States itself. Things before our time, but now that it is over, it was right to try and end it, but it is an open question whether it was right to go in Iraq, considering such attacks had been carried out in European and US soil for years.
A Syria that has now been raised, in some part thanks to Putin, who is very far from his home, and is playing on the yard of a European great power.
Libya was spared. A quick intervention by France and Britain ensured the civil war there did not devolve into a decade long tragedy as in Syria.
There should have been such quick intervention in Syria too, but the whole thing was a mess as war tends to be, and we wanted it all to end as we managed to achieve.
Is it a coincidence that a pandemic followed immediately, and as soon as that largely ended, a hot war follows to raise the question of a new potential cold war.
Or it is just cause and effect. Rather than planning by government to keep control, others just did not allow us to have nice things.
Whichever, and just because we want to, we’ll see a potential new cold war as theatre, a play, a TV thing, though with some reality to it, but unlike with terrists or with an exaggerated pandemic, here there’s a checkmate.
There’s a checkmate because matters are potentially existential to our nation states. So we can speak out against it, of course, but would it not be the equivalent of unilateral disarmament?
If those just below the ruling class spoke out against it in Russia and China too, that might be different, but what would we in the west speak out against exactly?
We gave Russia everything, even membership at G8, we increased its GDP ten fold, we poured tons of money in their economy, we even gave China a lot of our industrial and manufacturing base, including our very asics.
Now they turn and Russia says NATO is an enemy. Well, we are NATO. What on earth did we do? We made the mistake of making them rich, of extending the hand of friendship, of integrating them into the global economy, or of being a democracy? What was the mistake?
We can not speak out against it, reasonably anyway, because where exactly are we wrong? In having free and fair elections? In being enlightened Europeans with a functioning rule of law and checks and balances to maintain maximum reasonable freedom? What exactly did we do that Russia now calls us enemies? We were too successful in our ways that even their neighbors and many of the Russian people want to join? That is our sin?
Or are we too demanding of China in requiring that our businesses and our businessmen do not get the Jack Ma treatment, with that guaranteed under a treaty.
One can’t ignore however the whispers before all this of how nice the cold war was. It was scary, yes, but predictable unlike those terrists.
So we’ll consider it as faux from a very high birds eyes view, something that serves all of them fine in keeping their population under order. But even under that perspective, the line between faux and real is so thin, that the checkmate is so complete, to the point it leaves little rational option where it concerns our well being and the preservation of our way of life which of course we consider superior because it is the framework that invented bitcoin, or SpaceX, or flying cars in Lilium, the very bitcoin that is banned under Xi’s China.
We were bribed during the pandemic, not directly of course but trillions were printed and a lot of it went to our bitcoin. So whatever, we waited out the test.
That’s nothing compared to how we’ll probably be ‘bribed’ if there’s a new cold war however, and of course we’re using that word metaphorically.
Because if the pandemic was just financial, in a new cold war it would be both status and money, as well as raw power.
In regards to the latter, the leaders in all three continents, regardless of system, will become almost totally dependent on the wider ruling class: the artists, the civil servants, the thinkers, the businessmen, the techies, the inventors, basically the circa 20% of professional or leadership society.
They will do so because there is no other way to win this than through excellence. This class therefore will gain grander gravitas. Someone like Gary Gensler, for example, can ignore what we’re saying in a time of peace because it’s about ‘better’ and just how much effort should go into it. In a time of state level competition, nothing can be ignored because better is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
You’d expect thus the civil service to be a lot more accountable, and actors to be a lot more forceful when they are right in their demands.
There might also be some of the opposite. Tucker Carlson for example does of course have the right to an opinion, but others also have the right and in a cold war the incentive to fiercely judge or sideline potentially existentially damaging opinions.
Where money is concerned, a lot of it will probably find ‘our’ way. Either indirectly through the military, which is to a great extent science and tech, or directly through far more spending in research and development especially where raw tech and raw science is concerned.
So we’ll probably be bribed, somewhat fairly literally, though in a good way because if conceptually the matter wasn’t acceptable, then the ‘bribe’ wouldn’t matter.
And of course we’d rather have the 90s now, and we hope very much that China does do just that this October. But as it happens not the whole world is a democracy. Some countries have Czars who alone decide. And when someone is punching you, a lot of aspiration has to give way to just plain cause and effect.
It would be a lot better if we united our resources to continue that 19th century game in space where it belongs because in this earth, we have now discovered all of it, we have conquered what was conquerable over two millennials.
The whole globe is now inhabited, no empty freedom land in Australia or USA, but there are many vast entire globes in near space which we hope to explore in our young lives.
Alas it may well be the Earth’s humanity will never unite until other planets give it competition. So the option of glorifying the 90s to bring it one day, whatever the state of the present world may be, while working in the present to win through excellence to not just keep our enlightened framework, but fortify it while bringing it to the entire universe.
So the old can play their game, this should be that of the young. Fully back our leaders with complete confidence in this matter for the stakes can be total, while demanding sufficient gravitas to even metaphorically order because this sort of game has only cultural victory.
To others, on the fence or unaligned, we say only one thing. Europe and America have something no one else has, they have each other. That will probably never change because America is European, and it can not be replicated because no one discovered another continent but Europe.
That being the case, there is no real game in this earth, just in space, but where the games here are concerned, countries like Dubai need to consider just what is a mistake.
Because Europe and America combined are 4x the economic size of China, and 40x that of Russia.
Together, they are the only superpower in the world, and even China, without accounting for its neighbors like Japan, Australia and South Korea, is a regional power comparatively speaking.
One can wonder therefore what exactly they are thinking in claiming they will now write the rules of the global game, when comparatively they’re very far behind a combined America and Europe in global economic ranking.
Making it the follies of dictatorship, and the strength of democracies that when something is right, it’s as if some other spirit gives them the power to in the case of Ukraine stand tall against their far bigger neighbour.
The spirit of righteousness, understood so and conceptually accepted, the right to be free and the right of our freedom to prevail.