The Year The Future Disappeared

Richard Fernandez18 Jan, 2024 4 Min Read
Has the New World Order already come and gone?

People naturally reflect on the state of the world whenever an old year gives way to a new. Will 2024 resemble the familiar past or are we hurtling into the unknown? Some men of stature, like Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum (WEF), whose annual meeting of global Bond villains is currently underway in Davos, Switzerland, fear that order is dissolving into chaos. The heretics are destroying his established church of order and he fears that an inordinate desire for freedom might bring the house.

You have this anti-system movement. What we are seeing is a revolution against the system. So fixing the present system is not enough. Now, of course there is an anti-system which is called libertarianism, which means to tear down everything which creates some kind of influence of government into private lives. It's dismantling the system.

All their plans are on hold but maybe it isn't the nasty libertarians who are spoiling the party. Perhaps the mandate to remake the world according to a Great Reset, once regarded as almost a blank check during the Covid pandemic, is no longer in force. One sign is fewer now trust the media. "A Gallup poll released [in late 2023] found that Americans’ trust in mass media to report 'fully, accurately and fairly' is only two points higher than the lowest Gallup has ever recorded."

The World Economic Forum itself acknowledged in 2023 that the ground had shifted under its feet. The world was deglobalizing. "Following nearly a century of globalization, successive global shocks and the movement to confront climate change appear to be turning the tide." The immediate reasons for the shift were the sudden realization of how vulnerable supply chains were due to pandemic lockdowns and war and energy insecurity arising from the obsession with renewable energy.

As an Ernst and Young study put it, "the Covid-19 pandemic was a global disruption across trade, finance, health and education systems, businesses and societies like few others in the past 100 years." The additional impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine has also been global. It has forced countries around the world to source food, raw materials, fossil fuels and other key items from new trading partners after they were cut off from the old ones.

The word "reshoring" came into vogue to describe industry's attempts to cope. Bringing back manufacturing and sourcing to domestic markets was one obvious response to supply chain dangers. The New York Times reports that "alarmed by shipping chaos and geopolitical fractures, exporters from China are setting up factories in Mexico to preserve their sales to the United States." The WEF describes how its plans were upended by turmoil.

The unforeseeable happened. Russia’s war in Ukraine has polarized the world, triggered energy and food crises and fueled an acceleration of global inflation and a rise in the cost of living. It has thrust the issue of energy security to the top of the political agenda at the expense of energy transition, slowing that green recovery and dampening our collective will to 'build back better'.

Who could have predicted this turn of events? Yet the White House itself has signaled an acceptance of the new situation. Reports suggest Biden is negotiating a partition of Ukraine. "The Biden administration and European officials are quietly shifting their focus from supporting Ukraine’s goal of total victory over Russia to improving its position in an eventual negotiation to end the war, according to a Biden administration official and a European diplomat based in Washington. Such a negotiation would likely mean giving up parts of Ukraine to Russia."

But more significantly it signifies the opening of a giant crack in the international order. Just as the first Cold War began with the division of Korea in 1953, a second Cold War appears to be opening with a line across Ukraine.

Biden has done little to lift the Iranian-backed blockade of the critical Bab al-Mandeb strait, through which 9 percent of the world's petrochemicals pass. After much prodding, a reluctant Biden has finally put Iran's Houthi proxy militia back on the terror list in a watered-down fashion. Even shipping companies have declined his half hearted assurances of protection. Stars and Stripes says "shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd AG said it will keep its vessels away from the Red Sea even after the launch of a U.S.-led task force to protect the key trade route from militant attacks. The closure of a key sea route and its apparent acceptance by Joe Biden is convincing proof that the One World of the Davos set is now gone; perhaps for years, perhaps for generations.

In its place is what writers have already dubbed the Second Cold War. Unlike the first time around, the new one may not be neatly divided into two massive camps. "Whereas the US may be expecting Cold War II, shaped primarily by ideological polarization, China seems to be betting on global fragmentation... Beijing expects a multipolar world... President Xi Jinping seems convinced that it can take its place as a great power in a fragmented global order."

But whether fragmented or merely divided, the world of 2024 will not be like the familiar past. The vision that the Davos elite proclaims upon the mountain will be alien in that new landscape. Amidst these fissures the grand plans of the social engineers have no chance of being obeyed. Neither China nor Russia are likely to have much use for Green. Hamas and the Houthis and their millions of Jihadi followers will have still less use for Woke as we enter into what used to be the future, in a year like no one in authority expected it to be.

Richard Fernandez is the author of the Belmont Club. He has been a software developer and co-authored Open Curtains which proposes privacy as an information property right.


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8 comments on “The Year The Future Disappeared”

  1. "...desire for freedom might bring the house."
    Might bring the house down?
    Might collapse the house of cards?

  2. Freedom failed.
    The bottom fell out, Wile E. Coyote looked down, circa 2015, or 2009, or 1996.
    We're currently in free fall, rocks coming up soon enough.

  3. The problem isn't so much that things aren't going according to plan. Things were going according to plan -- even during COVID -- especially during COVID, when their plans got a substantial boost.
    No, the problem was that their plans worked -- and rather than make the world a better place, they plunged the world into chaos -- because their plans sucked. And now they are at a loss as to what they should do next.
    (One can rest assured, however, that rather than stepping back and doing nothing, they are going to come up with another plan ... one that would almost certainly make things worse ... because these Bond villians are convinced that they are brilliant, but don't realize that only a Supreme Being of some sort can have the knowledge necessary to put together a plan beyond "just leave everybody alone and let them figure things out" that could also work.)

  4. What Richard Fernandez has to say in the earliest of these 19 January posts makes perfectly sound if undeniably ominous sense to me: the first victims of the current worldwide collapse into chaos are not the industries, trade networks and financial exchanges that held our world together through the turbulent 20th century, but the fatuous and fanciful political organizations that have made such a deplorable hash of our planet over the relatively peaceful period since.

    As Fernandez asks, "How can you have a Cold War based on ideological polarization when there is none?" And how do we answer that?

  5. The reason all of this is happening is because the elite completely forgot why the global order worked. The US, having won the cold war, or the first cold war as the author here would put it, realized they really didn't need to maintain the global order, which they had deliberately created to face the Soviet threat. Once that happened, the old world of bilateral trade resurfaced. The US just doesn't care anymore, and has been creating its own preferred trade networks - which do not include China (who is dying as I type), the middle east, or much of Europe. The green revolution, which needs the hyper efficient trade environment to have a prayer of working, cannot be sustained financially without it. So as EVs are pretty much dead now (perhaps Tesla as a niche vehicle can survive), other parts of renewables will die off as the outlandish financial and logistical support required to make them marginally viable evaporates. National self interest trade arrangements are increasingly the rule - covid 19 just sped up their arrival - and that makes organizations like the G7, G20 , and the WEF unnecessary.

    There will be no cold war II. There will be those lucky countries in the US trade umbrella - and everyone else is in for a very long and dangerous ride, some of whom won't survive the trip.

  6. There is no doubt that our society is broken, the question is how much blood will spill fixing it? People and organizations that insist that humanity is a threat to the planet are not afraid of the prospect of a massive hot war.

  7. How can you have a Cold War based on ideological polarization when there is none. In the so-called Free World, the US and Germany are seeking to ban the main opposition party/candidate, the French President is ruling by decree, Australia has set up a concentration camp, Canada is a totalitarian mess across many issues, the Dutch establishment is still trying to avoid the consequences of the last election, the Polish government is arresting opposition politicians, the EU and WEF are seeking to censor any dissent and everybody's economy is a mess.

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