For the past decade, nation-states have been inexorably moving towards political and economic reset. Globalization of the world economy has forced, by assimilation, the blending of cultures, ideologies, and political theory. This transition spawned by the digital information age is natural in the relationships of societies. Normally, such geopolitical transformation encompasses approximately forty years to complete.
For instance, arguably, the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the late 19th century, did not reach its ultimate conclusion of establishing a sustaining new world order until after the close of World War II. The process along the way was messy, including a Great Depression and a “war to end all wars” (World War I). Decisions were made by government leaders that deepened and prolonged the misery of each crisis.
What is different today is that the COVID-19 pandemic has collapsed the time for the rational decision-making process from the remaining thirty years to two years. Not only is there little leniency for reflective thought, there is little leniency for margin of error. What this means is that critical decisions made in such a timeframe may not be cured through a restructuring process. The result of the options chosen could be final if not fatal.
Supply chain disruptions, workforce gaps, and relocation of populations are immediate problems posed by the premise. What is less obvious are major decisions pending, under pressure from behind the scenes, that could change the world as we know it today. These deliberations involve international governments, corporations, financial institutions, and social movements.
The conclusion of key decisions made in the next few months will unleash forces that will either lead the world to prosperity and liberty or to chaos, systemic confusion, and totalitarianism.
China has been sending threatening signals of an impending assault on Taiwan. Reunification with the former island of Formosa has been an imperative of the People’s Republic of China since the days of Deng Xiaoping in 1991. For thirty years, the declared policy has been peaceful reunification. Hardline Chinese military generals in the 1990s argued for invasion. Elder Deng adamantly refused this advice. He fervently believed that “Chinese capitalism” would ultimately incorporate Taiwan by economic expediency. Why then would China attack now? A majority of national Asian analysts believe that saber rattling is simply posturing. The only reason that President Xi would decide to invade is to increase his stature in the world. These analysts are wrong on two counts. One, such action would be condemned universally. Two, Xi is under pressure from the leaders of the politburo. A decision could be made for the purpose of saving his leadership position inside the communist party.
Xi was threatened once before by hardliners that, if he did not take decisive action to shut down the Hong Kong protestors, he would risk being removed from the leadership of the communist party. He chose to succumb to the hardliners’ demands. Hong Kong protestors were dealt with harshly.
China today is in a very precarious position. The country’s real estate bubble has reached the point of unsustainability. Government debt threatens economic growth. The only way China can control future real estate prices is to fully control certain elements of internal financial institutions. Making this decision would roil equity markets worldwide. Such action could take into consideration invading Taiwan, either as a coverup for their real problems, or a realization that, in a collapsing economy, it is now or never.
The solution for China is to peacefully merge their financial markets and banking system with Taiwan over time.
Some may forget that a coup was attempted on Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, less than half a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The attempt was poorly organized and lasted less than a week. However, hardliners in the communist party had demanded a nuclear attack on the United States. The fact that millions of people would die on both sides was recognized. They believed that the USSR would emerge dominant. The loss of life was acceptable.
Boris Yeltsin played a key role in denouncing the coup. Gorbachev prevailed. He refused the advice of the hardliners. The Soviet Union imploded without major ruin or loss of life in the world. There were two days, however, during that period of time when Gorbachev was out of communication with the government of Moscow.
There is no known Boris Yeltsin to act as such a buffer in China today.
The United States Congress continues to debate an unprecedented social spending package. Members carry on with rhetoric absent of any reasonable calculation on the ultimate consequences of the government programs in the package. Besides the mammoth deficit spending, which will without question, impact the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, no counsel is accepted on the likely changes affecting the habitual nature of citizens. Whether it was President Roosevelt’s New Deal or President Johnson’s Great Society/War on Poverty, programs intended to get people back on their feet or raise them to the status of middle class, established a remnant totally dependent on government support. This required extending perpetual government spending on programs that were intended to be temporary. The lessons learned are that government programs can at times be like a narcotic to which one becomes addicted and is unable to rehabilitate oneself.
This is the question in reference to the $3 trillion social spending package about which Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has indicated that he is concerned. Not getting this right by primarily weakening the dollar through inflation can have a disruptive effect on world financial markets.
The solution for the United States is to phase in programs over a period of time, tested for desired results, with adequate remedy for adjustment.
In addition to spending, Congress, with the support of the White House, is considering changing the rules for filibuster. The primary concern is for reform of voting rights. For the first 245 years of our nation’s history, the states have executed authority over the conduction of elections. Progressives demand five revisions for federal election protocol. They are: no requirement for U.S citizenship to vote; no registration (i.e. same day voting); no signature verification; universal mailing of ballots; and ballot harvesting (collecting and processing ballots outside the oversight of election officials). One Congressman went so far last week as to state that he believed requiring a government-issued ID to vote was racial discrimination.
It is not only important, but critical that every citizen of the United States have equal opportunity to vote. Yet, every voter should at least be a U.S. citizen. Along with the right to vote is the responsibility and accountability to cast an informed vote. The integrity of the system necessitates that every person cast their own ballot. Incumbent for the protection of the individual is a person’s right to cast a secret ballot. An ID to ensure one vote for one person has proven to be the paramount security. This ID need not be onerous. A driver’s license, a Social Security card, or a student identification card could perhaps be a substitute. Fair access to voting can be achieved if everyone agrees to reasonable measures of security and foundational voter citizenship accountability.
Passing H.R.1 (federal voting rights act) as written will drive the states further apart from the federal government threatening the bonds of the Republic.
The filibuster (requiring 60 votes to continue debate) was designed to push the pause button in times of emotional and compressed conflict of ideas.
The solution is to design an easily accessible, non-invasive of privacy, voter ID which can be used to vote electronically. Voting machines could be distributed and placed in many convenient public places, available 24 hours a day. It would then be possible to eliminate ballots altogether.
China may make the wrong decision. If so, we must unite as Americans to support the rest of the world in the defense of democracy and self-rule. The United States must be prudent in any decisions on spending or restructuring democracy. Without stability in America as a deterrent to totalitarianism, China will, in fact, make the wrong decision.
In this season of decisions, citizen vigilance to hold governments accountable for the actions they take is now beyond critical. Our very lives and our children’s future depend on our commitment to this vigilance. Passiveness in the hope that any policy can be reversed or amended in the future is ignoring the lessons of history. In this compressed timeframe of key decision-making, only by relying upon proven eternal principles of self-determination for the protection of equal pursuit of happiness through self-government, can democracy survive.
Believing in a future unguided by the disciplines of the lessons learned in history will relegate us to revisiting those same lessons as history repeats itself.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?