The Wrong Turning.
We are on the cusp of acquiescing to a mistaken shift in Geo-politics. We are taking steps even now that our children will one day curse.
Until a couple of years ago, it was possible to point to a world gradually doing the sensible thing. Nations were coming together to confront the global challenges ahead – Climate Change, Health Care, Poverty, and Education. Nothing was perfect, but it was as though everyone knew the need for world wide collaboration and as the world’s super power we would support this and would prosper throughout – it looked like a win/win, a pact with Goldilocks on a global scale.
Today the scene looks very different and it suggests generations of suffering to come. Threatened as a super power for the first time, the US has reverted to the “Little America” policies of the 30’s. This great nation is now pushing a xenophobic and short -termist Geo-political program that favors trade war bullying; bringing manufacturing into its home fortress; exaggerating its comparative achievements and denying global threats in the hope that they will miraculously go away by themselves.
This may not matter for the next year or two. We remain the most self sufficient economy. Our dollar remains the world currency. We are one of the most developed nations and we will prosper in the immediate future. All in all, ours will be the best economy for investors even if in reality we are the best of a weakening bunch. But in the longer term we are conspiring at a self defeating strategy. Nations like China and Germany that depend on exports will suffer. They were drivers of the global expansion of the last twenty years. Members of the European Union, the World Health Authority, the Paris Accord, Iran Agreement – all collaborations that needed strengthening and supporting – are now looking away from working together and towards isolationism , following the lead we have set. South Eastern Europe and the nations of North Africa know now there is no supportive world leader, driven by robust democratic values, who will help them cope with their intractable problems.
The Corona Virus has ironically given scientists the opportunity to show how pan national and pan cultural innovation, research and development can and should work. Theirs has been the imagination to climb on each other’s shoulders to break the medical code, to unravel the scientific knot and to find a vaccine for the disease. But even as they are showing the way to meet the next flock of black swans, our administration has been focused on shutting down debate and international team building just when it had the excuse and the need to embrace the opportunity.
Here’s the thing – we are still the world leader. We will come out ahead in this black swan encounter. But we are also at a Geo-political and leadership cross roads and we are taking the wrong turning. If we do not work together with other nations then we will lose the world’s respect, credibility, affection even and ultimately the right to lead. We will have rejected a heaven sent chance to bind nations together rather than split them apart. And we will not be prepared for the black swans ahead.
Have a good day, James