The Moment Of Truth
The old world order is being blasted into pieces as we talk. Centuries old axioms get questioned as the reality of a finite world slowly sets in. All this against the backdrop of a rapidly deteriorating economic situation and untold human suffering. Will the ruling class be able to change course as the moment of truth arrives?
Let me start this post with a disclaimer. I’m not aligned to any power center, be it on the East or the West. I was born and still living in a country in Central Eastern Europe which used to be and, it seems to me will always be, a buffer zone between Eastern and Western powers. After enjoying five hundred years of independence and relative prosperity, my country was literally torn asunder between the Ottoman Empire (the Turks) and the Habsburgs (the Austrians). Ever since then we were either in the West’s or the East’s sphere of influence, and were overran by these powers more often than any one of us would prefer to.
Knowing the history of the land I call home, I’ve become rather agnostic which power rules over us, and have developed a certain sense of cynicism over their proclaimed greatness. If history has taught me anything, it is that no empire, no country, no border — nothing — is permanent and just because the generation of my parents and I enjoyed a time of relative peace and prosperity, it doesn’t mean that it will stay this way forever. With that said, I do not wish to see war — it is the most brutal and inhumane form of dealing with each other.
Time has also taught me that neither the West nor the East is inherently good or evil, and thus has absolutely no moral ground to criticize the other: both have done incredibly cruel and inhumane things in the past — and continue to do so in the present. The fact that these atrocities are far from being advertised on one’s own side doesn’t make them disappear.
As usual, a healthy dose of skepticism sprinkled with a dash of stoicism helps to keep a sane mind.
History has its own special ways to prove one right or wrong. No one can tell how or when she is about to deal the next dose of reality, but when she finally does, she does so in spectacular ways. It is only those who are most invested in how things used to be who are not able to see it. Too bad that this later group of people usually happen to be still in power long after reality sets in for the rest of us.
As empires age (and make no mistake we still live in an age of empires), they become sclerotic and senile — not unlike their leaders. They fail to grasp the level of change required to stay on course and instead of being killed by outside forces they perform incredible acts of stupidity leading to their eventual demise.
When their leadership class faces a challenge they’re unable to size up properly (let alone live up to) denial kicks in and critical voices get silenced. Proponents of an age on the way to the pages of history books start to pile failure upon errors — based on misconceptions of what reality actually is. They keep following the same bad ideas, while being unable to backtrack and change course. To use a plastic example, when the proverbial finally hits the fan, members of the elite class — and especially those who stand the closest to the spinning blades — keep shoveling shit at an unprecedented rate. The result needs no further explanation.
Avid viewers and consumers of Western media are now tempted to think that I’m talking about the menace from the East. If you are one of those who believes everything which is written by independent news agencies and that it is the truth, and the entire truth, I have to disappoint you. Contrary to what all agencies on the West try to convey about the war, the occupant force is making steady progress and proceeds confidently and methodically westwards. They are not in a hurry. They know that time is on their side. They see the incredible stupidity on the other side and go out of their way to let leaders of the West continue in their folly. (Again, I’m not interested in Russia winning — my country did have her fair share of Russian rule, thank you.)
This post, however, is not about who is winning and why, there are several truly professional blogs discussing the topic. (I encourage you to widen your horizon beyond what is shown to you — if you haven’t done so yet.) It is the utter incompetence of the West what really fascinates me. Their inability to comprehend what is really happening and how they have lost their competitive edge in the modern economy. All leading up to their incomprehensible failure to recognize that their ‘sanctions’ are like spilling fuel on one’s own burning house.
Their folly comes not from some ideological or moral superiority, as the Western elites try to dress it up, but some really bad concepts of what economic and political power actually is. Prominent of these ill-conceived ideas is the thought that the size and power of an economy and a military can be reliably measured in dollars (or whatever currency one fancies), and that monetary measures are a surefire way to bring a country on its knees.
Long time readers of this blog know by now, that this could not be further from the truth. The economy is not driven by money but by energy derived from fossil fuels and by the amount of mineral reserves a country commands. ‘Renewables’ are mere derivatives of these two, serving only to prolong industrialization not to transcend it.
The fact that most western economies could get on by seemingly endless monetary Ponzi schemes, and by a largely asymmetric trade with the global south (aka globalization and neoclassical economics) does not imply that this could go on forever. Quite the contrary.
What pundits all across the board in the West fail to recognize, is that fossil fuels are not only polluting but finite as well, and that their peak production is in the rear view mirror. It makes no sense to ask the Saudis to pump more, because they simply cannot, without damaging their fields. They deny this of course, because to admit that they are now past their peak would be seen as a sign of weakness both from their population fearing that the good days are over, and their opponents eager to overthrow them. Global oil production could be forced upwards a little more, but it could not be sustained for the long run.
Welcome to the age of peak oil, where the world as whole is about to experience what a falling extraction of these fuels mean for it’s future… In a nutshell: not more consumption and a high life for all.
As the West is about to discover this winter, Euros burn relatively poor in furnaces — especially in a digital format — and printing more of them will not replace the now spent fuels and metal ores. No matter how the monetary maesters inflate GDP numbers by including the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, and how Russia seems to be poor in comparison. When neither the resources, nor the production capacity (and the energy to maintain those) is there in the West anymore, the outcome is not that hard to predict. Both economically and militarily.
This is the primary reason behind the slow grind in Ukraine: to lure the West into spending more ammo, equipment and manpower they can spare, knowing for certain that Russian reserves and production capacity will last longer. It is not the occupants who are running out of rockets. It is the West. Remember the primary goal of this ‘special military operation’ is demilitarization: the systemic destruction of all military mobilization capability a country has. Killing and maiming human beings. Sending husbands, fathers and sons into their death. Not a heroic story newspapers love to spin on both sides of the conflict.
Now, that the West (and especially Europe) has used up the best of its share of Earth’s bounty, these once powerful empires (sorry, nations) are now at a mercy of once pillaged lands for more supplies. And when those once colonized countries quietly root for Russia breaking the Western hegemony it is no exaggeration to say that the world order gets blasted into tiny pieces right in front of our eyes.
Having realized that the energy to grow the entire economic superorganism is lacking, the world has decided to let it’s most frivolous features — western states — nullify themselves.
Seen in this light it’s almost entertaining to see how the leadership class continues to pour money and resources into a war it simply cannot win, and how they keep insisting, that a 10 inch wide cut deep into one’s own belly is good for one’s health and hurts the enemy more. I’m sure it is really pains prominent members of the Kremlin to see this level of stupidity. Probably they will laugh until they drop.
Cutting off one’s supplier of a vital resource — oil — in an already tight market, where supplies are chronically short is a case in point. There is not much more oil to be found in the world, and what is remaining is ever harder (i.e. ever more energy intensive to get). The same goes to gas and coal as well. This has nothing to do with Russia, the Suadis or the USA, it is a mere geological reality — no matter if they admit this or not. And when your primary energy source for more drilling (and mining) is oil, it means that an ever smaller amount will be left for the remainder of the economy — including the production, transportation and balancing of ‘renewables’ among many other things.
Failing to see that we are facing a shrinking global energy market — which will spend ever larger amounts of its energy to maintain itself — combined with the false belief that everything can be controlled via monetary wizardry is probably the biggest policy failure of the West. This winter though the chickens are coming home to roost, and those who continue to believe in these myths will keep shoveling shit into the spinning fan — until they get overwhelmed by the change they were so busy denying.
Until next time,