Peter Zeihan lists real problems but then has insane conclusions

Peter Zeihan lists problems around the world. I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.

The demographic problems identified in the age pyramids in different countries range from challenging to severe.

The non-performing loans in Italy and Italy’s extremely poor demographics make for very bad scenarios for Italy’s financial crisis.

Zeihan predicts three wars and massive oil and gas disruptions.

Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.

Russia vs. Europe

I agree that Russia has major weaknesses. Russia is an aging petrostate. Zeihan thinks that Russia can roll over the rest of the Ukraine and Poland and Baltic countries. He thinks that it will take pushback from Germany, UK, Sweden etc… to stop it.

He thinks the US will provide only minor support.

He also thinks that Russia will lose its oil and gas exports to Europe and then Russia would have to shut-in its oil.

I think Russia is and will ramp up oil and gas sales to China and India.

Russia will not be allowed to push further into Ukraine or the Baltic States. The US and Trump will meet NATO obligations. It would be politically impossible for Trump and Republicans to allow Russia to take Ukraine, Poland and Baltic states.

Iran vs. Saudi Arabia

He predicts a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and 11 million barrels of oil goes offline for many years.

Iran is getting squeezed by the US sanctions. The sanctions are having a strong effect. Iran is far weaker economically, militarily and politically. Israel will assist Saudi Arabia. The US will do more to quickly collapse Iran than Zeihan thinks. Russia has been assisting Iran but Russia is weaker than Zeihan thinks.

Asian Tanker War

Zeihan’s third war is dependent on one of the first two. Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage. He thinks Japan’s Navy could beat China’s.

A Russia to China gas pipeline is about completed.

Gazprom’s Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline from Russia to China is 93 percent complete, the Russian gas giant said in an update on its major projects.

A total of 2,010 kilometers (1,249 miles) of pipes are laid for the Power of Siberia gas pipeline between Yakutia and the Russian-Chinese border, or on 93 percent of the route’s length, Gazprom said in a statement.

The natural gas pipeline is expected to start sending gas to China at the end of 2019 and its completion is among Gazprom’s top priorities.

China will become the world’s largest natural gas importer by 2019. The share of imports in China’s natural gas supply is seen rising from 39 percent to 45 percent by 2023.

A second Sino-Russian oil pipeline began operations on Jan 1, 2018. It doubled China’s capacity to import crude from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean system. China can now import 30 million tons annually (about 600,000 barrels a day) of Russian ESPO crude via pipeline, up from 15 million tons before the second branch opened. The two lines run parallel to each other between Mohe at the border and Daqing in northeast Heilongjiang Province.

266 thoughts on “Peter Zeihan lists real problems but then has insane conclusions”

  1. I disagree. I think Zeihan’s predictions are entirely plausible, particularly with regards to Europe/Russia as well as the Middle-east. I think the Middle east conflict is quite likely (>50% chance). I think the Russian/European war is less likely. The East Asia Tanker war could happen. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer. Do remember that ONE of the reasons why people like me voted for Trump is because he campaigned on the premise that foreign interventionism, in general, is pointlessly stupid and ought to be discontinued. If this makes me an “isolationist” so be it. I will make the most of it. Besides, I’ve never understood why isolationism (politically and militarily, not in terms of free trade) is such a dirty word anyways.

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  2. Hmmm… I’ll go on a limb and generally agree with you, Brian. Thinking on the state-of-the-World, thinking about the geopolitical trends and demographic loading of the present, past and of course somewhat likely future, it seems that the dynamics of Modern Wealth are fairly rapidly evolving. For instance, dear China has become significantly dependent on foreign oil and natural gas imports, as a sizeable fraction of her economy. She continues to flaunt international basic pollution and emissions control mandates, continues to surreptitiously inject far more coal into her energy utilization infrastructure than her beancounters deign to report. After all, everyone knows China is the № 1 emitter both of CO₂ effluent AND … all the toxic byproducts of coal burning and thermal coking. Few ‘authorities’ admit that China’s unregulated coal burning is contributing at the very least 20% more CO₂ than she officially admits responsibility for. But that aside, there won’t be a War Against CO₂ in China. No country or coalition will rise to take her to task. Period. However, the dependence on foreign oil-stock and in-continent gas pipelines is dangerous — and China’s power elite know it. Yet, what’s an Empire to do? I don’t think that the spark-that-starts-the-conflagration will be Saudi Arabian :: Iranian bellicosity, personally. Iran is in a terribly delicate position: ANY warmaking by her against her neighbors stands to not only ostracize them internationally completely, but also would completely collapse their threadbare economy. And what would be the pretense, anyway? “We Iranians are mighty miffed that you OPEC countries are able to export your oil to the world, and we cannot. We’re going to beat you to bits, and you’ll pay a heavy price.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly. Iran doesn’t have hundreds-of-thousands of ready-at-arms troops. She doesn’t enjoy a deep resource of decades of military equipment stockpiling. Her air resources are wan. Her navy is mostly “

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  3. I disagree. I think Zeihan’s predictions are entirely plausible particularly with regards to Europe/Russia as well as the Middle-east. I think the Middle east conflict is quite likely (>50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} chance). I think the Russian/European war is less likely. The East Asia Tanker war could happen. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. Regardless of what Zeihan or you think many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy sometimes called the eocon”” policy”” is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer. Do remember that ONE of the reasons why people like me voted for Trump is because he campaigned on the premise that foreign interventionism in general”” is pointlessly stupid and ought to be discontinued. If this makes me an “”””isolationist”””” so be it. I will make the most of it. Besides”” I’ve never understood why isolationism (politically and militarily”” not in terms of free trade) is such a dirty word anyways.”””

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  4. Hmmm… I’ll go on a limb and generally agree with you Brian. Thinking on the state-of-the-World thinking about the geopolitical trends and demographic loading of the present past and of course somewhat likely future it seems that the dynamics of Modern Wealth are fairly rapidly evolving. For instance dear China has become significantly dependent on foreign oil and natural gas imports as a sizeable fraction of her economy. She continues to flaunt international basic pollution and emissions control mandates continues to surreptitiously inject far more coal into her energy utilization infrastructure than her beancounters deign to report. After all everyone knows China is the № 1 emitter both of CO₂ effluent AND … all the toxic byproducts of coal burning and thermal coking. Few ‘authorities’ admit that China’s unregulated coal burning is contributing at the very least 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more CO₂ than she officially admits responsibility for. But that aside there won’t be a War Against CO₂ in China. No country or coalition will rise to take her to task. Period.However the dependence on foreign oil-stock and in-continent gas pipelines is dangerous — and China’s power elite know it. Yet what’s an Empire to do?I don’t think that the spark-that-starts-the-conflagration will be Saudi Arabian :: Iranian bellicosity personally. Iran is in a terribly delicate position: ANY warmaking by her against her neighbors stands to not only ostracize them internationally completely but also would completely collapse their threadbare economy. And what would be the pretense anyway?We Iranians are mighty miffed that you OPEC countries are able to export your oil to the world” and we cannot. We’re going to beat you to bits” and you’ll pay a heavy price.””Sorry”””” that doesn’t fly. Iran doesn’t have hundreds-of-thousands of ready-at-arms troops.She doesn’t enjoy a deep resource of dec”

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  5. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily basis. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war? Some people theorize the current EU policy to destabilize the national states through massive immigration is a way to seize central control. When the states can’t solve their internal problems, they will have to turn over power to the central super state.

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  6. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily bases. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

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  7. I don’t think any of Zeihan’s wars are very plausible, Putin’s enough of a prick to start a war but he’s not stupid, Russia doesn’t have the economy to maintain a major conflict long term. Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil because it would never get to produce oil from the fields even if it could take them.

    Reply
  8. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily basis. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?Some people theorize the current EU policy to destabilize the national states through massive immigration is a way to seize central control. When the states can’t solve their internal problems they will have to turn over power to the central super state.

    Reply
  9. Here is another one for you…Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war.Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily bases. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up.Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real.Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

    Reply
  10. I don’t think any of Zeihan’s wars are very plausible Putin’s enough of a prick to start a war but he’s not stupid Russia doesn’t have the economy to maintain a major conflict long term. Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil because it would never get to produce oil from the fields even if it could take them.

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  11. ⊕1 … I learn something every day. You’re absolutely right; yet I’ve apparently always been misusing flaunt when i should have been using flout. Great catch, thanks! GoatGuy

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  12. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and I am a subscriber to his emails. I know more than you do…and certainly what Brian does, when it comes to Zeihan and his positions. “Zeihan says his war is fought over oil” So? That means it is fought over it. It is not because of it. Your statement “Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil” clearly means the latter, not the former. The oil is just a means to an end. Mostly to stop cut the Saudis off from their main source of funding when the open warfare starts. “eading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices” No, he meant just that it is a target to hit SA the hardest. Again, I’ve read his books. “…that Iranian oil production would also be shut down” Which will happen when the Saudis hit them first, anyway. What? You think that when the Big Fight goes public (they have already been fighting at lower levels..Yemen for example) they are going to refrain from hitting the others oil terminals? What about the tankers that get hit…either on purpose or on accident. The world’s shipping insurers won’t cover Acts of War any more than insurers in any other field does.

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  13. Perhaps you should read the interview. While the animosity is based on religion, Zeihan says his war is fought over oil, though I misinterpreted one aspect, reading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices, which is still a silly rationalization for him to make as the Iranians would know – as everyone else including Zeihan knows – that Iranian oil production would also be shut down.

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  14. Iran doesn’t need all those troops. Neither does SA. Not to kill off oil shipments from the PG. All they need to do is fling missiles at ships and oil terminals. That’s it. Then there is Brian’s really, really bad math on the ‘Russia pipelines make Zeihan look like a fool!’: Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports from other sources. Not enough. Not nearly enough. Brian seems to be smoking the same stuff his God, Elon Musk is. Not Zeihan.

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  15. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. ” With WHAT MATH? Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports. Uh…in what world is China NOT SCREWED if it gets cut off from oil from non-Russian pipeline sources? “Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer.” Um…Zeihan states that. Very clearly. He calls it, “The End of the Bretton Woods System

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  16. I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.” Of course you do. It pîsses all over your Next Big China swang-song. “Zeihan predicts three wars” He never did ANY such thing. He gave likely scenarios. Big difference. “Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.” No he isn’t. The ONLY reason we got involved in the first two Iraq wars was because of oil disruptions to those participating in the Bretton Woods system. That system was to support the US in containing the Soviets in the Cold War. Cold War and the Soviet Union are LONG GONE. Guess you haven’t been paying attention, Brian. But the US electorate on both sides could really care less about the rest of the world, despite whatever the elites in DC think. Trump got elected by catering to this, for crying out loud. ” Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage” Then Brian ‘counters’ this by talking about a GAS pipeline. Hmmm….’gas’ and ‘oil’ are two different things. Two different words, even. THEN he brings up an oil pipeline. So…China will allow itself to become 100% dependent upon Russia for its oil supplies? That’s what would happen if it can’t import oil by tanker anymore, whether Brian realizes that or not. But even worse. He mentions how that means China can import 600,000 tons PER DAY. China’s TOTAL imports of OIL PER DAY is 8,400,000 barrels, Brian. 600,000 barrels is only 7.14% of 8,400,000 barrels. What are YOU smoking, Brian? Or are you like Godfree and under the Wu Mau pay of Beijing? For either being stoned or a wu mau can explain this really crappy math (which I happen to know you usually ARE NOT bad at). “He thinks Japan’s Navy could beat China’s” It can. But Brian’s main hit to credibility is Brian’s really, really bad understanding of politics in general and geopo

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  17. ⊕1 … I learn something every day. You’re absolutely right; yet I’ve apparently always been misusing flaunt when i should have been using flout. Great catch thanks! GoatGuy”

    Reply
  18. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and I am a subscriber to his emails. I know more than you do…and certainly what Brian does when it comes to Zeihan and his positions.Zeihan says his war is fought over oil””So? That means it is fought over it. It is not because of it. Your statement “”””Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil”””” clearly means the latter”””” not the former.The oil is just a means to an end. Mostly to stop cut the Saudis off from their main source of funding when the open warfare starts.””””eading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices””””No”” he meant just that it is a target to hit SA the hardest. Again”” I’ve read his books. “”””…that Iranian oil production would also be shut down””””Which will happen when the Saudis hit them first”””” anyway.What? You think that when the Big Fight goes public (they have already been fighting at lower levels..Yemen for example) they are going to refrain from hitting the others oil terminals? What about the tankers that get hit…either on purpose or on accident. The world’s shipping insurers won’t cover Acts of War any more than insurers in any other field does.”””

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  19. Perhaps you should read the interview. While the animosity is based on religion Zeihan says his war is fought over oil though I misinterpreted one aspect reading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices which is still a silly rationalization for him to make as the Iranians would know – as everyone else including Zeihan knows – that Iranian oil production would also be shut down.

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  20. Iran doesn’t need all those troops. Neither does SA.Not to kill off oil shipments from the PG.All they need to do is fling missiles at ships and oil terminals. That’s it.Then there is Brian’s really really bad math on the ‘Russia pipelines make Zeihan look like a fool!’: Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8400000 barrelsRussian pipeline PER DAY: 600000 barrelsThat means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of Chinese DAILY imports from other sources. Not enough. Not nearly enough. Brian seems to be smoking the same stuff his God Elon Musk is. Not Zeihan.

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  21. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. “”With WHAT MATH? Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8″”400000 barrelsRussian pipeline PER DAY: 600″”000 barrelsThat means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of Chinese DAILY imports. Uh…in what world is China NOT SCREWED if it gets cut off from oil from non-Russian pipeline sources?””””Regardless of what Zeihan or you think”” many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy”” sometimes called the “”””neocon”””” policy”””” is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer.””””Um…Zeihan states that. Very clearly. He calls it”””” “”””The End of the Bretton Woods System”””””””

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  22. I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.””Of course you do. It pîsses all over your Next Big China swang-song.””””Zeihan predicts three wars””””He never did ANY such thing. He gave likely scenarios. Big difference.””””Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.””””No he isn’t. The ONLY reason we got involved in the first two Iraq wars was because of oil disruptions to those participating in the Bretton Woods system. That system was to support the US in containing the Soviets in the Cold War.Cold War and the Soviet Union are LONG GONE. Guess you haven’t been paying attention”” Brian. But the US electorate on both sides could really care less about the rest of the world despite whatever the elites in DC think. Trump got elected by catering to this”” for crying out loud.”””” Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage””””Then Brian ‘counters’ this by talking about a GAS pipeline. Hmmm….’gas’ and ‘oil’ are two different things. Two different words”” even. THEN he brings up an oil pipeline. So…China will allow itself to become 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} dependent upon Russia for its oil supplies? That’s what would happen if it can’t import oil by tanker anymore whether Brian realizes that or not. But even worse. He mentions how that means China can import 600000 tons PER DAY. China’s TOTAL imports of OIL PER DAY is 8400000 barrels Brian. 600000 barrels is only 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of 8400000 barrels. What are YOU smoking”” Brian? Or are you like Godfree and under the Wu Mau pay of Beijing? For either being stoned or a wu mau can explain this really crappy math (which I happen to know you usually ARE NOT b”

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  23. Good counter-analysis. China is preparing for its true permanent threat: The loss of oil imports from the Persian Gulf via a Saudi/Iran conflict or a low-grade hot war with the U.S. A sino-American block-aid could easily cut off gulf oil exports. The obvious circumspection would be a Russian pipeline; as Brian aptly points out is nearly complete. However, China’s strategic calculus is massively flawed. They seem unable to transition to true detente with America (wherein lies their best interests.) Conversely, they are building up an unsustainable military they can’t afford, building artificial islands in the South China Sea with offensive capability, and increasing their dependence on Russia – who never had their best interests at heart anyway. And Brian aptly points out that Russia really is a fading petro-state. As for Russia opting for expansionism back into east Europe and the Baltic; I say not likely… NATO has active battalions in the Baltic states now, and NATO’s most committed members are in eastern Europe. Finally, we are providing offensive arms to the Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. Russia could find itself in half a dozen unwinnable conflicts that would also isolate them internationally. Again – everyone loses. The best choice for Russia and China would be a general disarmament and cessation of the saber rattling. They should cut military spending and move back to a defensive military strategy. Their strategic plans are based on a flawed and paranoid paradigm. No nation is going to attack them; so all the offensive capability is a terrible waste. They should be focused on more fruitful enterprises such as resource development and working towards stabilization of in the Korean and Asian sectors with the aim of creating profitable economic trade zones.

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  24. Good counter-analysis. China is preparing for its true permanent threat: The loss of oil imports from the Persian Gulf via a Saudi/Iran conflict or a low-grade hot war with the U.S. A sino-American block-aid could easily cut off gulf oil exports. The obvious circumspection would be a Russian pipeline; as Brian aptly points out is nearly complete. However China’s strategic calculus is massively flawed. They seem unable to transition to true detente with America (wherein lies their best interests.) Conversely they are building up an unsustainable military they can’t afford building artificial islands in the South China Sea with offensive capability and increasing their dependence on Russia – who never had their best interests at heart anyway. And Brian aptly points out that Russia really is a fading petro-state. As for Russia opting for expansionism back into east Europe and the Baltic; I say not likely… NATO has active battalions in the Baltic states now and NATO’s most committed members are in eastern Europe. Finally we are providing offensive arms to the Ukraine Georgia and Armenia. Russia could find itself in half a dozen unwinnable conflicts that would also isolate them internationally. Again – everyone loses.The best choice for Russia and China would be a general disarmament and cessation of the saber rattling. They should cut military spending and move back to a defensive military strategy. Their strategic plans are based on a flawed and paranoid paradigm. No nation is going to attack them; so all the offensive capability is a terrible waste. They should be focused on more fruitful enterprises such as resource development and working towards stabilization of in the Korean and Asian sectors with the aim of creating profitable economic trade zones.

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  25. Warren is right. China is totally dependent on hydrocarbons, now and forever. Nuclear is only 2% of their energy and will be 4% with their “aggressive” push which has slowed down. Here is what the head of China’s nuclear energy program said earlier this year “achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain, with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.” Why? Energy consumption in China has flatlined. They built significant over-capacity across all areas, especially renewables (40% of which isn’t even connected to the grid). The EV play is to reduce pollution, but cars are not the main cause. It’s the coal power plants. And, ironically, it is more so their natgas plants (the water vapor from the natgas emissions “binds” more smog whereas coal creates more particulates). So China is trying to switch cars to EV so that they will need even more hydrocarbons to burn. If they actually build scrubbers and other emission controls remains to be seen. Strategically it would be a mistake for China to rely on pipelines. Pipes are a fixed (literally) asset and extremely vulnerable crossing unstable borders. It’s far better to have boats deliver the feedstock. Then you can mix and match for the downstream and better capacity-manage. I am pretty sure the Chinese understand this. At least last time I met with Sinopec they did.

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  26. Does this include new oil & nat gas from new pipelines? What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? Their labor costs and regulations allows them to build out nuclear a lot faster than anyone else. And their centralized land policy allows them to take over rivers, land and anything else they need for vast solar and wind farms. They can, and are, decreeing electric vehicles to replace gas-powered one, especially i the polluted cities. It’s a mistake to think they will be so dependent on oil & nat gas in the future.

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  27. I’d like to think that Iran is a rational actor but their buildup in southern Syria and support of Yemeni (and other) rebels in the region makes me think otherwise. If a government is cutting it domestically sometimes the best way to stay in power is to start a war.

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  28. War doesn’t need just one reason or a “good” reason. In the case of SA vs Iran, Iran might simply feel that if they can’t produce and export than that’s enough of a reason to attack SA’s export capacity. More likely, a war between SA and Iran will be the result of multiple causes: Shiite vs Sunni, local power balance, economic power, and, most importantly, foreign wars are often expedient solutions to domestic problems. This is true for SA and Iran so, unfortunately, war looks quite likely. I would like to think Iran is smart enough to step back from the brink knowing that it will get bombed back into the Stone Age but its incursions into southern Syria (seriously, what does Iran gain from “destroying” Israel?) make me think otherwise.

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  29. Do a bit of googling. China has outright bulldozed numerous Churches in recent weeks and has hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslims in internment camps. In both cases, “offenders” are being forced to “apologize” for their religion and swear allegiance to the Communist party.

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  30. … and likewise if China were to nuke Japan in such a scenario the U.S. would respond on its behalf (Japan is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella) with the result being north of 250 million dead Chinese and a country in ruins. As you said, nuclear weapons makes the calculus for large-scale war very different and that’s a good thing.

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  31. Warren is right. China is totally dependent on hydrocarbons now and forever. Nuclear is only 2{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their energy and will be 4{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} with their aggressive”” push which has slowed down. Here is what the head of China’s nuclear energy program said earlier this year “achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain”””” with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.”””” Why? Energy consumption in China has flatlined. They built significant over-capacity across all areas”” especially renewables (40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of which isn’t even connected to the grid).The EV play is to reduce pollution but cars are not the main cause. It’s the coal power plants. And ironically”” it is more so their natgas plants (the water vapor from the natgas emissions “”””binds”””” more smog whereas coal creates more particulates). So China is trying to switch cars to EV so that they will need even more hydrocarbons to burn. If they actually build scrubbers and other emission controls remains to be seen. Strategically it would be a mistake for China to rely on pipelines. Pipes are a fixed (literally) asset and extremely vulnerable crossing unstable borders. It’s far better to have boats deliver the feedstock. Then you can mix and match for the downstream and better capacity-manage. I am pretty sure the Chinese understand this. At least last time I met with Sinopec they did.”””””””

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  32. Does this include new oil & nat gas from new pipelines? What about China’s hard push into nuclear solar wind and anything else they can think of? Their labor costs and regulations allows them to build out nuclear a lot faster than anyone else. And their centralized land policy allows them to take over rivers land and anything else they need for vast solar and wind farms.They can and are decreeing electric vehicles to replace gas-powered one especially i the polluted cities.It’s a mistake to think they will be so dependent on oil & nat gas in the future.

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  33. I’d like to think that Iran is a rational actor but their buildup in southern Syria and support of Yemeni (and other) rebels in the region makes me think otherwise. If a government is cutting it domestically sometimes the best way to stay in power is to start a war.

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  34. War doesn’t need just one reason or a good”” reason. In the case of SA vs Iran”” Iran might simply feel that if they can’t produce and export than that’s enough of a reason to attack SA’s export capacity. More likely a war between SA and Iran will be the result of multiple causes: Shiite vs Sunni local power balance economic power and most importantly foreign wars are often expedient solutions to domestic problems. This is true for SA and Iran so unfortunately war looks quite likely. I would like to think Iran is smart enough to step back from the brink knowing that it will get bombed back into the Stone Age but its incursions into southern Syria (seriously”” what does Iran gain from “”””destroying”””” Israel?) make me think otherwise.”””

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  35. Do a bit of googling. China has outright bulldozed numerous Churches in recent weeks and has hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslims in internment camps. In both cases offenders”” are being forced to “”””apologize”””” for their religion and swear allegiance to the Communist party.”””

    Reply
  36. … and likewise if China were to nuke Japan in such a scenario the U.S. would respond on its behalf (Japan is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella) with the result being north of 250 million dead Chinese and a country in ruins. As you said nuclear weapons makes the calculus for large-scale war very different and that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  37. Having read Zeihan before, I think he paints the right picture overall. It all boils down to geography and natural resources, and size. In other presentations/writings, Zeihan talks more about water and agriculture, the part I think missing emphasis on this piece. The US is only one of the few countries in the world who is food self-sufficient (or could be in a very short period of time). China’s main weakness, in my view, is their dependency on foreign food. They even import rice. China’s water problems are a much bigger threat than potential energy shortages. Their water shortage in the north, and the Beijing/Tianjing/Hebei areas are mind-boggling immense. The water “gap” is about 80 billion cubic meters today (based on total consumption of about 650 bcm) , and expected to increase to 150-175 bcm by 2030. To put that into perspective, that’s 300,000 supertankers of water lying end-to-end 4 times around the world. Or, about 10,000 Keystone pipelines pumping water 24/7. Of course China could desalinate water. Forget about the build cost, but just the annual O&M costs to operate such a massive undertaking is about $100 billion a year. This includes the energy (oil and gas) needed to operate the plants. The PG also has their water problems cut out for them. Iraq faces both the Tigris and Euphrates running dry in 25 years, KSA is not as bad off but not by much, and rest of the Gulf. Collectively they are faced with spending upwards of 50% of oil revenue to make water. Oops. That could be a major cause of conflicts.

    Reply
  38. I lived for several years in Italy, Switzerland, US and now Sweden. I continue to read about the ‘Swedish catastrophe’ and it simply not true. Of course every nation has social tensions and areas more prone to criminality than others, but when inquiring about these issues I have been told verbatim ‘yes that one is really a bad neighborhood… imagine there was even an homicide… it happened ten years ago…’ Crime perception is different in different cultures and affect statistics. You can verify what I am saying searching: ‘Facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden’ at government(dot)se (in english)

    Reply
  39. Having read Zeihan before I think he paints the right picture overall. It all boils down to geography and natural resources and size. In other presentations/writings Zeihan talks more about water and agriculture the part I think missing emphasis on this piece. The US is only one of the few countries in the world who is food self-sufficient (or could be in a very short period of time). China’s main weakness in my view is their dependency on foreign food. They even import rice.China’s water problems are a much bigger threat than potential energy shortages. Their water shortage in the north and the Beijing/Tianjing/Hebei areas are mind-boggling immense. The water gap”” is about 80 billion cubic meters today (based on total consumption of about 650 bcm) “” and expected to increase to 150-175 bcm by 2030. To put that into perspective that’s 300000 supertankers of water lying end-to-end 4 times around the world. Or about 10000 Keystone pipelines pumping water 24/7. Of course China could desalinate water. Forget about the build cost but just the annual O&M costs to operate such a massive undertaking is about $100 billion a year. This includes the energy (oil and gas) needed to operate the plants. The PG also has their water problems cut out for them. Iraq faces both the Tigris and Euphrates running dry in 25 years KSA is not as bad off but not by much”” and rest of the Gulf. Collectively they are faced with spending upwards of 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of oil revenue to make water. Oops. That could be a major cause of conflicts.”””

    Reply
  40. I lived for several years in Italy Switzerland US and now Sweden. I continue to read about the ‘Swedish catastrophe’ and it simply not true.Of course every nation has social tensions and areas more prone to criminality than others but when inquiring about these issues I have been told verbatim ‘yes that one is really a bad neighborhood… imagine there was even an homicide… it happened ten years ago…’Crime perception is different in different cultures and affect statistics.You can verify what I am saying searching:’Facts about migration integration and crime in Sweden’ at government(dot)se (in english)

    Reply
  41. Correct but mostly from Canada and Mexico. Domestic production is rising while domestic demand is falling. What was once unthinkable, U.S. oil independence, is rapidly approaching a reality. North American independence has been a reality for some time.

    Reply
  42. I think it would be in China interest to build additional oil and gas pipelines to the former Soviet States and to Iran and Iraq.

    Reply
  43. I think the Japanese have a stronger naval tradition than China and would win a naval conflict. But I don’t see any reason for it.

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  44. Russia will not invade any more states. It doesn’t possess the ability to maintain a full out war in Europe. Its cyber war is what it can do.

    Reply
  45. Yeah, the pipeline capacity is rather small compared to the total demand. But it helps and it is in both Russia’s and China’s interests to build more. The Chinese are building nuclear power stations like the’re going out of style as well as development Gen IV nuclear power (MSR, high temp, etc.). So are the Russians, BTW. A complete build out will take many years. But some is better than nothing. The reason why I consider the “Tanker War” the least likely scenario is because none of the players really wants it. They would rather avoid it if possible. The Russians would love to sell as much hydrocarbon energy to East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) as the market can buy. This is a good cash cow for them. I don’t think Putin is as nutty as Zeihan takes him to be. I don’t the the Russian/European War is as likely as he thinks. Zeihan does make the point that western Russia (traditional Russia BTW) is on a broad plain with few natural defenses. That combined with Russian national paranoia (going back to their subjugation by the Khan) drives them to want defensible boarders. The want eastern Ukraine and parts of Poland and the Balkan states under their influence. This may or may not lead to war. I think not. Where I think Zeihan is 100% spot on is with the Middle-east War. Spengler (David Goldman) talks about this when he calls it their “30 Year War” which, BTW, started in ’11. Its already on but in a rather quiet stage right now.

    Reply
  46. As an aside. The demographics of China are interesting. Read one estimate that in the year 2100 China will have a population of one billion, and India will have two billion. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncoupling of USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit on that. And China is becoming more Christian. I recall the fears people had of Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The future aint what it used to be.

    Reply
  47. It’s easy to say that Japan will beat China in a naval conflict. But this assumes this conflict is limited. In an unlimited war Japan’s navy is irrelevant because Japan could lose all its cities to Chinese nuclear attack. And this goes for many other war scenarios. Nuclear weapons simply mean that the old way of conducting business won’t work anymore. The calculus is utterly different.

    Reply
  48. Correct but mostly from Canada and Mexico. Domestic production is rising while domestic demand is falling. What was once unthinkable U.S. oil independence is rapidly approaching a reality. North American independence has been a reality for some time.

    Reply
  49. I think it would be in China interest to build additional oil and gas pipelines to the former Soviet States and to Iran and Iraq.

    Reply
  50. I think the Japanese have a stronger naval tradition than China and would win a naval conflict. But I don’t see any reason for it.

    Reply
  51. Russia will not invade any more states. It doesn’t possess the ability to maintain a full out war in Europe. Its cyber war is what it can do.

    Reply
  52. Yeah the pipeline capacity is rather small compared to the total demand. But it helps and it is in both Russia’s and China’s interests to build more. The Chinese are building nuclear power stations like the’re going out of style as well as development Gen IV nuclear power (MSR high temp etc.). So are the Russians BTW. A complete build out will take many years. But some is better than nothing.The reason why I consider the Tanker War”” the least likely scenario is because none of the players really wants it. They would rather avoid it if possible. The Russians would love to sell as much hydrocarbon energy to East Asia (China”” Korea”” and Japan) as the market can buy. This is a good cash cow for them.I don’t think Putin is as nutty as Zeihan takes him to be. I don’t the the Russian/European War is as likely as he thinks. Zeihan does make the point that western Russia (traditional Russia BTW) is on a broad plain with few natural defenses. That combined with Russian national paranoia (going back to their subjugation by the Khan) drives them to want defensible boarders. The want eastern Ukraine and parts of Poland and the Balkan states under their influence. This may or may not lead to war. I think not. Where I think Zeihan is 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} spot on is with the Middle-east War. Spengler (David Goldman) talks about this when he calls it their “”””30 Year War”””” which”” BTW”” started in ’11. Its already on but in a rather quiet stage right now.”””

    Reply
  53. As an aside. The demographics of China are interesting.Read one estimate that in the year 2100 China will havea population of one billion and India will have twobillion.One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncouplingof USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit onthat. And China is becoming more Christian.I recall the fears people had of Japan in the 1980’s and1990’s.The future aint what it used to be.

    Reply
  54. It’s easy to say that Japan will beat China in a naval conflict. But this assumes this conflict is limited. In an unlimited war Japan’s navy is irrelevant becauseJapan could lose all its cities to Chinese nuclear attack.And this goes for many other war scenarios. Nuclear weapons simply mean that the old way of conducting business won’twork anymore. The calculus is utterly different.

    Reply
  55. The whole thing seems to assume that technology will remain pretty much as it is today. No cheaper battery cars. No hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks, and ships running off methanol produced from seawater with 4th generation nuclear reactors. No PRT systems ever arising in cities. No extension of the human lifespan.

    Reply
  56. The whole thing seems to assume that technology will remain pretty much as it is today. No cheaper battery cars. No hydrogen fuel cell cars trucks and ships running off methanol produced from seawater with 4th generation nuclear reactors. No PRT systems ever arising in cities. No extension of the human lifespan.

    Reply
  57. Except for California. California refuses to build a pipeline to Texas, so they continue to import Middle Eastern Oil. If there were a disruption of Middle Eastern Oil, California would be in trouble.

    Reply
  58. China has a brown water navy and Japan has a blue water navy. And, China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan have a centuries old tradition of fighting each other.

    Reply
  59. Except for California. California refuses to build a pipeline to Texas so they continue to import Middle Eastern Oil.If there were a disruption of Middle Eastern Oil California would be in trouble.

    Reply
  60. China has a brown water navy and Japan has a blue water navy. And China Korea Vietnam and Japan have a centuries old tradition of fighting each other.

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  61. We import about 50% of our oil from Canada and Mexico. The rest comes from the Rest of the World. About 60% if used for transportation and the rest for industrial processes and home heating. We could easily be energy independent if we so desire it. Natural gas can completely replace oil for industrial processes and home heating. And improvement in mpg for cars and trucks could significantly reduce the amount of oil we use for transportation.

    Reply
  62. We import about 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of our oil from Canada and Mexico. The rest comes from the Rest of the World. About 60{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} if used for transportation and the rest for industrial processes and home heating. We could easily be energy independent if we so desire it. Natural gas can completely replace oil for industrial processes and home heating. And improvement in mpg for cars and trucks could significantly reduce the amount of oil we use for transportation.

    Reply
  63. Fighting on a river and fighting on an ocean is different. Also most of China’s and Korea’s naval fighting goes way back. The Japanese and the US naval experience is more recent and with ships and weapons that are more like modern ships and weapons.

    Reply
  64. Fighting on a river and fighting on an ocean is different. Also most of China’s and Korea’s naval fighting goes way back. The Japanese and the US naval experience is more recent and with ships and weapons that are more like modern ships and weapons.

    Reply
  65. What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? ” Love to see all their diesel powered vehicles run off all that. …and their tanks and aircraft.

    Reply
  66. …as far as I can tell, Brian didn’t read any of his books. He just saw one clip of a presentation of Zeihan’s — the one he posted with this article — and that was it.

    Reply
  67. The tanker war is like what happens to cities when the food supply is cut off. How much food are in the shelves at your typical supermarket? What, a week’s worth at best? Less than that when the smart ones start to hoard it all, which will precipitate food riots and outright anarchy. That is what the tanker war will be about. The equivalent of fighting over the food left on the shelves. And it doesn’t matter if nobody ‘wants’ that to happen. Nobody ever wants such things to happen. But they can and do.

    Reply
  68. Most civil wars involve one or more factions duking it out for control of the central government. Only a minority involves secession like our Civil War did.

    Reply
  69. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncoupling of USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit on that. ” Zeihan covers that in depth in his books/on his web site.

    Reply
  70. I suspect you’re right. I read Zeihan’s book where Brian got all of this from. I consider it a worse case scenario that is not likely. For example, Zeihan implies in this book that China’s economy is going to simply just collapse, and I mean collapse utterly like where the power goes out for a really long time and millions of people starve to death. He is a real China pessimist. I am not a China optimist like Brian is here or Spengler (David Goldman). But I lean towards the optimist side than I do the pessimist side with regards to China’s future prospects. I do take the Middle-eastern “30 years war” scenario seriously, however. I just don’t think Putin and the Russians are as irrational as Zeihan predicts, not to mention the Chinese and Japanese.

    Reply
  71. …as far as I can tell Brian didn’t read any of his books. He just saw one clip of a presentation of Zeihan’s — the one he posted with this article — and that was it.

    Reply
  72. The tanker war is like what happens to cities when the food supply is cut off. How much food are in the shelves at your typical supermarket? What a week’s worth at best? Less than that when the smart ones start to hoard it all which will precipitate food riots and outright anarchy.That is what the tanker war will be about. The equivalent of fighting over the food left on the shelves. And it doesn’t matter if nobody ‘wants’ that to happen. Nobody ever wants such things to happen. But they can and do.

    Reply
  73. Most civil wars involve one or more factions duking it out for control of the central government. Only a minority involves secession like our Civil War did.

    Reply
  74. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncouplingof USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit onthat. “”Zeihan covers that in depth in his books/on his web site.”””

    Reply
  75. I suspect you’re right. I read Zeihan’s book where Brian got all of this from. I consider it a worse case scenario that is not likely. For example Zeihan implies in this book that China’s economy is going to simply just collapse and I mean collapse utterly like where the power goes out for a really long time and millions of people starve to death. He is a real China pessimist. I am not a China optimist like Brian is here or Spengler (David Goldman). But I lean towards the optimist side than I do the pessimist side with regards to China’s future prospects.I do take the Middle-eastern 30 years war”” scenario seriously”” however. I just don’t think Putin and the Russians are as irrational as Zeihan predicts”” not to mention the Chinese and Japanese.”””

    Reply
  76. I think he has. This comes straight out of his latest book The Absent Superpower”” that I bought and read last year.”””

    Reply
  77. What about China’s hard push into nuclear solar” wind and anything else they can think of? “”Love to see all their diesel powered vehicles run off all that. …and their tanks and aircraft.”””

    Reply
  78. It may not be to our advantage. Our production cost is high. Another 10 million barrels of oil will drive down prices and cut our profit margins.

    Reply
  79. It may not be to our advantage. Our production cost is high. Another 10 million barrels of oil will drive down prices and cut our profit margins.

    Reply
  80. It’s in the clip. Which doesn’t have the full context of the books. The clip is where Brian got this from, as per the article reference.

    Reply
  81. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of you nor do I suspect that it will be the last: WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON? Fracking costs are around $20 – $25 per barrel right now. Oil price is $80 right now. That’s up to a $60 per barrel profit margin. Or another way of looking at it: A 300% profit margin. The price of oil can go real, real low before it cuts into fracking profits. The Saudis TRIED to bankrupt them out of existence not too long ago. They failed. The ones that survived just came out of it stronger. They can just sit on the wells, return the equipment to whomever they leased it from and just go into hiatus, basically. This is rather common knowledge for anyone who bothers to educate themselves on the topic.

    Reply
  82. It’s in the clip. Which doesn’t have the full context of the books. The clip is where Brian got this from as per the article reference.

    Reply
  83. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of you nor do I suspect that it will be the last:WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON?Fracking costs are around $20 – $25 per barrel right now. Oil price is $80 right now. That’s up to a $60 per barrel profit margin. Or another way of looking at it: A 300{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} profit margin.The price of oil can go real real low before it cuts into fracking profits. The Saudis TRIED to bankrupt them out of existence not too long ago. They failed. The ones that survived just came out of it stronger. They can just sit on the wells return the equipment to whomever they leased it from and just go into hiatus basically. This is rather common knowledge for anyone who bothers to educate themselves on the topic.

    Reply
  84. The planet “Reality”. Fracking may cost $25/barrel for already producing wells but it cost a lot more to explore, acquire the rights to drill, drill, and build the infrastructure to frack. At $60/barrel most oil exploration firms will stop looking for oil to frack. Also oil prices is very elastic. Several million more barrels on the international market can cause a big drop in prices. They may frack what they have now but they won’t be producing more.

    Reply
  85. The planet Reality””. Fracking may cost $25/barrel for already producing wells but it cost a lot more to explore”” acquire the rights to drill drill”” and build the infrastructure to frack. At $60/barrel most oil exploration firms will stop looking for oil to frack. Also oil prices is very elastic. Several million more barrels on the international market can cause a big drop in prices. They may frack what they have now but they won’t be producing more.”””

    Reply
  86. Really! The $25 dollar cost is just to pump it out of the ground. Why do you think for years there was no fracking. Oil was too cheap to make a profit fracking.

    Reply
  87. Really! The $25 dollar cost is just to pump it out of the ground. Why do you think for years there was no fracking. Oil was too cheap to make a profit fracking.

    Reply
  88. but it cost a lot more to explore, acquire the rights to drill, drill, and build the infrastructure to frack” No, it does not. That $25/barrel price includes all that. You keep making statements that expose your ignorance even more so.

    Reply
  89. but it cost a lot more to explore acquire the rights to drill drill” and build the infrastructure to frack””No”””” it does not. That $25/barrel price includes all that.You keep making statements that expose your ignorance even more so.”””

    Reply
  90. “but it cost a lot more to explore, acquire the rights to drill, drill, and build the infrastructure to frack”

    No, it does not. That $25/barrel price includes all that.

    You keep making statements that expose your ignorance even more so.

    Reply
  91. The planet “Reality”. Fracking may cost $25/barrel for already producing wells but it cost a lot more to explore, acquire the rights to drill, drill, and build the infrastructure to frack. At $60/barrel most oil exploration firms will stop looking for oil to frack. Also oil prices is very elastic. Several million more barrels on the international market can cause a big drop in prices. They may frack what they have now but they won’t be producing more.

    Reply
  92. The planet Reality””. Fracking may cost $25/barrel for already producing wells but it cost a lot more to explore”” acquire the rights to drill drill”” and build the infrastructure to frack. At $60/barrel most oil exploration firms will stop looking for oil to frack. Also oil prices is very elastic. Several million more barrels on the international market can cause a big drop in prices. They may frack what they have now but they won’t be producing more.”””

    Reply
  93. The planet “Reality”. Fracking may cost $25/barrel for already producing wells but it cost a lot more to explore, acquire the rights to drill, drill, and build the infrastructure to frack. At $60/barrel most oil exploration firms will stop looking for oil to frack. Also oil prices is very elastic. Several million more barrels on the international market can cause a big drop in prices.

    They may frack what they have now but they won’t be producing more.

    Reply
  94. It’s in the clip. Which doesn’t have the full context of the books. The clip is where Brian got this from, as per the article reference.

    Reply
  95. It’s in the clip. Which doesn’t have the full context of the books. The clip is where Brian got this from as per the article reference.

    Reply
  96. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of you nor do I suspect that it will be the last: WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON? Fracking costs are around $20 – $25 per barrel right now. Oil price is $80 right now. That’s up to a $60 per barrel profit margin. Or another way of looking at it: A 300% profit margin. The price of oil can go real, real low before it cuts into fracking profits. The Saudis TRIED to bankrupt them out of existence not too long ago. They failed. The ones that survived just came out of it stronger. They can just sit on the wells, return the equipment to whomever they leased it from and just go into hiatus, basically. This is rather common knowledge for anyone who bothers to educate themselves on the topic.

    Reply
  97. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of you nor do I suspect that it will be the last:WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON?Fracking costs are around $20 – $25 per barrel right now. Oil price is $80 right now. That’s up to a $60 per barrel profit margin. Or another way of looking at it: A 300{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} profit margin.The price of oil can go real real low before it cuts into fracking profits. The Saudis TRIED to bankrupt them out of existence not too long ago. They failed. The ones that survived just came out of it stronger. They can just sit on the wells return the equipment to whomever they leased it from and just go into hiatus basically. This is rather common knowledge for anyone who bothers to educate themselves on the topic.

    Reply
  98. It may not be to our advantage. Our production cost is high. Another 10 million barrels of oil will drive down prices and cut our profit margins.

    Reply
  99. It may not be to our advantage. Our production cost is high. Another 10 million barrels of oil will drive down prices and cut our profit margins.

    Reply
  100. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of you nor do I suspect that it will be the last:

    WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON?

    Fracking costs are around $20 – $25 per barrel right now. Oil price is $80 right now. That’s up to a $60 per barrel profit margin. Or another way of looking at it: A 300% profit margin.

    The price of oil can go real, real low before it cuts into fracking profits. The Saudis TRIED to bankrupt them out of existence not too long ago. They failed. The ones that survived just came out of it stronger. They can just sit on the wells, return the equipment to whomever they leased it from and just go into hiatus, basically.

    This is rather common knowledge for anyone who bothers to educate themselves on the topic.

    Reply
  101. I think he has. This comes straight out of his latest book The Absent Superpower”” that I bought and read last year.”””

    Reply
  102. What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? ” Love to see all their diesel powered vehicles run off all that. …and their tanks and aircraft.

    Reply
  103. What about China’s hard push into nuclear solar” wind and anything else they can think of? “”Love to see all their diesel powered vehicles run off all that. …and their tanks and aircraft.”””

    Reply
  104. …as far as I can tell, Brian didn’t read any of his books. He just saw one clip of a presentation of Zeihan’s — the one he posted with this article — and that was it.

    Reply
  105. …as far as I can tell Brian didn’t read any of his books. He just saw one clip of a presentation of Zeihan’s — the one he posted with this article — and that was it.

    Reply
  106. The tanker war is like what happens to cities when the food supply is cut off. How much food are in the shelves at your typical supermarket? What, a week’s worth at best? Less than that when the smart ones start to hoard it all, which will precipitate food riots and outright anarchy. That is what the tanker war will be about. The equivalent of fighting over the food left on the shelves. And it doesn’t matter if nobody ‘wants’ that to happen. Nobody ever wants such things to happen. But they can and do.

    Reply
  107. The tanker war is like what happens to cities when the food supply is cut off. How much food are in the shelves at your typical supermarket? What a week’s worth at best? Less than that when the smart ones start to hoard it all which will precipitate food riots and outright anarchy.That is what the tanker war will be about. The equivalent of fighting over the food left on the shelves. And it doesn’t matter if nobody ‘wants’ that to happen. Nobody ever wants such things to happen. But they can and do.

    Reply
  108. Most civil wars involve one or more factions duking it out for control of the central government. Only a minority involves secession like our Civil War did.

    Reply
  109. Most civil wars involve one or more factions duking it out for control of the central government. Only a minority involves secession like our Civil War did.

    Reply
  110. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncoupling of USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit on that. ” Zeihan covers that in depth in his books/on his web site.

    Reply
  111. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncouplingof USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit onthat. “”Zeihan covers that in depth in his books/on his web site.”””

    Reply
  112. I suspect you’re right. I read Zeihan’s book where Brian got all of this from. I consider it a worse case scenario that is not likely. For example, Zeihan implies in this book that China’s economy is going to simply just collapse, and I mean collapse utterly like where the power goes out for a really long time and millions of people starve to death. He is a real China pessimist. I am not a China optimist like Brian is here or Spengler (David Goldman). But I lean towards the optimist side than I do the pessimist side with regards to China’s future prospects. I do take the Middle-eastern “30 years war” scenario seriously, however. I just don’t think Putin and the Russians are as irrational as Zeihan predicts, not to mention the Chinese and Japanese.

    Reply
  113. I suspect you’re right. I read Zeihan’s book where Brian got all of this from. I consider it a worse case scenario that is not likely. For example Zeihan implies in this book that China’s economy is going to simply just collapse and I mean collapse utterly like where the power goes out for a really long time and millions of people starve to death. He is a real China pessimist. I am not a China optimist like Brian is here or Spengler (David Goldman). But I lean towards the optimist side than I do the pessimist side with regards to China’s future prospects.I do take the Middle-eastern 30 years war”” scenario seriously”” however. I just don’t think Putin and the Russians are as irrational as Zeihan predicts”” not to mention the Chinese and Japanese.”””

    Reply
  114. Fighting on a river and fighting on an ocean is different. Also most of China’s and Korea’s naval fighting goes way back. The Japanese and the US naval experience is more recent and with ships and weapons that are more like modern ships and weapons.

    Reply
  115. Fighting on a river and fighting on an ocean is different. Also most of China’s and Korea’s naval fighting goes way back. The Japanese and the US naval experience is more recent and with ships and weapons that are more like modern ships and weapons.

    Reply
  116. “What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? ”

    Love to see all their diesel powered vehicles run off all that.

    …and their tanks and aircraft.

    Reply
  117. The tanker war is like what happens to cities when the food supply is cut off. How much food are in the shelves at your typical supermarket? What, a week’s worth at best? Less than that when the smart ones start to hoard it all, which will precipitate food riots and outright anarchy.

    That is what the tanker war will be about. The equivalent of fighting over the food left on the shelves. And it doesn’t matter if nobody ‘wants’ that to happen. Nobody ever wants such things to happen. But they can and do.

    Reply
  118. I suspect you’re right. I read Zeihan’s book where Brian got all of this from. I consider it a worse case scenario that is not likely. For example, Zeihan implies in this book that China’s economy is going to simply just collapse, and I mean collapse utterly like where the power goes out for a really long time and millions of people starve to death. He is a real China pessimist. I am not a China optimist like Brian is here or Spengler (David Goldman). But I lean towards the optimist side than I do the pessimist side with regards to China’s future prospects.

    I do take the Middle-eastern “30 years war” scenario seriously, however. I just don’t think Putin and the Russians are as irrational as Zeihan predicts, not to mention the Chinese and Japanese.

    Reply
  119. We import about 50% of our oil from Canada and Mexico. The rest comes from the Rest of the World. About 60% if used for transportation and the rest for industrial processes and home heating. We could easily be energy independent if we so desire it. Natural gas can completely replace oil for industrial processes and home heating. And improvement in mpg for cars and trucks could significantly reduce the amount of oil we use for transportation.

    Reply
  120. We import about 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of our oil from Canada and Mexico. The rest comes from the Rest of the World. About 60{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} if used for transportation and the rest for industrial processes and home heating. We could easily be energy independent if we so desire it. Natural gas can completely replace oil for industrial processes and home heating. And improvement in mpg for cars and trucks could significantly reduce the amount of oil we use for transportation.

    Reply
  121. Fighting on a river and fighting on an ocean is different. Also most of China’s and Korea’s naval fighting goes way back. The Japanese and the US naval experience is more recent and with ships and weapons that are more like modern ships and weapons.

    Reply
  122. Except for California. California refuses to build a pipeline to Texas, so they continue to import Middle Eastern Oil. If there were a disruption of Middle Eastern Oil, California would be in trouble.

    Reply
  123. Except for California. California refuses to build a pipeline to Texas so they continue to import Middle Eastern Oil.If there were a disruption of Middle Eastern Oil California would be in trouble.

    Reply
  124. China has a brown water navy and Japan has a blue water navy. And, China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan have a centuries old tradition of fighting each other.

    Reply
  125. China has a brown water navy and Japan has a blue water navy. And China Korea Vietnam and Japan have a centuries old tradition of fighting each other.

    Reply
  126. We import about 50% of our oil from Canada and Mexico. The rest comes from the Rest of the World. About 60% if used for transportation and the rest for industrial processes and home heating. We could easily be energy independent if we so desire it. Natural gas can completely replace oil for industrial processes and home heating. And improvement in mpg for cars and trucks could significantly reduce the amount of oil we use for transportation.

    Reply
  127. Except for California. California refuses to build a pipeline to Texas, so they continue to import Middle Eastern Oil.

    If there were a disruption of Middle Eastern Oil, California would be in trouble.

    Reply
  128. The whole thing seems to assume that technology will remain pretty much as it is today. No cheaper battery cars. No hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks, and ships running off methanol produced from seawater with 4th generation nuclear reactors. No PRT systems ever arising in cities. No extension of the human lifespan.

    Reply
  129. The whole thing seems to assume that technology will remain pretty much as it is today. No cheaper battery cars. No hydrogen fuel cell cars trucks and ships running off methanol produced from seawater with 4th generation nuclear reactors. No PRT systems ever arising in cities. No extension of the human lifespan.

    Reply
  130. Correct but mostly from Canada and Mexico. Domestic production is rising while domestic demand is falling. What was once unthinkable, U.S. oil independence, is rapidly approaching a reality. North American independence has been a reality for some time.

    Reply
  131. Correct but mostly from Canada and Mexico. Domestic production is rising while domestic demand is falling. What was once unthinkable U.S. oil independence is rapidly approaching a reality. North American independence has been a reality for some time.

    Reply
  132. As an aside. The demographics of China are interesting. Read one estimate that in the year 2100 China will have a population of one billion, and India will have two billion. One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncoupling of USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit on that. And China is becoming more Christian. I recall the fears people had of Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The future aint what it used to be.

    Reply
  133. As an aside. The demographics of China are interesting.Read one estimate that in the year 2100 China will havea population of one billion and India will have twobillion.One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncouplingof USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit onthat. And China is becoming more Christian.I recall the fears people had of Japan in the 1980’s and1990’s.The future aint what it used to be.

    Reply
  134. It’s easy to say that Japan will beat China in a naval conflict. But this assumes this conflict is limited. In an unlimited war Japan’s navy is irrelevant because Japan could lose all its cities to Chinese nuclear attack. And this goes for many other war scenarios. Nuclear weapons simply mean that the old way of conducting business won’t work anymore. The calculus is utterly different.

    Reply
  135. It’s easy to say that Japan will beat China in a naval conflict. But this assumes this conflict is limited. In an unlimited war Japan’s navy is irrelevant becauseJapan could lose all its cities to Chinese nuclear attack.And this goes for many other war scenarios. Nuclear weapons simply mean that the old way of conducting business won’twork anymore. The calculus is utterly different.

    Reply
  136. I think it would be in China interest to build additional oil and gas pipelines to the former Soviet States and to Iran and Iraq.

    Reply
  137. I think the Japanese have a stronger naval tradition than China and would win a naval conflict. But I don’t see any reason for it.

    Reply
  138. I think the Japanese have a stronger naval tradition than China and would win a naval conflict. But I don’t see any reason for it.

    Reply
  139. Russia will not invade any more states. It doesn’t possess the ability to maintain a full out war in Europe. Its cyber war is what it can do.

    Reply
  140. Russia will not invade any more states. It doesn’t possess the ability to maintain a full out war in Europe. Its cyber war is what it can do.

    Reply
  141. Yeah, the pipeline capacity is rather small compared to the total demand. But it helps and it is in both Russia’s and China’s interests to build more. The Chinese are building nuclear power stations like the’re going out of style as well as development Gen IV nuclear power (MSR, high temp, etc.). So are the Russians, BTW. A complete build out will take many years. But some is better than nothing. The reason why I consider the “Tanker War” the least likely scenario is because none of the players really wants it. They would rather avoid it if possible. The Russians would love to sell as much hydrocarbon energy to East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) as the market can buy. This is a good cash cow for them. I don’t think Putin is as nutty as Zeihan takes him to be. I don’t the the Russian/European War is as likely as he thinks. Zeihan does make the point that western Russia (traditional Russia BTW) is on a broad plain with few natural defenses. That combined with Russian national paranoia (going back to their subjugation by the Khan) drives them to want defensible boarders. The want eastern Ukraine and parts of Poland and the Balkan states under their influence. This may or may not lead to war. I think not. Where I think Zeihan is 100% spot on is with the Middle-east War. Spengler (David Goldman) talks about this when he calls it their “30 Year War” which, BTW, started in ’11. Its already on but in a rather quiet stage right now.

    Reply
  142. Yeah the pipeline capacity is rather small compared to the total demand. But it helps and it is in both Russia’s and China’s interests to build more. The Chinese are building nuclear power stations like the’re going out of style as well as development Gen IV nuclear power (MSR high temp etc.). So are the Russians BTW. A complete build out will take many years. But some is better than nothing.The reason why I consider the Tanker War”” the least likely scenario is because none of the players really wants it. They would rather avoid it if possible. The Russians would love to sell as much hydrocarbon energy to East Asia (China”” Korea”” and Japan) as the market can buy. This is a good cash cow for them.I don’t think Putin is as nutty as Zeihan takes him to be. I don’t the the Russian/European War is as likely as he thinks. Zeihan does make the point that western Russia (traditional Russia BTW) is on a broad plain with few natural defenses. That combined with Russian national paranoia (going back to their subjugation by the Khan) drives them to want defensible boarders. The want eastern Ukraine and parts of Poland and the Balkan states under their influence. This may or may not lead to war. I think not. Where I think Zeihan is 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} spot on is with the Middle-east War. Spengler (David Goldman) talks about this when he calls it their “”””30 Year War”””” which”” BTW”” started in ’11. Its already on but in a rather quiet stage right now.”””

    Reply
  143. Having read Zeihan before, I think he paints the right picture overall. It all boils down to geography and natural resources, and size. In other presentations/writings, Zeihan talks more about water and agriculture, the part I think missing emphasis on this piece. The US is only one of the few countries in the world who is food self-sufficient (or could be in a very short period of time). China’s main weakness, in my view, is their dependency on foreign food. They even import rice. China’s water problems are a much bigger threat than potential energy shortages. Their water shortage in the north, and the Beijing/Tianjing/Hebei areas are mind-boggling immense. The water “gap” is about 80 billion cubic meters today (based on total consumption of about 650 bcm) , and expected to increase to 150-175 bcm by 2030. To put that into perspective, that’s 300,000 supertankers of water lying end-to-end 4 times around the world. Or, about 10,000 Keystone pipelines pumping water 24/7. Of course China could desalinate water. Forget about the build cost, but just the annual O&M costs to operate such a massive undertaking is about $100 billion a year. This includes the energy (oil and gas) needed to operate the plants. The PG also has their water problems cut out for them. Iraq faces both the Tigris and Euphrates running dry in 25 years, KSA is not as bad off but not by much, and rest of the Gulf. Collectively they are faced with spending upwards of 50% of oil revenue to make water. Oops. That could be a major cause of conflicts.

    Reply
  144. Having read Zeihan before I think he paints the right picture overall. It all boils down to geography and natural resources and size. In other presentations/writings Zeihan talks more about water and agriculture the part I think missing emphasis on this piece. The US is only one of the few countries in the world who is food self-sufficient (or could be in a very short period of time). China’s main weakness in my view is their dependency on foreign food. They even import rice.China’s water problems are a much bigger threat than potential energy shortages. Their water shortage in the north and the Beijing/Tianjing/Hebei areas are mind-boggling immense. The water gap”” is about 80 billion cubic meters today (based on total consumption of about 650 bcm) “” and expected to increase to 150-175 bcm by 2030. To put that into perspective that’s 300000 supertankers of water lying end-to-end 4 times around the world. Or about 10000 Keystone pipelines pumping water 24/7. Of course China could desalinate water. Forget about the build cost but just the annual O&M costs to operate such a massive undertaking is about $100 billion a year. This includes the energy (oil and gas) needed to operate the plants. The PG also has their water problems cut out for them. Iraq faces both the Tigris and Euphrates running dry in 25 years KSA is not as bad off but not by much”” and rest of the Gulf. Collectively they are faced with spending upwards of 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of oil revenue to make water. Oops. That could be a major cause of conflicts.”””

    Reply
  145. I lived for several years in Italy, Switzerland, US and now Sweden. I continue to read about the ‘Swedish catastrophe’ and it simply not true. Of course every nation has social tensions and areas more prone to criminality than others, but when inquiring about these issues I have been told verbatim ‘yes that one is really a bad neighborhood… imagine there was even an homicide… it happened ten years ago…’ Crime perception is different in different cultures and affect statistics. You can verify what I am saying searching: ‘Facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden’ at government(dot)se (in english)

    Reply
  146. I lived for several years in Italy Switzerland US and now Sweden. I continue to read about the ‘Swedish catastrophe’ and it simply not true.Of course every nation has social tensions and areas more prone to criminality than others but when inquiring about these issues I have been told verbatim ‘yes that one is really a bad neighborhood… imagine there was even an homicide… it happened ten years ago…’Crime perception is different in different cultures and affect statistics.You can verify what I am saying searching:’Facts about migration integration and crime in Sweden’ at government(dot)se (in english)

    Reply
  147. The whole thing seems to assume that technology will remain pretty much as it is today. No cheaper battery cars. No hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks, and ships running off methanol produced from seawater with 4th generation nuclear reactors. No PRT systems ever arising in cities. No extension of the human lifespan.

    Reply
  148. Warren is right. China is totally dependent on hydrocarbons, now and forever. Nuclear is only 2% of their energy and will be 4% with their “aggressive” push which has slowed down. Here is what the head of China’s nuclear energy program said earlier this year “achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain, with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.” Why? Energy consumption in China has flatlined. They built significant over-capacity across all areas, especially renewables (40% of which isn’t even connected to the grid). The EV play is to reduce pollution, but cars are not the main cause. It’s the coal power plants. And, ironically, it is more so their natgas plants (the water vapor from the natgas emissions “binds” more smog whereas coal creates more particulates). So China is trying to switch cars to EV so that they will need even more hydrocarbons to burn. If they actually build scrubbers and other emission controls remains to be seen. Strategically it would be a mistake for China to rely on pipelines. Pipes are a fixed (literally) asset and extremely vulnerable crossing unstable borders. It’s far better to have boats deliver the feedstock. Then you can mix and match for the downstream and better capacity-manage. I am pretty sure the Chinese understand this. At least last time I met with Sinopec they did.

    Reply
  149. Warren is right. China is totally dependent on hydrocarbons now and forever. Nuclear is only 2{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their energy and will be 4{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} with their aggressive”” push which has slowed down. Here is what the head of China’s nuclear energy program said earlier this year “achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain”””” with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.”””” Why? Energy consumption in China has flatlined. They built significant over-capacity across all areas”” especially renewables (40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of which isn’t even connected to the grid).The EV play is to reduce pollution but cars are not the main cause. It’s the coal power plants. And ironically”” it is more so their natgas plants (the water vapor from the natgas emissions “”””binds”””” more smog whereas coal creates more particulates). So China is trying to switch cars to EV so that they will need even more hydrocarbons to burn. If they actually build scrubbers and other emission controls remains to be seen. Strategically it would be a mistake for China to rely on pipelines. Pipes are a fixed (literally) asset and extremely vulnerable crossing unstable borders. It’s far better to have boats deliver the feedstock. Then you can mix and match for the downstream and better capacity-manage. I am pretty sure the Chinese understand this. At least last time I met with Sinopec they did.”””””””

    Reply
  150. Does this include new oil & nat gas from new pipelines? What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? Their labor costs and regulations allows them to build out nuclear a lot faster than anyone else. And their centralized land policy allows them to take over rivers, land and anything else they need for vast solar and wind farms. They can, and are, decreeing electric vehicles to replace gas-powered one, especially i the polluted cities. It’s a mistake to think they will be so dependent on oil & nat gas in the future.

    Reply
  151. Does this include new oil & nat gas from new pipelines? What about China’s hard push into nuclear solar wind and anything else they can think of? Their labor costs and regulations allows them to build out nuclear a lot faster than anyone else. And their centralized land policy allows them to take over rivers land and anything else they need for vast solar and wind farms.They can and are decreeing electric vehicles to replace gas-powered one especially i the polluted cities.It’s a mistake to think they will be so dependent on oil & nat gas in the future.

    Reply
  152. I’d like to think that Iran is a rational actor but their buildup in southern Syria and support of Yemeni (and other) rebels in the region makes me think otherwise. If a government is cutting it domestically sometimes the best way to stay in power is to start a war.

    Reply
  153. I’d like to think that Iran is a rational actor but their buildup in southern Syria and support of Yemeni (and other) rebels in the region makes me think otherwise. If a government is cutting it domestically sometimes the best way to stay in power is to start a war.

    Reply
  154. War doesn’t need just one reason or a “good” reason. In the case of SA vs Iran, Iran might simply feel that if they can’t produce and export than that’s enough of a reason to attack SA’s export capacity. More likely, a war between SA and Iran will be the result of multiple causes: Shiite vs Sunni, local power balance, economic power, and, most importantly, foreign wars are often expedient solutions to domestic problems. This is true for SA and Iran so, unfortunately, war looks quite likely. I would like to think Iran is smart enough to step back from the brink knowing that it will get bombed back into the Stone Age but its incursions into southern Syria (seriously, what does Iran gain from “destroying” Israel?) make me think otherwise.

    Reply
  155. War doesn’t need just one reason or a good”” reason. In the case of SA vs Iran”” Iran might simply feel that if they can’t produce and export than that’s enough of a reason to attack SA’s export capacity. More likely a war between SA and Iran will be the result of multiple causes: Shiite vs Sunni local power balance economic power and most importantly foreign wars are often expedient solutions to domestic problems. This is true for SA and Iran so unfortunately war looks quite likely. I would like to think Iran is smart enough to step back from the brink knowing that it will get bombed back into the Stone Age but its incursions into southern Syria (seriously”” what does Iran gain from “”””destroying”””” Israel?) make me think otherwise.”””

    Reply
  156. Do a bit of googling. China has outright bulldozed numerous Churches in recent weeks and has hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslims in internment camps. In both cases, “offenders” are being forced to “apologize” for their religion and swear allegiance to the Communist party.

    Reply
  157. Do a bit of googling. China has outright bulldozed numerous Churches in recent weeks and has hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslims in internment camps. In both cases offenders”” are being forced to “”””apologize”””” for their religion and swear allegiance to the Communist party.”””

    Reply
  158. … and likewise if China were to nuke Japan in such a scenario the U.S. would respond on its behalf (Japan is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella) with the result being north of 250 million dead Chinese and a country in ruins. As you said, nuclear weapons makes the calculus for large-scale war very different and that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  159. … and likewise if China were to nuke Japan in such a scenario the U.S. would respond on its behalf (Japan is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella) with the result being north of 250 million dead Chinese and a country in ruins. As you said nuclear weapons makes the calculus for large-scale war very different and that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  160. Correct but mostly from Canada and Mexico. Domestic production is rising while domestic demand is falling. What was once unthinkable, U.S. oil independence, is rapidly approaching a reality. North American independence has been a reality for some time.

    Reply
  161. As an aside. The demographics of China are interesting.
    Read one estimate that in the year 2100 China will have
    a population of one billion, and India will have two
    billion.
    One wonders what would happen if there’s an uncoupling
    of USA and China trade. China will take a big GDP hit on
    that.
    And China is becoming more Christian.
    I recall the fears people had of Japan in the 1980’s and
    1990’s.
    The future aint what it used to be.

    Reply
  162. It’s easy to say that Japan will beat China in a naval conflict. But this assumes
    this conflict is limited. In an unlimited war Japan’s navy is irrelevant because
    Japan could lose all its cities to Chinese nuclear attack.
    And this goes for many other war scenarios.
    Nuclear weapons simply mean that the old way of conducting business won’t
    work anymore. The calculus is utterly different.

    Reply
  163. Yeah, the pipeline capacity is rather small compared to the total demand. But it helps and it is in both Russia’s and China’s interests to build more. The Chinese are building nuclear power stations like the’re going out of style as well as development Gen IV nuclear power (MSR, high temp, etc.). So are the Russians, BTW. A complete build out will take many years. But some is better than nothing.

    The reason why I consider the “Tanker War” the least likely scenario is because none of the players really wants it. They would rather avoid it if possible. The Russians would love to sell as much hydrocarbon energy to East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) as the market can buy. This is a good cash cow for them.

    I don’t think Putin is as nutty as Zeihan takes him to be. I don’t the the Russian/European War is as likely as he thinks. Zeihan does make the point that western Russia (traditional Russia BTW) is on a broad plain with few natural defenses. That combined with Russian national paranoia (going back to their subjugation by the Khan) drives them to want defensible boarders. The want eastern Ukraine and parts of Poland and the Balkan states under their influence. This may or may not lead to war. I think not.

    Where I think Zeihan is 100% spot on is with the Middle-east War. Spengler (David Goldman) talks about this when he calls it their “30 Year War” which, BTW, started in ’11. Its already on but in a rather quiet stage right now.

    Reply
  164. Good counter-analysis. China is preparing for its true permanent threat: The loss of oil imports from the Persian Gulf via a Saudi/Iran conflict or a low-grade hot war with the U.S. A sino-American block-aid could easily cut off gulf oil exports. The obvious circumspection would be a Russian pipeline; as Brian aptly points out is nearly complete. However, China’s strategic calculus is massively flawed. They seem unable to transition to true detente with America (wherein lies their best interests.) Conversely, they are building up an unsustainable military they can’t afford, building artificial islands in the South China Sea with offensive capability, and increasing their dependence on Russia – who never had their best interests at heart anyway. And Brian aptly points out that Russia really is a fading petro-state. As for Russia opting for expansionism back into east Europe and the Baltic; I say not likely… NATO has active battalions in the Baltic states now, and NATO’s most committed members are in eastern Europe. Finally, we are providing offensive arms to the Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. Russia could find itself in half a dozen unwinnable conflicts that would also isolate them internationally. Again – everyone loses. The best choice for Russia and China would be a general disarmament and cessation of the saber rattling. They should cut military spending and move back to a defensive military strategy. Their strategic plans are based on a flawed and paranoid paradigm. No nation is going to attack them; so all the offensive capability is a terrible waste. They should be focused on more fruitful enterprises such as resource development and working towards stabilization of in the Korean and Asian sectors with the aim of creating profitable economic trade zones.

    Reply
  165. Good counter-analysis. China is preparing for its true permanent threat: The loss of oil imports from the Persian Gulf via a Saudi/Iran conflict or a low-grade hot war with the U.S. A sino-American block-aid could easily cut off gulf oil exports. The obvious circumspection would be a Russian pipeline; as Brian aptly points out is nearly complete. However China’s strategic calculus is massively flawed. They seem unable to transition to true detente with America (wherein lies their best interests.) Conversely they are building up an unsustainable military they can’t afford building artificial islands in the South China Sea with offensive capability and increasing their dependence on Russia – who never had their best interests at heart anyway. And Brian aptly points out that Russia really is a fading petro-state. As for Russia opting for expansionism back into east Europe and the Baltic; I say not likely… NATO has active battalions in the Baltic states now and NATO’s most committed members are in eastern Europe. Finally we are providing offensive arms to the Ukraine Georgia and Armenia. Russia could find itself in half a dozen unwinnable conflicts that would also isolate them internationally. Again – everyone loses.The best choice for Russia and China would be a general disarmament and cessation of the saber rattling. They should cut military spending and move back to a defensive military strategy. Their strategic plans are based on a flawed and paranoid paradigm. No nation is going to attack them; so all the offensive capability is a terrible waste. They should be focused on more fruitful enterprises such as resource development and working towards stabilization of in the Korean and Asian sectors with the aim of creating profitable economic trade zones.

    Reply
  166. ⊕1 … I learn something every day. You’re absolutely right; yet I’ve apparently always been misusing flaunt when i should have been using flout. Great catch, thanks! GoatGuy

    Reply
  167. ⊕1 … I learn something every day. You’re absolutely right; yet I’ve apparently always been misusing flaunt when i should have been using flout. Great catch thanks! GoatGuy”

    Reply
  168. Having read Zeihan before, I think he paints the right picture overall. It all boils down to geography and natural resources, and size. In other presentations/writings, Zeihan talks more about water and agriculture, the part I think missing emphasis on this piece. The US is only one of the few countries in the world who is food self-sufficient (or could be in a very short period of time). China’s main weakness, in my view, is their dependency on foreign food. They even import rice.

    China’s water problems are a much bigger threat than potential energy shortages. Their water shortage in the north, and the Beijing/Tianjing/Hebei areas are mind-boggling immense. The water “gap” is about 80 billion cubic meters today (based on total consumption of about 650 bcm) , and expected to increase to 150-175 bcm by 2030. To put that into perspective, that’s 300,000 supertankers of water lying end-to-end 4 times around the world. Or, about 10,000 Keystone pipelines pumping water 24/7. Of course China could desalinate water. Forget about the build cost, but just the annual O&M costs to operate such a massive undertaking is about $100 billion a year. This includes the energy (oil and gas) needed to operate the plants.

    The PG also has their water problems cut out for them. Iraq faces both the Tigris and Euphrates running dry in 25 years, KSA is not as bad off but not by much, and rest of the Gulf. Collectively they are faced with spending upwards of 50% of oil revenue to make water. Oops. That could be a major cause of conflicts.

    Reply
  169. I lived for several years in Italy, Switzerland, US and now Sweden. I continue to read about the ‘Swedish catastrophe’ and it simply not true.

    Of course every nation has social tensions and areas more prone to criminality than others, but when inquiring about these issues I have been told verbatim ‘yes that one is really a bad neighborhood… imagine there was even an homicide… it happened ten years ago…’

    Crime perception is different in different cultures and affect statistics.

    You can verify what I am saying searching:

    ‘Facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden’ at government(dot)se (in english)

    Reply
  170. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and I am a subscriber to his emails. I know more than you do…and certainly what Brian does, when it comes to Zeihan and his positions. “Zeihan says his war is fought over oil” So? That means it is fought over it. It is not because of it. Your statement “Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil” clearly means the latter, not the former. The oil is just a means to an end. Mostly to stop cut the Saudis off from their main source of funding when the open warfare starts. “eading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices” No, he meant just that it is a target to hit SA the hardest. Again, I’ve read his books. “…that Iranian oil production would also be shut down” Which will happen when the Saudis hit them first, anyway. What? You think that when the Big Fight goes public (they have already been fighting at lower levels..Yemen for example) they are going to refrain from hitting the others oil terminals? What about the tankers that get hit…either on purpose or on accident. The world’s shipping insurers won’t cover Acts of War any more than insurers in any other field does.

    Reply
  171. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and I am a subscriber to his emails. I know more than you do…and certainly what Brian does when it comes to Zeihan and his positions.Zeihan says his war is fought over oil””So? That means it is fought over it. It is not because of it. Your statement “”””Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil”””” clearly means the latter”””” not the former.The oil is just a means to an end. Mostly to stop cut the Saudis off from their main source of funding when the open warfare starts.””””eading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices””””No”” he meant just that it is a target to hit SA the hardest. Again”” I’ve read his books. “”””…that Iranian oil production would also be shut down””””Which will happen when the Saudis hit them first”””” anyway.What? You think that when the Big Fight goes public (they have already been fighting at lower levels..Yemen for example) they are going to refrain from hitting the others oil terminals? What about the tankers that get hit…either on purpose or on accident. The world’s shipping insurers won’t cover Acts of War any more than insurers in any other field does.”””

    Reply
  172. Perhaps you should read the interview. While the animosity is based on religion, Zeihan says his war is fought over oil, though I misinterpreted one aspect, reading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices, which is still a silly rationalization for him to make as the Iranians would know – as everyone else including Zeihan knows – that Iranian oil production would also be shut down.

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  173. Perhaps you should read the interview. While the animosity is based on religion Zeihan says his war is fought over oil though I misinterpreted one aspect reading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices which is still a silly rationalization for him to make as the Iranians would know – as everyone else including Zeihan knows – that Iranian oil production would also be shut down.

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  174. Iran doesn’t need all those troops. Neither does SA. Not to kill off oil shipments from the PG. All they need to do is fling missiles at ships and oil terminals. That’s it. Then there is Brian’s really, really bad math on the ‘Russia pipelines make Zeihan look like a fool!’: Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports from other sources. Not enough. Not nearly enough. Brian seems to be smoking the same stuff his God, Elon Musk is. Not Zeihan.

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  175. Iran doesn’t need all those troops. Neither does SA.Not to kill off oil shipments from the PG.All they need to do is fling missiles at ships and oil terminals. That’s it.Then there is Brian’s really really bad math on the ‘Russia pipelines make Zeihan look like a fool!’: Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8400000 barrelsRussian pipeline PER DAY: 600000 barrelsThat means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of Chinese DAILY imports from other sources. Not enough. Not nearly enough. Brian seems to be smoking the same stuff his God Elon Musk is. Not Zeihan.

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  176. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. ” With WHAT MATH? Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports. Uh…in what world is China NOT SCREWED if it gets cut off from oil from non-Russian pipeline sources? “Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer.” Um…Zeihan states that. Very clearly. He calls it, “The End of the Bretton Woods System

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  177. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. “”With WHAT MATH? Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8″”400000 barrelsRussian pipeline PER DAY: 600″”000 barrelsThat means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of Chinese DAILY imports. Uh…in what world is China NOT SCREWED if it gets cut off from oil from non-Russian pipeline sources?””””Regardless of what Zeihan or you think”” many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy”” sometimes called the “”””neocon”””” policy”””” is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer.””””Um…Zeihan states that. Very clearly. He calls it”””” “”””The End of the Bretton Woods System”””””””

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  178. I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.” Of course you do. It pîsses all over your Next Big China swang-song. “Zeihan predicts three wars” He never did ANY such thing. He gave likely scenarios. Big difference. “Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.” No he isn’t. The ONLY reason we got involved in the first two Iraq wars was because of oil disruptions to those participating in the Bretton Woods system. That system was to support the US in containing the Soviets in the Cold War. Cold War and the Soviet Union are LONG GONE. Guess you haven’t been paying attention, Brian. But the US electorate on both sides could really care less about the rest of the world, despite whatever the elites in DC think. Trump got elected by catering to this, for crying out loud. ” Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage” Then Brian ‘counters’ this by talking about a GAS pipeline. Hmmm….’gas’ and ‘oil’ are two different things. Two different words, even. THEN he brings up an oil pipeline. So…China will allow itself to become 100% dependent upon Russia for its oil supplies? That’s what would happen if it can’t import oil by tanker anymore, whether Brian realizes that or not. But even worse. He mentions how that means China can import 600,000 tons PER DAY. China’s TOTAL imports of OIL PER DAY is 8,400,000 barrels, Brian. 600,000 barrels is only 7.14% of 8,400,000 barrels. What are YOU smoking, Brian? Or are you like Godfree and under the Wu Mau pay of Beijing? For either being stoned or a wu mau can explain this really crappy math (which I happen to know you usually ARE NOT bad at). “He thinks Japan’s Navy could beat China’s” It can. But Brian’s main hit to credibility is Brian’s really, really bad understanding of politics in general and geopo

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  179. I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.””Of course you do. It pîsses all over your Next Big China swang-song.””””Zeihan predicts three wars””””He never did ANY such thing. He gave likely scenarios. Big difference.””””Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.””””No he isn’t. The ONLY reason we got involved in the first two Iraq wars was because of oil disruptions to those participating in the Bretton Woods system. That system was to support the US in containing the Soviets in the Cold War.Cold War and the Soviet Union are LONG GONE. Guess you haven’t been paying attention”” Brian. But the US electorate on both sides could really care less about the rest of the world despite whatever the elites in DC think. Trump got elected by catering to this”” for crying out loud.”””” Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage””””Then Brian ‘counters’ this by talking about a GAS pipeline. Hmmm….’gas’ and ‘oil’ are two different things. Two different words”” even. THEN he brings up an oil pipeline. So…China will allow itself to become 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} dependent upon Russia for its oil supplies? That’s what would happen if it can’t import oil by tanker anymore whether Brian realizes that or not. But even worse. He mentions how that means China can import 600000 tons PER DAY. China’s TOTAL imports of OIL PER DAY is 8400000 barrels Brian. 600000 barrels is only 7.14{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of 8400000 barrels. What are YOU smoking”” Brian? Or are you like Godfree and under the Wu Mau pay of Beijing? For either being stoned or a wu mau can explain this really crappy math (which I happen to know you usually ARE NOT b”

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  180. Warren is right. China is totally dependent on hydrocarbons, now and forever. Nuclear is only 2% of their energy and will be 4% with their “aggressive” push which has slowed down. Here is what the head of China’s nuclear energy program said earlier this year “achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain, with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.” Why? Energy consumption in China has flatlined. They built significant over-capacity across all areas, especially renewables (40% of which isn’t even connected to the grid).

    The EV play is to reduce pollution, but cars are not the main cause. It’s the coal power plants. And, ironically, it is more so their natgas plants (the water vapor from the natgas emissions “binds” more smog whereas coal creates more particulates). So China is trying to switch cars to EV so that they will need even more hydrocarbons to burn. If they actually build scrubbers and other emission controls remains to be seen.

    Strategically it would be a mistake for China to rely on pipelines. Pipes are a fixed (literally) asset and extremely vulnerable crossing unstable borders. It’s far better to have boats deliver the feedstock. Then you can mix and match for the downstream and better capacity-manage. I am pretty sure the Chinese understand this. At least last time I met with Sinopec they did.

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  181. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily basis. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war? Some people theorize the current EU policy to destabilize the national states through massive immigration is a way to seize central control. When the states can’t solve their internal problems, they will have to turn over power to the central super state.

    Reply
  182. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily basis. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?Some people theorize the current EU policy to destabilize the national states through massive immigration is a way to seize central control. When the states can’t solve their internal problems they will have to turn over power to the central super state.

    Reply
  183. Here is another one for you… Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war. Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily bases. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up. Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real. Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

    Reply
  184. Here is another one for you…Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war.Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily bases. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up.Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real.Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

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  185. I don’t think any of Zeihan’s wars are very plausible, Putin’s enough of a prick to start a war but he’s not stupid, Russia doesn’t have the economy to maintain a major conflict long term. Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil because it would never get to produce oil from the fields even if it could take them.

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  186. I don’t think any of Zeihan’s wars are very plausible Putin’s enough of a prick to start a war but he’s not stupid Russia doesn’t have the economy to maintain a major conflict long term. Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil because it would never get to produce oil from the fields even if it could take them.

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  187. Does this include new oil & nat gas from new pipelines?
    What about China’s hard push into nuclear, solar, wind and anything else they can think of? Their labor costs and regulations allows them to build out nuclear a lot faster than anyone else. And their centralized land policy allows them to take over rivers, land and anything else they need for vast solar and wind farms.
    They can, and are, decreeing electric vehicles to replace gas-powered one, especially i the polluted cities.
    It’s a mistake to think they will be so dependent on oil & nat gas in the future.

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  188. I disagree. I think Zeihan’s predictions are entirely plausible, particularly with regards to Europe/Russia as well as the Middle-east. I think the Middle east conflict is quite likely (>50% chance). I think the Russian/European war is less likely. The East Asia Tanker war could happen. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer. Do remember that ONE of the reasons why people like me voted for Trump is because he campaigned on the premise that foreign interventionism, in general, is pointlessly stupid and ought to be discontinued. If this makes me an “isolationist” so be it. I will make the most of it. Besides, I’ve never understood why isolationism (politically and militarily, not in terms of free trade) is such a dirty word anyways.

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  189. I disagree. I think Zeihan’s predictions are entirely plausible particularly with regards to Europe/Russia as well as the Middle-east. I think the Middle east conflict is quite likely (>50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} chance). I think the Russian/European war is less likely. The East Asia Tanker war could happen. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. Regardless of what Zeihan or you think many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy sometimes called the eocon”” policy”” is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer. Do remember that ONE of the reasons why people like me voted for Trump is because he campaigned on the premise that foreign interventionism in general”” is pointlessly stupid and ought to be discontinued. If this makes me an “”””isolationist”””” so be it. I will make the most of it. Besides”” I’ve never understood why isolationism (politically and militarily”” not in terms of free trade) is such a dirty word anyways.”””

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  190. Hmmm… I’ll go on a limb and generally agree with you, Brian. Thinking on the state-of-the-World, thinking about the geopolitical trends and demographic loading of the present, past and of course somewhat likely future, it seems that the dynamics of Modern Wealth are fairly rapidly evolving. For instance, dear China has become significantly dependent on foreign oil and natural gas imports, as a sizeable fraction of her economy. She continues to flaunt international basic pollution and emissions control mandates, continues to surreptitiously inject far more coal into her energy utilization infrastructure than her beancounters deign to report. After all, everyone knows China is the № 1 emitter both of CO₂ effluent AND … all the toxic byproducts of coal burning and thermal coking. Few ‘authorities’ admit that China’s unregulated coal burning is contributing at the very least 20% more CO₂ than she officially admits responsibility for. But that aside, there won’t be a War Against CO₂ in China. No country or coalition will rise to take her to task. Period. However, the dependence on foreign oil-stock and in-continent gas pipelines is dangerous — and China’s power elite know it. Yet, what’s an Empire to do? I don’t think that the spark-that-starts-the-conflagration will be Saudi Arabian :: Iranian bellicosity, personally. Iran is in a terribly delicate position: ANY warmaking by her against her neighbors stands to not only ostracize them internationally completely, but also would completely collapse their threadbare economy. And what would be the pretense, anyway? “We Iranians are mighty miffed that you OPEC countries are able to export your oil to the world, and we cannot. We’re going to beat you to bits, and you’ll pay a heavy price.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly. Iran doesn’t have hundreds-of-thousands of ready-at-arms troops. She doesn’t enjoy a deep resource of decades of military equipment stockpiling. Her air resources are wan. Her navy is mostly “

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  191. Hmmm… I’ll go on a limb and generally agree with you Brian. Thinking on the state-of-the-World thinking about the geopolitical trends and demographic loading of the present past and of course somewhat likely future it seems that the dynamics of Modern Wealth are fairly rapidly evolving. For instance dear China has become significantly dependent on foreign oil and natural gas imports as a sizeable fraction of her economy. She continues to flaunt international basic pollution and emissions control mandates continues to surreptitiously inject far more coal into her energy utilization infrastructure than her beancounters deign to report. After all everyone knows China is the № 1 emitter both of CO₂ effluent AND … all the toxic byproducts of coal burning and thermal coking. Few ‘authorities’ admit that China’s unregulated coal burning is contributing at the very least 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more CO₂ than she officially admits responsibility for. But that aside there won’t be a War Against CO₂ in China. No country or coalition will rise to take her to task. Period.However the dependence on foreign oil-stock and in-continent gas pipelines is dangerous — and China’s power elite know it. Yet what’s an Empire to do?I don’t think that the spark-that-starts-the-conflagration will be Saudi Arabian :: Iranian bellicosity personally. Iran is in a terribly delicate position: ANY warmaking by her against her neighbors stands to not only ostracize them internationally completely but also would completely collapse their threadbare economy. And what would be the pretense anyway?We Iranians are mighty miffed that you OPEC countries are able to export your oil to the world” and we cannot. We’re going to beat you to bits” and you’ll pay a heavy price.””Sorry”””” that doesn’t fly. Iran doesn’t have hundreds-of-thousands of ready-at-arms troops.She doesn’t enjoy a deep resource of dec”

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  192. I’d like to think that Iran is a rational actor but their buildup in southern Syria and support of Yemeni (and other) rebels in the region makes me think otherwise. If a government is cutting it domestically sometimes the best way to stay in power is to start a war.

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  193. War doesn’t need just one reason or a “good” reason. In the case of SA vs Iran, Iran might simply feel that if they can’t produce and export than that’s enough of a reason to attack SA’s export capacity.

    More likely, a war between SA and Iran will be the result of multiple causes: Shiite vs Sunni, local power balance, economic power, and, most importantly, foreign wars are often expedient solutions to domestic problems. This is true for SA and Iran so, unfortunately, war looks quite likely. I would like to think Iran is smart enough to step back from the brink knowing that it will get bombed back into the Stone Age but its incursions into southern Syria (seriously, what does Iran gain from “destroying” Israel?) make me think otherwise.

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  194. Do a bit of googling. China has outright bulldozed numerous Churches in recent weeks and has hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslims in internment camps. In both cases, “offenders” are being forced to “apologize” for their religion and swear allegiance to the Communist party.

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  195. … and likewise if China were to nuke Japan in such a scenario the U.S. would respond on its behalf (Japan is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella) with the result being north of 250 million dead Chinese and a country in ruins. As you said, nuclear weapons makes the calculus for large-scale war very different and that’s a good thing.

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  196. Good counter-analysis.

    China is preparing for its true permanent threat: The loss of oil imports from the Persian Gulf via a Saudi/Iran conflict or a low-grade hot war with the U.S. A sino-American block-aid could easily cut off gulf oil exports. The obvious circumspection would be a Russian pipeline; as Brian aptly points out is nearly complete.

    However, China’s strategic calculus is massively flawed. They seem unable to transition to true detente with America (wherein lies their best interests.) Conversely, they are building up an unsustainable military they can’t afford, building artificial islands in the South China Sea with offensive capability, and increasing their dependence on Russia – who never had their best interests at heart anyway. And Brian aptly points out that Russia really is a fading petro-state.

    As for Russia opting for expansionism back into east Europe and the Baltic; I say not likely… NATO has active battalions in the Baltic states now, and NATO’s most committed members are in eastern Europe. Finally, we are providing offensive arms to the Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. Russia could find itself in half a dozen unwinnable conflicts that would also isolate them internationally. Again – everyone loses.

    The best choice for Russia and China would be a general disarmament and cessation of the saber rattling. They should cut military spending and move back to a defensive military strategy. Their strategic plans are based on a flawed and paranoid paradigm. No nation is going to attack them; so all the offensive capability is a terrible waste. They should be focused on more fruitful enterprises such as resource development and working towards stabilization of in the Korean and Asian sectors with the aim of creating profitable economic trade zones.

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  197. ⊕1 … I learn something every day. You’re absolutely right; yet I’ve apparently always been misusing flaunt when i should have been using flout. Great catch, thanks! GoatGuy

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  198. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and I am a subscriber to his emails. I know more than you do…and certainly what Brian does, when it comes to Zeihan and his positions.

    “Zeihan says his war is fought over oil”

    So? That means it is fought over it. It is not because of it. Your statement “Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil” clearly means the latter, not the former.

    The oil is just a means to an end. Mostly to stop cut the Saudis off from their main source of funding when the open warfare starts.

    “eading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices”

    No, he meant just that it is a target to hit SA the hardest. Again, I’ve read his books.

    “…that Iranian oil production would also be shut down”

    Which will happen when the Saudis hit them first, anyway.

    What? You think that when the Big Fight goes public (they have already been fighting at lower levels..Yemen for example) they are going to refrain from hitting the others oil terminals? What about the tankers that get hit…either on purpose or on accident. The world’s shipping insurers won’t cover Acts of War any more than insurers in any other field does.

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  199. Perhaps you should read the interview. While the animosity is based on religion, Zeihan says his war is fought over oil, though I misinterpreted one aspect, reading it again I think Zeihan is arguing that the Iranian intent in his future war is to shut down Saudi oil production to boost world oil prices, which is still a silly rationalization for him to make as the Iranians would know – as everyone else including Zeihan knows – that Iranian oil production would also be shut down.

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  200. Iran doesn’t need all those troops. Neither does SA.

    Not to kill off oil shipments from the PG.

    All they need to do is fling missiles at ships and oil terminals. That’s it.

    Then there is Brian’s really, really bad math on the ‘Russia pipelines make Zeihan look like a fool!’:

    Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels
    Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels

    That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports from other sources. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

    Brian seems to be smoking the same stuff his God, Elon Musk is. Not Zeihan.

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  201. “But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening. ”

    With WHAT MATH?

    Total China oil imports PER DAY: 8,400,000 barrels
    Russian pipeline PER DAY: 600,000 barrels

    That means the Russians will be able to replace just 7.14% of Chinese DAILY imports.

    Uh…in what world is China NOT SCREWED if it gets cut off from oil from non-Russian pipeline sources?

    “Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer.”

    Um…Zeihan states that. Very clearly.

    He calls it, “The End of the Bretton Woods System”

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  202. “I disagree with his conclusions and his claims of inevitability.”

    Of course you do. It pîsses all over your Next Big China swang-song.

    “Zeihan predicts three wars”

    He never did ANY such thing. He gave likely scenarios. Big difference.

    “Zeihan is smoking something weird as he thinks just because the US becomes a net exporter of oil that the US would allow Europe and Asia and oil to go to hell while doing almost nothing.”

    No he isn’t. The ONLY reason we got involved in the first two Iraq wars was because of oil disruptions to those participating in the Bretton Woods system. That system was to support the US in containing the Soviets in the Cold War.

    Cold War and the Soviet Union are LONG GONE.

    Guess you haven’t been paying attention, Brian. But the US electorate on both sides could really care less about the rest of the world, despite whatever the elites in DC think. Trump got elected by catering to this, for crying out loud.

    ” Zeihan thinks China would lose out on not getting oil in a severe oil shortage”

    Then Brian ‘counters’ this by talking about a GAS pipeline.

    Hmmm….’gas’ and ‘oil’ are two different things. Two different words, even.

    THEN he brings up an oil pipeline. So…China will allow itself to become 100% dependent upon Russia for its oil supplies? That’s what would happen if it can’t import oil by tanker anymore, whether Brian realizes that or not.

    But even worse. He mentions how that means China can import 600,000 tons PER DAY. China’s TOTAL imports of OIL PER DAY is 8,400,000 barrels, Brian.

    600,000 barrels is only 7.14% of 8,400,000 barrels.

    What are YOU smoking, Brian? Or are you like Godfree and under the Wu Mau pay of Beijing? For either being stoned or a wu mau can explain this really crappy math (which I happen to know you usually ARE NOT bad at).

    “He thinks Japan’s Navy could beat China’s”

    It can.

    But Brian’s main hit to credibility is Brian’s really, really bad understanding of politics in general and geopolitics in particular. He’s made some real faulty predictions before because of this…including those concerning his homeland of Canada.

    Next Big China just isn’t going to happen, one way or another. India and Japan won’t let it.

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  203. Here is another one for you…

    Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war.
    Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily basis. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up.

    Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real.

    Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

    Some people theorize the current EU policy to destabilize the national states through massive immigration is a way to seize central control. When the states can’t solve their internal problems, they will have to turn over power to the central super state.

    Reply
  204. Here is another one for you…

    Internal unrest in some European countries will cause situations resembling civil war.
    Sweden may be closest to this state with a more or less shut-down police force and military combined with extreme MENA immigration through wide open borders. Hundreds of no-go zones where armed gangs patrol the streets. Swedish native population already in minority in the third largest city. People are getting shot on daily bases. Situation is completely out of control and the only response from the authorities is to try and cover it all up.

    Give it a few years and the fireworks will start for real.

    Btw. What is the definition of a civil war? At what level does it shift from unrest into war?

    Reply
  205. I don’t think any of Zeihan’s wars are very plausible, Putin’s enough of a prick to start a war but he’s not stupid, Russia doesn’t have the economy to maintain a major conflict long term. Iran would never consider invasion to get control of oil because it would never get to produce oil from the fields even if it could take them.

    Reply
  206. I disagree. I think Zeihan’s predictions are entirely plausible, particularly with regards to Europe/Russia as well as the Middle-east. I think the Middle east conflict is quite likely (>50% chance). I think the Russian/European war is less likely. The East Asia Tanker war could happen. But the new pipelines being built from Russia to China helps to reduce the chances of this happening.

    Regardless of what Zeihan or you think, many of us are coming to agree that the entire interventionist foreign policy, sometimes called the “neocon” policy, is a complete waste of time and resources and offers absolutely zero benefit to the American citizen and taxpayer. Do remember that ONE of the reasons why people like me voted for Trump is because he campaigned on the premise that foreign interventionism, in general, is pointlessly stupid and ought to be discontinued. If this makes me an “isolationist” so be it. I will make the most of it. Besides, I’ve never understood why isolationism (politically and militarily, not in terms of free trade) is such a dirty word anyways.

    Reply
  207. Hmmm… I’ll go on a limb and generally agree with you, Brian. Thinking on the state-of-the-World, thinking about the geopolitical trends and demographic loading of the present, past and of course somewhat likely future, it seems that the dynamics of Modern Wealth are fairly rapidly evolving.

    For instance, dear China has become significantly dependent on foreign oil and natural gas imports, as a sizeable fraction of her economy. She continues to flaunt international basic pollution and emissions control mandates, continues to surreptitiously inject far more coal into her energy utilization infrastructure than her beancounters deign to report. After all, everyone knows China is the № 1 emitter both of CO₂ effluent AND … all the toxic byproducts of coal burning and thermal coking.

    Few ‘authorities’ admit that China’s unregulated coal burning is contributing at the very least 20% more CO₂ than she officially admits responsibility for.

    But that aside, there won’t be a War Against CO₂ in China.
    No country or coalition will rise to take her to task.
    Period.

    However, the dependence on foreign oil-stock and in-continent gas pipelines is dangerous — and China’s power elite know it. Yet, what’s an Empire to do?

    I don’t think that the spark-that-starts-the-conflagration will be Saudi Arabian :: Iranian bellicosity, personally. Iran is in a terribly delicate position: ANY warmaking by her against her neighbors stands to not only ostracize them internationally completely, but also would completely collapse their threadbare economy.

    And what would be the pretense, anyway?

    “We Iranians are mighty miffed that you OPEC countries are able to export your oil to the world, and we cannot. We’re going to beat you to bits, and you’ll pay a heavy price.”

    Sorry, that doesn’t fly.
    Iran doesn’t have hundreds-of-thousands of ready-at-arms troops.
    She doesn’t enjoy a deep resource of decades of military equipment stockpiling.
    Her air resources are wan.
    Her navy is mostly “inflatables”.
    Her army’s conscripts aren’t regularly getting paid.

    Nope. Not much of a threat, that.
    To anyone.

    If there is to be a broad regional war, I think it might come from a surprisingly overlooked quarter.

    I can imagine a large African war, starting between Nigeria and Congo, for example. Or whatever testosterone fueled countries are at each others’ throats due to far increased demographic populations and finite food-water-fuel resources. I don’t see India taking on Pakistan or vice versa. I don’t see China herself picking a fight with any country of the world, let alone her neighbors. I don’t think Russia has the bâhlls to commit greater expansionist schemes in the Baltic or elsewhere on her borders.

    In short, there just ain’t a lot of sparkplugs to fire.
    Anywhere.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

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