On the eve of the Biden / Putin phone call to avert war in Ukraine, Russia announced an end to fertilizer exports. Last month China quietly ended ammonia exports. There is a worldwide shortage of urea needed to run not only new diesel cars but also trucks and some farm equipment.
Is this a precursor to war or just another example of the damage done to the global economy by Davos and its merry band of vandals? That’s what’s on tap today.
Davos is Making the Central Bank Case for Gold
November Issue Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter
Episode #89 — Stephen Kent and How the Force Can Fix the World
Episode #88 – Dexter White and Why Dumb Ideas Never Die
Episode #87 – Dexter White and the Clown Show (Car?) with Nukes
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I just have one suggestion:
If you guys haven’t done so already, I think you guys would be well served by looking at some of John Mearsheimer’s (University of Chicago) work. He just had a seminal paper published in Foreign Policy. If China’s military and economic plans seem to be disproportionate with just controlling the South China Sea, Mearsheimer posits that you can’t have “regional hegemony” without being a “global peer competitor”, hence the Chinese nuclear build up. Mearsheimer has a big audience in China and is despised by most in DC. I can’t say he is right, but he might help form some of your discussions pro or con.
Most recent lecture:
About US foreign policy:
Food for thought… for what it is worth.
Thanks for this. Mearsheimer is someone I am familiar with but haven’t followed in a long time.
I would be super interested in your integration of your Davos hypotheses with some of Mearsheimer’s observations. It seems like there will be a big wake-up call coming for Davos if Mearsheimer is correct. Because as Dexter pointed out: “it seems to be a big think tank that publishes white papers that everyone follows” and Mearsheimer is not a nouveau-theorist but an old school realist.
Anyway, thanks again for a very interesting discussion !!!
I’ll give these a listen. I really liked his older analysis when he was working with Walt 15 years ago… I just haven’t kept up with him.
Very informative podcast.
I did have one concern? Objection?
Why do you say Trump’s trade policy was stupid (so far so good), but then leave it there? It seems a very incomplete, Trump Derangement Syndrome answer.
Free trade is the ideal, no argument there. Trade with a country that wants free access to your markets, but won’t allow similar access to their markets is not free trade. That is the case with China.
Trump, as your guest pointed out, is an open book. It seems like his entire life has been using coercive acts to open opportunities to benefit his organization. **IF** Trump was locking up China->US trade with the intention of establishing two way free trade… then it wasn’t stupid at all. Its negotiation, which is actually one area Trump is good at (see his entire business career, he is hardly a diplomat).
Perhaps the bigger issue: assuming we open Chinese markets to US products, that means we have to have US products to ship. Not just agriculture stuff, but manufactured products. That part isn’t China’s fault, its our own fault (the USA needs to stop sabotaging our own industries).
The bloated, corrupt US government is the biggest threat to US citizens going forward. Lets face it: a “nice” person isn’t going to have the courage to fire bureaucrats en mass — but it needs to be done. Trump’s personality is… um… not nice? So he was the perfect guy to bury Washington DC with pink slips.
Unfortunately, he tried to be someone he is not. Washington was never going to like him, and they never will. The bureaucracy will always protect itself, even when it means screwing the population as a whole. Trump, or whomever we can get to fire bureaucrats, needs to go into office accepting that pink slips are necessary and the establishment won’t like it.
Good podcast. You are both spot on about reindustrialization in the US. It’s insane that the US threw away its “arsenal of democracy ” and beyond ironic that they gave it (for the most part) to a bloodthirsty totalitarian regime in China.
But this point directly contradicts your suggestion that SPOTUS (Sock Puppet of the US) should roll back all tariffs on Chinese imports. Those imports were designed to do 2 things: punish China for their mercantilist behaviors and help to revive or bolster US industries like steel, vital industries. It’s difficult to see how, absent federal diktat, the US can reindustrialize if we go back to allowing China to bankrupt our critical industries by dumping cheap steel etc… The answer to tensions w China is not to roll back tariffs but to convince them to change their mercantilist policies. And the answer to inflation isnt repealing tariffs on China as the tariffs were shown to create little if any inflation contra dire predictions.
And I would argue that when have tariffs and sanctions EVER worked to ‘punish’ someone and get them to give up their ‘fill-in-the-blank’ evil ways.
The way to beat the Chinese is to look on that front is to look at the policies which put us at a disadvantage, which made the ‘externalities’ of relocating to China so cheap that it made the risks of what we’re experiencing now seem worth it.
Tariffs and sanctions are an admission of failed domestic policy.
What about “tariffs and sanctions”.. or *ANY* accountability … for our own bureaucrats?
No matter how much you hate Trump, we should run better candidates (preferably without dementia). Allowing corrupt FBI agents and FBI directors to fabricate evidence, withhold exculpatory evidence and to commit multiple acts of perjury was not the answer. It was a crime. Just because the criminals were FBI and DoJ employees doesn’t make it right.
No matter how much we try to avoid saying it, the employees of the NIH (at minimum) are accomplices to mass murder. Some worked with Fauci to fund the creation of covid. Others knew it was happening and said nothing. They are mass murderers.
Hundreds of thousands were killed by Fauci funded virus. At least as many committed suicide, missed cancer screenings, and developed drug or alcohol addictions. Tens of thousands of small businesses were destroyed. Compared to Fauci’s crimes, Bin Laden “only” killed 3000. Bin Laden was a light weight compared to the criminals at the NIH.
Obama ordered suspension of gain of function research in 2016, based on warnings from French intelligence. This means thousands of other uncaring federal bureaucrats were fully aware of Fauci’s crimes years before.
The US can beat China in trade *IF* we put our minds to it. But we can’t beat anyone with the federal bureaucracy working against us.
Instead of yet another person whining about Trump, how about proposing sanctions against the crime syndicate that is the federal bureaucracy?
Trump was right, we need to drain the swamp. He failed to do so. It still needs to be done
Before I began reading you I held the same belief as Cheezus. However, your statement/ law about “capital flowing to where it is best treated” was really brilliant. I am a lot more skeptical of them now and see them as a Rube Goldberg apparatus grafted on to an already dysfunctional system.
However, given the difficulty of fixing the system (probably starting with the WTO) I can understand why they went for that Band-Aid.
However, the perniciousness is so obvious when you look at it clearly. Imagine owning a set of inefficient and obsolete factories… which would you go for? Instant tariffs or retooling your entire operation? And then imagine the disparities between your old factories and the competitions’ after 20 years of tariff protection. You would never want to pull the Band-Aid off.
However, I have to agree with Cheezus on the emotionality aspect, as it does “feel” like surrender. (sigh)
It does feel like ‘surrender’ but only if you view these relations as structurally adversarial vs. taking the responsibility of your own behavior creating the reality you are perceiving.
You get what you put out into the world. And if you aren’t willing to show some humility and accept that the responses you receive are because of the choices you’ve made, then you will be fighting everyone for your entire life.
You can negate your threat in one of two ways… weakening them or strengthening yourself.
How do you strengthen yourself here? By improving capital handling internally and projecting it out to the world. Protectionism leads to war and conflict.
I think the reason that Tom can act (or write) so benevolently and take a big picture viewpoint, is because he lives in Florida. Florida has Governor Rick Desantis. Florida is almost back to pre-lock down conditions. The mRNA shot is available if a person wants it, but its not required. People are free to choose. Employers are prohibited from discrimination. Bill Gates’ passports are not required to get on public transportation or to enter a restaurant.
Those of us living under tyrannical governors and/or mayors have to spend hours every day waiting in long security theater lines while wearing masks. We need to bring papers with us like we are living in the Soviet Union.
Its been two very long years, and the criminals at NIH and WHO continue to elude prosecution. Unlike hundreds of thousands of small business owners, the bureaucrats haven’t even lost income.
It is very difficult for us to have patience.
According to my relatives in Florida, their city is inundated with transplants from up north — people escaping the tyranny. FL roads are clogged, FL schools are overflowing, FL stores are crowded. More and more people are moving to Florida every day.
The whole country can’t move to Florida, and if enough miserable hypochodriacs from NYC move there, Florida might find itself living under the same lock down these stupid New Yorkers voted for in their home state.
Then Tom would being losing his cool like the rest of us.
I get zero comfort reading Jerry Seinfeld’s missives about NYC recovering someday, as Seinfeld is writing from his palatial estate out in the Hamptons. If he believed what he was writing, Seinfeld should be standing in line outside a NYC restaurant waving his Gates Passport from behind a mask — while being mugged.
Perhaps Tom could show a little more sympathy to his countrymen still living under tyranny. Or at least understand our anger and frustration.
If he’s smart, he’s also mostly self sufficient and has no need of entering a morbid location as described. Take the current conditions as a wake up call. Self sufficiency or slavery. Time is running out.
Christian Lindner — you called a “hope” in a recent article — just said that reforms in Greece must be a model for Germany.
Are you sure of your judgment, or did you go wrong?
No. Lindner was always a classic German fiscal conservative… that means he’ll be hard on the Club Med debtors. Where he could be a ‘hope’ would be in german domestic finance issues, not going along with Germany ultimately bailing out the entire EU.
That will only happen if the polls turn hard against the new government and he has the leverage then to pull out and call for new elections.
Not a high probability at this point.
Hope, for the record, is the most negative emotion… it is that which you have when you have nothing else.
So, keep that in mind if you would when considering what I write about these things.
Germany is now a vassal state of Gazprom; it doesn’t matter who is nominally “in charge” in Berlin.
Children will bicker over whether Putin is a nice guy or whether Biden looked into Putin’s eyes and saw evil. It doesn’t matter. Merkel sold Germany to Gazprom when she panic shut nuclear power plants to appease the Greens.
From Russia’s viewpoint (not just Putin), Germany needs to be bled of as much wealth as possible. Reparations to Russia means Russia benefits. Lack of resources to bail out the EU means the EU can never threaten Russia, and the EU may even be an albatross around the USA’s neck.
There is no reason for Russia to allow Germany, under whomever, to have the resources to build itself never mind the broader EU. No reason to allow Germany to finance EU expansion into eastern Europe / Russian borders.
That is Merkel’s legacy. The nostalgia will wear off quickly, and Germany will realize the true cost of Merkel’s last term.
Trump did not punish China with tariffs. Chinese goods that fell under tariffs cost American consumers. China lost nothing. Trump would not do anything to make China stop manufacturing his red hats or jeopardize is kids’ dealing with China.
Hard to believe that so many smart people still fall for the Trump bs. He and Biden are the same thing in addition to both being Democrats. Liars.
The former head of Taiwan’s National Security Council (Su Chi) was widely quoted in Taiwanese and Chinese media saying that the PLA would very quickly overwhelm Taiwan’s defenses. The US military would arrive too late, if at all. Japan would most likely not help.
The US might not help — the political support in the US for intervention is almost entirely based in Washington, not the country as a whole. If Taiwan was invaded, its far from obvious Biden could garner widespread support around the USA that this was a US problem — even if one ignores the disaster of Biden’s retreat in Afghanistan. Biden, SecDef Austin and JC Milnes have proven themselves particularly inept at military affairs.
Japan has a lot of trade with China that would be at risk. It has a huge electronics industry that would benefit from Taiwan ceasing to be a competitor. And perhaps most important, Japan does not have the military resources to fight in Taiwan while also defending Japan itself. If Japan attacked Chinese forces in Taiwan, how could they be certain the Chinese wouldn’t attack Japan itself? Japan would have to hold back a lot of forces from Taiwan for Japan’s own defense. Japan is not coming to Taiwan’s defense if the PLA invades.
Biden is in no position to guarantee the US would help Taiwan. Domestic politics in the USA suggest there would be limited support. Under Biden’s so-called leadership it wouldn’t help anyway. JC General Milley would call ahead and warn the Chinese.
Meanwhile, Russia has an interest in making sure Ukraine doesn’t get developed. No roads an invader could use en route to Russia proper. And definitely no NATO bases right on Russia’s doorstep. Russia would rather Ukraine be an artillery test field or bomb range. Russia wouldn’t try to occupy the place, just render it unusable by the neo-cons in Washington and Brussels. The US military is the only part of NATO with any ability to project power (if domestic politics allow it) — but with SecDef Austin and JC Milley running things the US military would have to threaten to give Russian troops a pedicure. The US would be operating at the end of a long logistics train, the Russians have home court advantage.
In short, the US is in for a lot more humiliating foreign policy defeats — at a time and place of opponents choosing. Biden will be lucky if he doesn’t lose his sippy cup. Everyone hates Harris. The Pentagon is filled with wokesters and gay pride parades. The Chinese have been publicly mocking SecState Blinken literally from day one.
Given Biden’s clueless handling of crude oil supplies — closing Keystone II pipeline and then begging OPEC for supply — is it any wonder urea supplies are also a mess?
Tom the Militia Man I dig it! Great conversation fellas
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