Whilst the world is dealing with the pandemic the clouds of war are gathering. The world is at an inflection point and all the challenges have come to a head all at once. The pandemic, Currency crises, Geopolitical headwinds, Climatic change, Supply chains dislocations and budget deficits and inflation due to the covid pandemic. Its the beginning of an epoch after the end of another, William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book “The Fourth Turning”, put it across quite pointedly and i quote “History is seasonal, and winter is coming. Like nature’s winter, the saecular winter can come early or late. A Fourth Turning can be long and difficult, brief but severe, or (perhaps) mild. But, like winter, it cannot be averted. It must come in its turn” Here they are highlighting the seasons in America’s history and I am amazed at how they managed to predict some of the events that we have recently witnessed. Again quoting one of the passages, “The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection, or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort, in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”
History needs that spark to ignite the fire. That spark appears to be the rise of China and its challenge of the US hegemony. A lot of us don’t see the rapid gathering of the clouds of this impending war. It started with Obama’s pivot to Asia. The doctrine of the US is to control China’s rise. They are afraid of a new world order to be ushered in by China if it manages to eclipse the US as the ultimate superpower. Trump took it a notch up by starting a trade war with China and thus append the world supply chains which had assumed China as the defacto factory of the world. The coming of the pandemic opened the eyes of most western governments to their vulnerabilities and they have started a push back on China. Biden has inherited the throne in the US and has continued with the policies of his predecessor. The US and NATO have pulled their troops from Afghanistan. This has been a costly war in both dollar and human measure. I assume that the west has thus taken a strategic move that in order to contain China they needed to move out and concentrate on containing China. They want to enforce a so-called rules based order which they feel Beijing is not abiding with.
Thus as of the past two weeks there has been a furore of activity. US, Great Britain, Germany, France, Indonesia, India, Australia and others have sent their warships into the pacific region, specifically the East China Sea. This is one of the major shipways in the world. Whoever controls this artery of world trade will determine the rules by which the affairs of the world are run. This region is critical for China as it imports most of its energy needs through this waterway. It is also its weakness because if the enemy manages to stop China’s trade through this waterway then China is highly vulnerable.
In the meantime China and Russia are conducting their own joint war games of the coast of Taiwan. This is a game of chess that if not played well will leave the world on the brink. There is speculation that the US wants to announce the recognition of Taiwan as a independent nation and thus has, with other nations want to prepare against a hostile response from China. China has stated categorically that this would be a redline and will not comprise on such a move.
Those who are pushing the agenda of recognising Taiwan as an independent state has forgotten the history of the humiliation of the Chinese by the then world emperor, Britain. They forced China to open up its borders for them to ruin the Chinese population through opium addiction. China complained and negotiated for this to end resulting in them giving up Hong Kong on a lease for 100years. Now that the dragon has awoken it has now started to claim its own. This is frightening the West which sees their hegemony being appended. They thus are looking to restrain this rising power and we can only watch and observe whether they will manage to term the dragon.
The whole world will be made to choose sides. After September 11, that mantra was “You’re either with us or against us” and i can foresee this same narrative being pushed if there is a conflict between the two. But the best decision will be to stay neutral because if you support the losing side your outcomes after the war will be unforgiving. I hope Africa stays out of this one. Africa was cannon fodder in the WWWI and II and was further humiliated by having the white veterans of this war coming to Africa and dispossessing our people of their land. The Black veterans of these wars have never been recognised nor honoured. Maybe it would be a time for Africa to take leadership of the world after the war, just like the US watched as the Europeans decimated each other and came into the war just to finalise it and capitalise. The US then assumed the world super status after the ashes of the WWWII.
David Mutanga is a Co-Founder of Favco Ltd. Favco Ltd imports fruits and vegetables from Africa to Europe. David’s holds a BSc in Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences and MSc in Economics. He is a Monetary history reader with interests in Austrian Economics, Cryptocurrencies, Political Economy. Twitter: @dmutanga Email: email@example.com