Geopolitics is founded on two assumptions. The first is that a community’s location defines the community. Second, the leader’s decisions are shaped by that reality. On the most basic level, political leaders don’t count because the decision-making exists within the limits of the place you live in, and then some of us may carve their way out of their matrix, but we’re the outliers.
This comes to my mind just before the US election, and you may like one candidate or the other, but at the end there are bigger forces at play. The president is just the front man, giving a hint of what is coming at you soon like a freight train, and nothing can stop it. And what is coming is nothing short of re-arranging the way the world works. Trump understands it; Biden gets in the way of it, trying to delay the inevitable.
He is the obstacle in the way the world evolves and seems to have little clue about what is going on around him. He follows a trial of men with similar limitations – George W junior and Obama. Obama didn’t even attend security briefings during his second term. George W said that “lots of our imports come from other countries”. Shows you the level of engagement.
See, I don’t believe in globalization, in any way you can imagine it, business or ideology or faith. When the Polish pope John Paul II was trying to start the dialog with the leaders of other faiths, I thought that was wrong, terribly wrong. It was seen outside of Christian faith as a weakness, a sign of a doubt in what you believe. You either know what you believe in or you do not. If the Pope has doubts, we’re all in trouble.
There are serious issues, of course, like the covid scandal in the months leading to the election. Some people are making advances out of it for political gains, some just make it big in the bank (these are the honest ones). There doesn’t seem to be much more to it than this.
The common man gets trashed. The covid charade is sparking massive protests in major cities, which the media chose to not cover.
To be honest – what they could report? They have no depth in their thinking about the world.
Let’s talk business for a change.
Technologies that define an era usually come from a major geopolitical power. Roman engineering, for example, helped shape the Mediterranean world. British technology created and sustained the industrial revolution. These empires could absorb the cost of innovation because they had the money to do so and because they knew it would only reinforce their power. And because technologies are meant to reinforce power, even the most benign were invented for military purposes.
A few examples here. The first and most obvious is that the iPhone, an icon of innovation, is actually a composite of older military developed technologies; only SIRI was invented this century. To its credit, Apple updated those technologies, fused them into a single platform, and turned that platform into a brilliantly packaged and marketed product. Still, what is called “high tech” is frequently an older innovation updated for modern use. It’s evolutionary, but it isn’t revolutionary.
The military is the primary source of innovation in our societies, never forget that, and, by the way, China hasn’t delivered none of this.
Plus, maturity is different from obsolescence. The microprocessor cannot be considered cutting edge—it was put to practical use before 1970. It has become a foundation of society even though it is no longer being radically innovated. The same could be said of the automobile and the internal combustion engine. It was incredibly useful, but after the1970s it became all marketing, not much more.
I still like the Dodge Charger Hellcat, don’t get me wrong. I take an American muscle car over a German or Italian product any time of the day.
Put my foot down on the 700 horsepower engine and I forget that nothing gonna stop them as the day follows the night, right becomes wrong and the left becomes the right.
No matter, that’s my freedom.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler