The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The End Of The Post-War & Post-Soviet Eras


The BRICS group of nations has decided to invite six countries – Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

BRICS already included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The era isn’t over yet, but when you consider that US/European sanctions against Russia failed to gain much support from India, China, and almost all of Africa and South America, it’s clear that US/West is down to its core again: the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. These are all either core West states or their key “uplifts” — the nations they let into the club and industrialized.

This leads to the new cold war, which everyone has noticed now, and has the world’s greatest industrial power, China, on the other side. Ironically the most important nations on the West’s side, other than the US, are South Korea and Japan, which remain technological powerhouses, while Europe is coasting on legacy technology and failing to advance compared to China, the US, Japan and South Korea (more or less in that order.)

The majority of trade, about 90%, still uses the dollar, but dollar reserves are at their lowest since the fall of the USSR, and will continue to fall, as the freezing of Russia’s dollar reserves (which will probably be seized in the end) and the massive sanctions have made it clear that dollars are only useful if you don’t cross America, and many nations, including China, know that’s only a matter of time.

Bilateral trade using local currencies will continue to increase, as will trade using the Yuan.

All Empires end, as do all eras. Neoliberalism is dying, the US world order is dying and the unipolar era is dead. A new multipolar era is upon us.

These are all good things, more than bad, for most of the world’s population as the post-Soviet order was used to crush countries the US disapproved of under horrid neoliberal austerity policies. That doesn’t mean the new era will feel good, or even be good: that’s not possible with our environmental problems, and the onrushing civilization collapse, but at least countries will increasingly be able to do what they feel is good for them and their citizens without the IMF and US/EU sanctions crushing them.

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Wagner Chief Prigozhin Dies


Open Thread


  1. Bullweather

    The only thing I’m still trying to wrap my head around is how BRICS is an alliance when India and China have deep mistrusts, and from what I can tell, South Africa is helped more by the West than other BRICS countries. Brazil almost seems like a flavor of the month given that Bolsonaro might owe a few favors to the West, and Argentina is a toss up. Lots of stuff still to play out.

  2. Ian Welsh

    It’s not a military alliance, it’s a trade and economic bloc. But since that’s 1/2+ of what underpins the West’s/US’s dominance….

  3. Creigh Gordon

    I struggle to understand why a self sufficiency within reason, is a bad thing for any country. (Obviously more self sufficiency is reasonable for large countries like the US and China than for, say, Singapore, but it should be a consideration for all countries.)

  4. Willy

    I’m glad that neoliberalism is being seen as a PTB last gasp before a late-stage capitalism collapse. Not much different from a gang of schoolyard bullies conning the teachers into to letting them to ruin the playground for everybody else.

    I remember the American agitprop smearing the USSR back in the old days. The women were ugly. The music was bad. Only political insiders got the perks and everybody else lived in what looked like college dorms. Always long lines for basic supplies. But at least the vodka was good, because without lots of good vodka the proletariat would’ve surely revolted.

    There were few ways to prove or disprove these rumors. We blamed the Iron Curtain. I did have college friends travel the old USSR saying it wasn’t so bad. They told the tale of a giggling taxi driver unable to speak English, kidnapping them to his decent apartment where his family fed them well and got them drunk on good vodka, so excited they were to party with outsiders.

    I was hoping that today the internet would help us better observe how problem solving efforts in other nations were turning out. But so far, the internet’s been a sort of personal opinion amplification device. If BRICS is best, we’ll have to put in the effort to overcome all the neoliberal machination and spin.

  5. Mel

    @Bullweather, “how BRICS is an alliance when India and China have deep mistrusts, ..”

    I think we’re being fooled by years, Caitlin Johnstone says 30 years, I’m thinking more like 80, of unipolarity.
    Unanimity is not normal, and has never been until just lately.
    Multipolarity will bring us lots and lots of talking, and provisional measures, and improvisation and arrangement. People will not expect things worked out once and for all.

    A few months ago Cory Doctorow wrote an essay about Slack, the way the Church of the Sub-Genius used to preach it. I think our Euro-American Unipolarity has boiled all the Slack out of our society, which lack characterizes everything we’ve seen in it over the past few years. Things will look different, really different, when a supply of Slack is restored.

    A BRICS currency, for example, will be a very bad idea until the BRICS members have got the habit of working out useful provisional arrangements. Then they will know how the BRICS cooperative works, how the members fit against each other, and what their common currency would need to do.
    The European Currency wasn’t worked out like this. It was designed in a hurry (with Wall St. advice!) and rushed into place. And look at Europe now.

  6. Mark Pontin

    [1] The euro was designed by Robert Mundell, the father of Reagonomics, to have precisely the effect it’s had, and Mundell was on record as gloating about how it would act to immigrate uppity lower-class workers.

    [2] All the heat and noise about dedollarization and the dollar as global reserve currency overlooks the critical fact that the actual US dollar constitutes a very small part of global currency flows, which in the debt market at least are 90-95 percent dollar-denominated Eurodollars. And the whole point of eurodollars is that the US and the Fed does NOT control them — that’s precisely why the City of London first created them in the 1950s-60s to facilitate trade payments for the USSR.

    Now what the full scope of what this means in the big picture is hard to grasp. But the whole business of the dollar as global reserve currency is not as folks — even YS at NC — fully understand.

  7. Mark Pontin

    Correction: Immiserate uppity etc

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