Peter Zeihan Makes Bad Predictions With Bad Premises

Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist who specializes in global energy, demographics and security. He has been quoted in national and international media on a variety of geopolitical topics.

He makes a prediction in the video below about the breakup China and collapse of Germany. He bases this prediction on the assertion that the world has only been ordered from the start of Bretton Woods to today. This is from 1944 to today. On 15 August 1971, Bretton Woods ended when the US pulled out of the gold system. Zeihan is referring to the Pax Americana period. Pax Americana (Latin for “American Peace”) is a term applied to the concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the world beginning around the middle of the 20th century. It was caused by the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States. Although some would also credit several powers having nuclear weapons.

The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan after the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. The Bretton Woods system was the first example of a fully negotiated monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among independent states.

Zeihan ignores the Pax Britannica. Pax Britannica (Latin for “British Peace”) was the period of relative peace between the Great Powers during which the British Empire became the global hegemonic power and adopted the role of a global police force. Between 1815 and 1914, a period referred to as Britain’s “imperial century”, around 10,000,000 square miles (26,000,000 km2) of territory and roughly 400 million people were added to the British Empire. Britain’s Royal Navy controlled most of the key maritime trade routes and enjoyed unchallenged sea power.

Zeihan Predictions

Zeihan postulates that because the US economy is not needing much world trade that the US will abandon protecting the world’s sea routes and world trade will collapse.

The US will not need to import oil by 2020. This is asserted by Zeihan and Nextbigfuture agrees that the US will not need to import oil by 2020. This will drive the percentage the US economy that is world trade down from 7% now to 1 or 2% when Canada and Mexico and Central America are excluded.

However, Nextbigfuture notes that the US will start exporting large amounts of oil, coal and liquid natural gas. Nextbigfuture does not believe that the fracking will stay at breakeven between production and demand.

Zeihan predicts that America will withdraw from its global cop role.

Zeihan predicts that without America as cop that world will go into fighting and chaos and world trade will collapse. This will be followed by the collapse of countries.

Zeihan predicts that Germany’s economy will collapse to one fourth its current level without trade in a world of Chaos.

Zeihan predicts China will break apart without world trade or will be united but very poor.

Zeihan has an implicit prediction that neither China or any other power would step into any power void left by the withdrawal of the USA.

Zeihan also predicts the rise of Japan, Turkey and Argentina in a world of Chaos.

Why Zeihan Predictions are Crap

Which countries are Itching for Wars? Which wars were being prevented by Pax Americana?

Nextbigfuture asserts the US has been a lazy and selective and sometimes ineffective global cop.

Syria was itching for a civil war. And America did what? The Syrian civil war was stopped? The Syrian civil war happened anyway.

The US protected Taiwan from being bullied by China back in the 1990s. Is the US going to step up for Taiwan now or in any future conflict? Was their oil or trade reasons why the US did step up to protect Taiwan? Was it part of the Anti-soviet cold war deal?

Russia wanted to attack Ukraine a few years ago. What happened there with Pax American? Russia did attack and took Crimea.

Zeihan says Germany collapses without Pax Americana. Germany imports more than half its energy. OK from where? Russia, Norway, and the United Kingdom are the largest exporters of oil to Germany. Russia would send Germany more oil and natural gas without US interference. Germany is the world’s largest natural gas importer, as 22.6% of its primary energy use comes from gas. Germany imports gas from the Netherlands and Norway. In addition, gas comes from Russia via the Nord Stream; in 2016, Germany imported 49.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Gazprom. A terminal in Emden opened for gas from Norway in 2016.

Germany and France swap electricity over their grid. Germany dumps overproduction of solar and wind electricity and France provides nuclear power when Germany needs it.

France and Germany would disconnect their power relationship? Russia and Norway would not provide oil and gas to Germany.

China could not protect its shipping trade without the USA? China is biggest trade partner of Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and many other Asian countries. Is Zeihan saying that there will be wars in Asia without the USA military providing security? Which wars? How does China’s trade get messed up?

There was up to 30% of GDP involved in World Trade During Pax Britannica and 10% before

More of the World GDP is involved in trade from 1970 to today. However, expansion of world trade is also attributable to the invention of containers. The containerization of the world.

Nextbigfuture does not believe the assertion that the US will withdraw from global management or sea lane protection.
Nextbigfuture does not believe the assertion that the US will not need or want trade. As stated, the US will develop large exports of fossil fuels.

If US Withdraws its Military?

Nextbigfuture does not believe that the US only gets involved in managing the world purely out of economic self-interest. Under Trump there is more America first and America self-interest driven decisions. However, the US military-industrial complex wants to be active to perpetuate itself.

Travel and Tourism is Important and Thrives in an Ordered World

Zeihan ignores travel and tourism and its importance. Or it is implied that it also unnecessary or that it too will get wrecked or that somehow it will be unaffected with world trade collapse.

The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, making a total contribution of 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars to GDP in 2015. The industry was forecasted to contribute more than 2.6 trillion U.S. dollars by 2027.

Global tourism generated $7.6 trillion for the global GDP in 2014, making it one the world’s fastest growing and largest sectors. The travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest commercial service sector industry.

Thinking only Sea Lanes When Rail, Air, Pipeline, High Power Lines and Truck Matter as Well

Air cargo transports over US$6.4 trillion worth of goods which is 35% of world trade.

China has a rail route to Europe. On 2017, this moved about 2% of China’s trade but projections are this could increase to 10-15% in ten years.

China is building pipelines to get oil and gas from Russia and other sources.

China is building a super electric grid to move up to 150 power plants of electricity from Russia and China to Jopan and South Korea.

Japan, Turkey and Argentina will Rise as Future Great Powers

Zeihan said Japan will dominate Asia. Japan will dominate China. Implied is that Japan will dominate India.

Here is a link to my article about Zeihan having a history of predicting China’s collapse and getting it wrong and I covered the wrongness of Zeihan in regards to China and Japan. Nextbigfuture disagrees about the Zeihans predictions.

Zeihan said Turkey will be a great power in Europe and the Middle East.

Zeihan said Argentina will dominate South and Central America. I have an article about how bad the Zeihan prediction is for Argentina to dominate South America. I compare Argentina and Brazil.

Japan has a low level of stabilization with a badly aging population.

Turkey is at the bottom of the emerging market list. Turkey’s economy is forecast to grow 0.8 percent in 2019, down from an estimated 3.5 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Inflation reached 25.2 percent in October, the highest level since 2003, eroding real yields.

Some People in the Comments Defend Zeihan and his Predictions

I will agree that Zeihan has decent population pyramid analysis and some of his other analysis and problem identification is useful.

However, I do not agree with the end predictions and conclusions that emerge after the analysis.
I have listed what are some Zeihan predictions and I have put up counter predictions. So we will see who is right.

There does need to some time ranges on the predictions.

Several geopolitical and economic observers have predicted the breakup of China. Others have predictions about the USA and other countries. Many are not as specific to exact times and precision on conditions for easy accurate – inaccurate – right – wrong judgments.

Here is a link to my article about Zeihan having a history of predicting China’s collapse and getting it wrong and I covered the wrongness of Zeihan in regards to China and Japan.

I have an article about how bad the Zeihan prediction is for Argentina to dominate South America. I compare Argentina and Brazil.

I will form up some falsifiable geopolitical and economic predictions.

151 thoughts on “Peter Zeihan Makes Bad Predictions With Bad Premises”

  1. I wonder how long the CCP can keep spending on the military, their own infrastructure, the Belt & Road projects, and building infrastructure for strategic third world countries with their “debt diplomacy” approach. You can’t shut down 20 major industries for two months to keep the air clean for the Winter Olympics, practice “Zero COVID” enforcement, with industry and small businesses shut down, and have deep pockets. The CCP depends on contributions from its 23 provinces, and unless they are successful, and many are struggling, the CCP suffers. You can only spread yourself around so far. Hybrid capitalism works up to a point.

  2. And how is Mr. Zeihan looking now Brian? Did you read The Accidental Superpower which he wrote in 2014? Did you notice the section of the book where he said within 8 years Russia will (while it’s Army is still young enough) make run at Ukraine? Well guess what? It’s 2022 buddy. Turn on your TV. Zeihan has been incredibly accurate on many fronts. I think you need to find a new career path.

  3. The US dosen't make anything. For example, the phones that you are using to comment with are put toghter by many different counteries (that's only one example). Do you all think that the US is going to bring back all of it's manufacturing? I really don't see that happening, not anytime soon anyways.The US is going to have it's hands full with infrastructure and a new form of power gird which is way over due. This is going to cost a ton of capital and man power. Why would these companies bring back thier factories when so many Americans will have good paying jobs and at least a $15 minimum wage to boot? Of course the US needs the rest of the world and the author of this article makes a good point about travle.

  4. couldn’t agree more, your point is beautifully made. If you were to watch one of Zeihan’s talks, he actually mentions your exact point. He sights exactly the same Syria events as the US pulling out of the international stage.

  5. Ha, ha, Bluebucket, you are doing exactly what you accuse Wang of – i.e. you offer no point by point refutation of his comments.

  6. Belt and Roads is about control and not economic growth or trade. The problem for china is they do not have a military designed to support it. It is flushing money sown the drain that china will never see a return on because it will be a trivial exercise of power for India or the u.s. to undermine the entire effort

  7. And you are fundamentally wrong. China’s gdp is crashing and the trendline on that one does not bode well for Xi’s health. As for the phase 1vdeal china made major concessions that they no intentions of completing. As for the farm part of the deal that is to prevent famine in china because the government screwed up its response to African Swine Fever and the Fall Army Worm, which are devastating Asian agriculture.

  8. China’s over a trillion dollar Belt and Road says otherwise. BRI is currently growing at 8% annually, despite competition from the gargantuan Blue Dot. LOL

    Trump lost this trade war like a champ. He will go back to China’s original deal of purchasing US farm goods when the need arises. Sure, the western propaganda rags will spin this as a win to save face, but true experts will tear this “deal” and Trump apart. It is a pity, though, since Trump is probably, despite his actions, the least anti China of the bunch. For, in the end, China will continue to remake itself under the 2025 made in China banner. Everything that was in contention, such as the ip thief nonsense, will be swept under rug, after the US finally realises it can’t contain China. Huawei will continue to lead in 5G technology and shares of the world market. It will also continue its healthy growth and breaking revenue records at the same time, despite(or because of) US sanctions and pressures on its allies. Tesla, BYD and a host of other Chinese electric vehicle companies, will help make China the NEV capital of the world and lead the battery technology race. Besides Tesla, there are many other US companies, quietly helping China becoming the most technological advanced in the world. In the end, it works out for everyone: China gets to be the top dog faster and those companies get big paychecks. A win-win, just like every China’s deals.

    So on China, Zeihan really screwed the pooch.

  9. I like that you’ve taken up the mantle against Zeihan. But I’m not reading arguments that take Zeihan seriously, here.

    One example is the small segment “If US Withdraws its Military?”: You wrote, “Nextbigfuture does not believe that the US only gets involved in managing the world purely out of economic self-interest.” This is not a counterpoint to Zeihan, this is in accordance with Zeihan.

    Zeihan doesn’t argue that the US secures trade routes out of economic self-interest. This is a mischaracterization of his arguments. Zeihan argues that the US started securing international trade as a bribe to gain allies against the Soviets back when that was relevant. That was the only reason. The US puts its navy out on the seas, without charging for its services, to gain enthusiastic allies who would gladly defend against the Soviets on the land border. There was no other major reason why the US proposed Bretton Woods.

    Now, that reason no longer exists, so the US should, LOGICALLY, pull out its 70 year-old security agreement. The Soviet threat has passed. For twenty years we’ve been trying to keep alive a dead corpse of an agreement purely out of status quo. Now, gravity is kicking back in. THAT is Zeihan’s argument in short.

    If you read his book carefully, he is not happy about these projections. His personal politics are almost the exact opposite of all his projections.

    I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt when I clicked on this article. You straw-man him about half.

  10. “Nextbigfuture does not believe that the US only gets involved in managing the world purely out of economic self-interest” – stopped reading at this point. how naive can you possibly get?

  11. Zeihan is pretty specific about where he predicts conflict and disorder. And, it is a far cry from general global disorder. And, those countries running mercantilist trade policies with their economies highly dependent on exports are likely losers. Germany is high on the list. Whether he is correct; we will see. And, I have not seen in any of his videos a discussion of the US relinquishing control of the oceans. But, definitely a much more selective use of force depending on our interests and our “allies” holding up their end of the bargain. Along with more favorable trade relations if they want our support. And, a greater hands off posture letting the locals sort(fight) it out and weighing in as it serves our interests. Much as we did in the conflict between Iran and Iraq.

  12. Today, Japan does not have lasers or rail gun. Hell, they don’t even have a competitive missile to shoot at China. China, on the other hand, has hypersonic missiles that goes Mach 20. There is no stopping these birds. So in an exchange, China will be unscathed while Japan could be devastated. This mighty Japanese military exists only in your imagination. Why stop at rail guns? Phasers and quantum torpedoes can do so much more damage.

  13. Stranger things have happened. Think of the fight between the Yemeni Rebels against Saudi Arabia. On the one side you have the most modern arms money can buy, on the other side you got a group of people with flip-flops and AK-47s. How is that war going? Presumably, Western Europeans have all got their flushing toilets. Have they got a fifth gen fighter of their own yet? Are they about the field their own flat top any time soon?

  14. 36.2 percent of rural households have inside toilets, while those using outhouses account for 58.6 percent. Some 4.69 million rural households, or 2 percent of the total, have no toilets.

  15. Yes, but Russia doesn’t have the capacity to supply all of chinas needs, plus China doesn’t want to be dependent on Russia. Russia also has a fear of China taking Russia’s Far East to which it has a historical claim (south China sea)…,,so are not good friends like the USA and Canada.

  16. Having the oil and gas then getting it to market are very different things… The Russians need western tech to get the oil and gas out of the ground and to move it to market across most of Asia to China which is no short trip. Very vulnerable and expensive given the climate, terrain and distances.

  17. Funny I read that and thought the same thing. Now the Brits are lurking in the shadows to overthrow the US.

  18. I just saw his lecture on Youtube, I was stunted by his bold misleading prediction and how his wrong childish knowledge about China, how can a guy like him could come to a stage to share his understanding of this complicated world. You have too many con men.

  19. When you ask who will fight and why, your ignoring that alof of his chaos is based off of chaos in the middle east and energy markets. They arnt just going to blockade port for no reason, its because of a disruption of in the middle east. Also you focus on Germany’s imports of energy, Peter focuses on the dependence of exports, not imports. Im not an expert but I dont think you addressed his points effectively. Will Saudi Arabia and Iran go at it if the US leave? Will that disrupt energy for almost everyne? Will that lead to free trade being challenged? Will the USA be there to enforce free trade or will the not….. these are the important questions

  20. Sorry people. I had used the search function to find Brian’s more recent article to respond to since I did not bother when he posted it and for some reason did not noticed that it showed the older article first.

  21. Snicker. ROTFLMAO. Good One. Pull the other one it has bells and whistles on It. Look at China Coal reserves and consumption rates and you will see why China made the promise that they did to get off of coal and when they promised to get off of coal. What happens to China when the inevitable shooting war in the Persian Gulf Happens? That is up to 18 mbbl/day removed from the market and the U.S. and Russia besides Saudi Arabia capable of meeting ANY of that Demand IF they decide to do so.

  22. How about we compare predictions Brian?
    China officially easing the one child policy to add 1-2 million births per year and ending re-education labor camps
    China Dropped Its One-Child Policy. So Why Aren’t Chinese Women Having More Babies?
    China’s two-child policy is having unintended consequences

    Reluctant to pay for multiple maternity leaves, companies are choosing not to hire young women
    China’s Detention Camps for Muslims Turn to Forced Labor

  23. I also believe Zeihan is wrong. He is very pro Trump and believes America is first and should be like a bully trying to get their way.
    What he does not realize is that other nations are getting tired of America and are finding ways to not depend on them. The chinese currency is replacing the dollar. The dollar itself is not worth anything and they are in debt. The debt ceiling is high and about 15% of the 1500 companies can’t even pay there debt.
    Then they think shale is the future and are not aware that their own poorer are becoming poorer and the nation as a whole is become more dumber and unhealthy.
    China is indirectly making africa their own china and are investing in technology.

  24. Firstly Russia sells it products both ways and won’t necessarily have enough for both the European market and Asian market (It sells to Japan as well) so China will have to compete with two markets that for the foreseeable future have much wealthier customers.

  25. Simulations now (~mid 2018) tend to agree that an all-out war between China and Japan would see a marginal victory to China.

  26. I wouldn’t necessarily assume a US-India alliance. I’ve had Indians say to me that the only country India hates more than China, is America.

  27. Are you for real? ‘Chona’ is about ‘Chona’-controlled trade. This ‘free trade’ siren-song of the ‘Chonese’ is just one to lure everyone in. Wake up.

  28. I admit I have not watched all of Zeihans video nor read all of his books. From the dozen or so that I watched, and some website articles. I wrote my point of view and my analysis.

  29. So, we will not care if our allies like Australia or Japan or England cannot navigate freely? I disagree.

    • I think what he’s saying is that the global shipping network may revert to spheres of influence. It is a valid concept to see an American navy protecting shipping in the western hemisphere, while maintaining an Atlantic link and a link to the Pacific that takes in Japan, Indonesia, Australia and NZ. China’s carriers are not nuclear so have to refuel every week or so…they could never use them to project further out as a result. His primary premise about China’s demographics is 100% correct in either case…they have no Millenial generation and they do not have access to immigration to top up as US does. I see anyone with means under 40 heading for the exits of china towards the west within 10 years as reality sets in.

  30. Russia, Russia, Russia is all we’ve heard in the past two years. But there’s evidence of British influence. Perhaps we should begin considering Britain, Britain, Britain.

  31. They already have.
    They are all part of China belt and road project and destined to become CHina colonies soon

  32. Zeihan is largely paid to speak at shale conferences. He’s a puppet of that industry. The truth is shale is expensive and non-scaleable and much of the world has been funding this post-2008. As that pulls away and US real estate collapses with regional banks going under, we will start to understand the true state of play

  33. They won’t forget that Zeihan and crew were calling the Japanese an existential threat just a few years ago. Japan will not stay in the US orbit long term

  34. Chinese are isolating India and will have control of East Africa. May be able to go from Africa and then overland through Pakistan

  35. Well since China has attacked and taken territory from EVERY single country on its border and calls itself the middle of the world… Any of its neighbors will not do ANYTHING China wants anytime soon.

  36. Zeihan has been making “predictions” for a mere 5 yrs… Before that he was Friedmans puppet ventriloquist for 5 yrs… Are you unhinged and deranged?

  37. This is how a thread devolves into chaos – idiots without any kind of a firm grasp of the topic they’re flinging around their poo over.

  38. and a tariff regime expands the tools for a politician to shake down corporations and industries. In the U.S. it has not historically been corporations bribing Representatives and Senators but Representatives and Senators shaking them down. Just go look up big oil donations to various elected officials after those companies have been raked over the coals in a Congressional or Senatorial hearing. It is not their money and they are more than willing to fork out the money so they do not have to experience such unpleasantness again. See what happened to Microsoft in that regard.

  39. I think Democrats and Republicans can be bought by multinationals, foreign nations and anyone else with enough money. See Clinton’s combined net worth of $240+ million. Harry Reid net worth at $10 million. Reid was a city attorney and then was in politics constantly since 1968.

    Pelosi has a net worth of $16 million

    William Jefferson, a Democrat with $90,000 in his fridge

    Politicians get involved in lobbying and other ways to enrich themselves.

    Top politician speaking fees

  40. Yes, I agree that Japan is using IVF a great deal and I have noted in several articles about the unnoticed trends and potential in IVF.

    I have had various articles and predictions in regards to IVF growth and its importance for Transhumanism since 2014.

    Free medical fertility and bribes could boost Japan’s population in 2100 by 50%.

    Over 5% of babies in Japan are from invitro fertilization. In 2016, Japan had a record 447,790 in-vitro fertilization. This resulted in 54,110 births which was an all-time high and up 3,109 from the previous year. The state provides subsidies for married couples to go through the IVF treatment, while local governments including the Tokyo metropolitan government also run similar programs. 44,678 babies were born through IVF treatment using frozen embryos or eggs, accounting for some 80 percent of all IVF births in 2016.

  41. NO ONE in the region likes or trusts China. ESPECIALLY with China’s predatory economic development behavior in Pacifica and Africa. China has shown that only fools and those willing to sell out their countries do deals with China.

  42. They will not need to do that, as the only villain in the region (or the main one ) that is the US will not dare to attack them, Capisci?
    The US IS the problem
    China is in many ways the solution

  43. Imports still happened even during the heights of our tariff regimes. What people fail to understand is that Democrats are tax and spend and it has been shown that historically the Laffer curve on tariffs is around 65+/-%., and that comes to damn near a teillion dollars in revenue with the reduction in trade because of increased internal production. Most free traders lie either deliberately or theough ignorance. IF trade was cut off all at once or if tariffs were raised all st once then the u.s. would be seriously harmed. But THAT is why Trump has been creating so much uncertainty and slowly ratcheting up the Pressure. If all he wanted to do was end trade with China he can legally do it with a stroke of a pen. But that is not his goal. He is herding cats.

  44. Can you explain how Zeihan has been more right? I am curious which of his predictions have you been impressed? I believe I have things to learn from Zeihan. Zeihan and Friedman have been able to create 100 person consulting companies with big corporate clients. This is in spite of Friedman writing a book in 1991 predicting a full scale war between Japan and the USA within 2 decades. Zeihan has been predicting the collapse of China for 14 or so years. I see video after video of him saying how tiny China’s market was in 2000-2010. China’s consumer market was less than France and about the size of Spain. China’s system will collapse like a house of cards. There were various points in the past where he said China would breakup, disintegrate, not be there. He has now shifted to it will isolate and become poor. He talked about China worrying about the South of China breaking away.

    According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Iranian crude exports have fallen to 1 million bpd in November. So Iran is already dropped from 2.5 million bpd to 1 million bpd. The oil supply demand balance is still more supply than demand. This is why prices fell. US (Texas) production went way up. Less US import demand, then more supply for China to buy. China needs 10+ million bpd imported. It produces about 3.5 million bpd. So Iran dropping out 1.5 million bpd is not end of anything. Overall world supply is 100+ million bpd this year and heading to 103 million bpd in 2019. That is without depending upon Iran

  45. Who said the U.S. would stop lighting fires and trashing countries? Not Peter Zeihan. In fact he makes the point that the rate of destructive u.s. military action will go up. What will end will be all of the waste that foolish efforts to rebuild a country entail. Imagine Iraq and the world if the U.S. had left after trashing Iraq and taking down the country with a warning to Iran, Syria and Turkey that they would be next if they got involved in the mess created. It is FAR easier to destroy than it is to rebuild. How much treasure and resources did he u.s. commit to Japan and Europe after WWII ended. 70+ years and tens of trillions of dollars

  46. Riddle me this. How long does it take to make an 18 year old chinese worker. No one how has kids answer for him. Because if he has not raised sich a person his answer will be wrong in every way but mathematically. But it will take the full duration of the One Child policy to undo rhe majority of the damage done by the one China policy. That policy trades a short term advantage for a long term hardship for the nation and its people.

  47. You assume that Thailand will go along with that short of invasion and the first island chain does not protect China, it contains China. The ONLY way those islanda would a protectove barrier is if China formed anan economic-military alliance with those countries and that will never happen. So their only other option to set up such a defense would be to invade those countries and likewise China does not have the capacity to do that. As for the artificial islands they will be about as effective as Corregidor and Fort Drum. For Island fortresses to work they have to properly supported and once sea and airborne support for them is cut off they will die the same way that bypassed japanese garrisoned islands did in WWII. IF it came to fighting between the u.s. and China. I will also pount that cyber war only works for China as long as the undersea fiberoptic cables remain functional ans are not cut.

  48. You do not need to invade to win and there IS a reason Japan has pushed to hard on humanoid robots.

  49. As for China and Japan any Chinese missiles targeted at any shipping on the east coast of Japan has to fly over the width of the countey thereby giving Japan ample time to shoot down any such missles. If Japan goes in for laser and rail gun defenses instead of missiles they will win ANY missile lobbing contest.

  50. Wrong. By the time shale oil is played out we will either be extracting oil from the oil shale thanks to a Canadian company or be droving electric vehicles with far better batteries. Zeihan does not pretend that shale oil will last for every but the fact IS that the recoverable shale oil reserves in the u.s. are on par with that of Saudi Arabia.

  51. Do remeber what Carter can do witj less than a pen and a phone can be undone just as easily. The u.s. policy is One China, and that China can just as easily be the Republic of China rather quickly depending on how things go. If Trump or Pence abrogates the announcement that Cater had released the Sino-U.S. mutual defense treaty would immediately be back in force unless Taiwan then withdrew from the treaty.

  52. Lets be clear on thw new world order. Freedom of OUR Navigation. The u.s. will give to shits about anyone elses shipping.

  53. And Zeihan has been clear on that and it along with the mega death that American indifference and a reduction in global trade will bring is the reason he is SO unhappy with what he sees happening.

  54. Only where they can enforce their influence and only insofar as the u.s. lets them. If they step on u.s. interests they will get stomped on. Also everyone DO remember that Mattis was a Marine during the Iranian hostage crisis, the Marine barracks bombing and Black Hawk down and I am sure he has a little list and none of them shall be missed. So when Trump orders him out of Asscanistan and Kurdistan do not be surprised if Trump gives him the green light to take care of that list as long as he makes Trump look good on his other profitable military adventures and IF Trump DOES go militaristic it will be purely for a profit and future u.s. territories. DO reread Trumps statements on Iraqi oil.

  55. It is not arrogance. It is not giving a shit amd refusing to be taken advantage of. The era of free rises is over and if you piss off the u.s. in any manner expect an unconstrained response because the era of Europe and other allies being able to constrain the u.s. response is over. You want access to the u.s. market you will have to buy access. You want u.s. military protection you will have to buy that as well. The era of free riders for China and everyone else is over and it comes 1 to 2 decades too soon for China.

  56. We will know rather soon the fate of China. Thanks to the Democrats and the Deep State we know what path Trump is going to follow since it is the path of least resistance to 2020 and victory for him. Putting the screws to Russia and China short of war while taking advantage of what military options are available to him in a specific time frame in regards to Iran-Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Do not be surprised if he makes a deal with Mexico to reestablish the Bracero program that President Johnson (a democrat) ended for lets say 11 million guest workers but they can ONLY apply in Mexico. That would force whatever percentage the 22-30 million illegals aliens in the u.s. to go back to Mexico to apply just in time for the census thereby removing them from the count.

  57. The funny this is that Peter Zeihan is that rarest species of all a free trae environmental liberal who does not WANT what he sees happening to happen. But he realizes his side blew it since the fall of the USSR and have lost the argument.

  58. Nope. Guranteed u.s. oil shipments of the best crude oil in the world or the right blend of oil they need if they have more advanced refineries. If the U.S. decides to use the coastal refineries to EXPORT refined fuels and to export crude oil while building modular refineries that can be built quickly in the interior of the country they can take advantage of any disruptions they create. There is this nice canadian company that is in the process of soing to oil shale what the u.s. has done to shale oil and that would allow the u.s. the option of basically removing any oil producing country except Russia from the game table at their discretion.

  59. You have to look at the map. For a Japanese war ship to even reach the Strait of Malacca without entering SCS, it cannot pass through Philipines or Indonesia (both countries would not involve itself in a war like that). So it has to take a very long route to to a place with no land support. The Chinese have access to ports in Pakistan etc. The Chinese navy is already much bigger than the Japanese navy. If the Chinese control the remainder of SCS (more island grabbing from Vietnam and island building), the Straight of Malacca will also come under the Chinese AAAD. There is just no way for the Japanese to do this. They will buckle under the Chinese if the Americans leave.

  60. “Nextbigfuture asserts the US has been a lazy and selective and sometimes ineffective global cop.” We usually try not to militarily interfere in the internal politics of countries unless our interests are directly impinged upon. Freedom of navigation would be something we would directly enforce even up to war, someones civil war usually not.

    “Syria was itching for a civil war. And America did what? The Syrian civil war was stopped? The Syrian civil war happened anyway.” Look what happened to Iraq when we decided to really do something. There were no good guys in the Syrian civil war. One side was a dictator like his father before him, the opposition were Islamists like al Qaeda and ISIS. Hard to drum up public support for military intervention or justify financial support for that.

    “The US protected Taiwan from being bullied by China back in the 1990s. Is the US going to step up for Taiwan now or in any future conflict?” Depends on China’s actions. Don’t be surprised if China wakes up one day with nuclear weapons in Taiwan. We don’t want to cause unnecessary conflict, but if China keeps making mean faces at too many people, especially allies like Japan or the Philippines or even Vietnam or ASEAN, well that is one way to put a cork in the bottle.

  61. Brian (the author) should stick to presenting facts and not interpreting them, except maybe on an editorial page or something. Occasionally he can’t help but rant about something, and as you point out, the rants often appeal more to emotion than to logic. And you’d never mistake his writing for a trained journalist or copy editor. But we still keep coming back to his website…

  62. “The US would be more likely to restore Anglo-Americanism,”

    Seriously? U.S. / UK relations have never been so low as now. The Britons have signed petitions to not even allow Trump on their land. Trumps likes his tyrant buddies, Putin and Kim Jong Un more than he likes any leaders in western Europe (or North America). Just listen to his comments describing their leaders.

  63. “This [oil independence] will drive the percentage the US economy that is world trade down from 7% now to 1 or 2% when Canada and Mexico and Central America are excluded.”

    This seems hard to believe. Unfortunately the charts in wikipedia are out of date, so I’d have to do real research to prove or disprove this, but given all our imports from China and foreign cars, etc, and all our exports to the world (just military/weapon sales is significant), it seems liked it would be more than 7%, even without oil. Certainly more than 1% or 2%.

  64. Japan would be happy to do it if it aligns with U.S. interests. Japan lives under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and also counts the U.S. as one of its largest trading partners. Japan has wisely chosen to avoid developing military force projection and instead has developed (and continues to develop) area denial capabilities. The U.S. doesn’t see Japan as a threat. Accordingly, if the U.S. has to choose between trade with China and trade with Japan, it will choose trade with Japan.

  65. The U.S. is not like Smart or Athens though in that it needs no one. Accordingly, it can do as it pleases. Studying past nations’ actions fails in assessing the future course of U.S. policy IMO. Zeihan is probably closer to the mark than most. Trade has never been about trade to the U.S. It’s about security policy. China’s military is seen as a potential threat by the U.S. so the U.S. has changed course and will now move to contain China militarily, economically, and politically.

  66. Not to mention that China’s army is rather green and far from feared. Deep down, everyone knows that if the U.S. throws its ROEs out the window in a real fight the fight is over.

  67. I think that’s an accurate assessment. If Putin were to push west with the Russian military there’s a very good chance the U.S. would intervene (and the EU would intervene in word). Additionally, because it far more expensive to project force than to defend, there’s a good chance that Russia could not defeat Ukraine on its own.

  68. With no real ability to project power outside of its regional sphere how does this Chona (assuming you meant China :-)) protect free trade?

  69. Venezuela will continue to collapse until the U.S. decides to move against it. The same can be said for Cuba and Nicaragua. All three have been targeted by this administration for action at this point. The question is how far Trump and Bolton intend to take it. Iran is a U.S. Air Force and Navy operation and Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua would be a Navy and Marine operation at the outset, with certain army units taking part and the army running the show post operations. ASSUMING that Bolton and Trump move against any of the three countries in question. But since except for an infrastructure bill nothing domestic is going to get done in the U.S. for the next two years you can safely assume that foreign military operations will be the go to on winning the 2020 election.

  70. The original fighting was not the cake walk that Putin assumed it would be because he wanted to do it on the sly. If he decides to move west using the RUSSIAN OFFICIALLY military instead of pretending that he is using proxi’s, then it is a different thing entirely. He is now coming up against a hard wall on his ability to do ANYTHING to secure Russia’s western border due to demographics. What he wants is for the U.S. to get stuck in a land war somewhere thereby freeing his ability to take direct action without risk.

  71. Japan has the technology and the resources to turn their demographics around within in 18 years of making the decision due to IFV technology. Look to Denmark in this regard. The same cannot be said for China. China made the decision to not develop a fully functioning advanced economic system and instead only developed segments of one, depending upon the rest of the world to fill the void in their system.

  72. Do you honestly expect the DEMOCRATS to retain a trade system where the U.S. subsidizes multinational corporations and foreign nations? Or one where they tilt the playing field even further towards the U.S. from what Trump is even doing. How about a global shipping fee or mandating that only U.S. flagged, U.S. owned and U.S. manned ships will be protected by the U.S. navy unless said fee is paid? Or expanding the Jones Act to ALL shipping entering U.S. ports?

  73. Hardly. While it would be the end of the existing u.s. order, the rest of the world would not enjoy was is built upon the ashes of the former Republic. The U.S. would still exist and would be a substantially different country. Look at U.S. casualty compared to its existing population during the Civil War and compare them to the U.S. population today. That is more than 6.5 million dead equivalent and the U.S. came out of that war stronger than it went into that war. I will point out that the same could be said for the USSR and WWII.
    So your basic assumption is radically flawed.

  74. Not in a time frame that will save the current government. Not to mention they have exactly ONE customer who can process that oil. The U.S., the oil that China got as part of THEIR deal with that country was being sold in the u.s. because China did not want to damage their oil refineries by attempting to use it.

  75. That worked SO well for Russia in regards to Cuba. The U.S. is OLD hat at this and everything the U.S. would be doing would be WELL beyond the reach of the Chinese, short of using ballistic missiles. Which would be a catastrophic escalation for China since they would not officially be the party being targeted by the U.S.

  76. Good luck with that and THAT is not how Iran is going to respond, they are going to do what they did last time and attempt to close the Persian Gulf, not understand that that plays into the hands of the U.S. because the U.S. does not need or want the Persian Gulf to remain open. Saudi Arabia can ship 10mbbl/d from the Red Sea so they will be just fine. It will be Iran and the other Gulf States that will be going down and have to suck up to Saudi Arabia.

  77. You still have to MOVE it to where your customers are and Russia and China are sorely lacking in pipeline capacity heading in the right direction. How successful would they be to be shipping oil from Eastern Russian ports and Western Europe to China (assuming that those countries went along with that idea). It takes decades to build out that type of pipeline network. Sure it can be done but not in a time frame that would matter.

  78. And they have not remotely built out the pipeline networks in China OR Russia to make that possible. THAT takes time to do and they have not done it yet. So you are talking several years after the decision is made before the spigot is turn on on those pipelines once the first shovel full of dirt is moved.
    1.65 mbbl/day will NOT keep China afloat by meeting their 12.8 mbbl/day oil consumption demand.

  79. I’ve read Zeihan’s books and newsletters and watched his presentations. I don’t think that he’s going to turn out absolutely right about every single prediction he’s made, because no one can ever predict the future with total certainty. I do think that his analyses are generally well-reasoned, and backed by a solid understanding of the way geography constrains human beings in their choices more in some places, like Afghanistan, and less in others, like in the USA.

    What really sucks, though, is the way this article is written. Rather than actually bothering to refute Zeihan, the writer questions his premises with an incredulous and mocking tone. The best/worst example of this is right at the conclusion. To Zeihan’s prediction of which countries are likely to be in the best geopolitical position for prosperity during the rest of this century, all you have to say is “ha ha ha to all of that?”

    Seriously? Whoever wrote this should be fired and sent back to middle school. I have never seen such a contemptibly poor criticism of someone else’s work. You cite piles of statistics that will change from year to year, implying that Zeihan is ignorant of them, but totally fail to make any kind of connection that explains why they’re more important than the actual mountains and waterways that shape national economics in the first place. You accuse Zeihan of ignoring the importance of transportation technology, which anyone who’s watched one of his presentations would know he isn’t.

  80. I also wrote up Argentina versus Brazil. Argentina has 45% inflation and 10% unemployment. Brazil had a recession in 2015 and 2016 so Argentina did as well. So how is Argentina’s economy better than Brazil’s or independent of Brazil’s. I also found a 2014 video of Zeihan providing more details of his Brazil hate and love of Argentina. If only Argentina would stop voting in losers like they have for the last 90 years then it would all be great. Argentina has 32% of its people in poverty. I can accept Argentina and Brazil both going down as a reasonable prediction. I just do not see where Argentina fixes all of its problems.

  81. I admit I might be wrong about Venezuela having a coup in 2018. Maduro has been able to do more against his opponents than I thought and his Cuban hired helpers have been able assist keeping the military lid covered. I thought the Venezuelan people and army would have some more people willing to care and overturn Maduro. Venezuela’s oil production is cratering as I predicted. It is heading below 1 million barrels.

  82. Zeihan lives rent free in Brian’s head because Peter obliterates the pro-Chinese position, nothing more or less.

  83. Zeihan lives rent free in Brian’s head because he obliterates the pro-Chinese position. Nothing more or less.

  84. Fat chance.

    China is four times bigger, ten times older, thirty times smarter and is led by professional politicians all of whom have 25 years successful governing experience and most of whom have PhDs.

    With the support of 95% if its people, its economy is one third bigger and growing three times faster than America’s, it is invulnerable to attack and allied with the (other) greatest fighting nation on earth–with whom is shares the world’s leading defense technology.

  85. “thus far, Zeihan has been accurate to an extent that is eerie in his predictions.”

    Well there is his prediction that Russia would expand out to reconquer most of Eastern Europe within 5 years.
    Except he first said that in 2014. So he’s got a couple of months left to go.

    (Though a few more months than Brian’s prediction about Venezuela’s coup in 2018).

  86. I don’t know how you can make that claim. The Japanese will not dare cut off trade between America and China, that would be suicide. Oil shipment and trade with Europe go through the SCS. How would the Japanese war ships get there to do the blockade?

  87. I agree re: China’s ethnic homogeneity, aging, and general consolidation making it robust to internal collapse. However I suspect that the historians will write that its growth and development suddenly halted sometime in 2018. Japan grew and grew and grew until it also halted out of nowhere.

    I also disagree re Canada. It’s population pyramid is actually rather misshapen and current immigration levels (which are very high) still aren’t enough to offset that. Northern Europe has very serious demographic problems and immigration isn’t working out so well for them.

  88. There’s always been someone lighting fires throughout history. No one nation can fill America’s void. Many will try and, as a result, many fires will be lit.

  89. How long does it take to raise an 18-year old? A 25-year old? China has begun to correct its error but its too late.

  90. How would Japan blockade China in the SCS? The Chinese are talking about digging a Canal through Thailand. How would the Japanese, or for that matter, the United States blockade that?

    Of course as long as the U.S. is still active in EA, China or Japan will not go to war. If you say Japan is going to war with China, by definition that means the U.S. has abdicated.

  91. Likewise, the majority of China’s coastline is within range of Japan’s AAAD zone. It cuts two ways. Japan has the advantage of having an additional seaboard and living under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

  92. The world will go on but the aggregate benefits due to trade will be much lower due to regionalization. Everyone will be poorer: some more, some less.

  93. None of them will work as no one will want to collaborate with the US they will only work with the new no 1 which is CHina

  94. Oh wait, so now it’s the BRITISH who are manipulating US politics?

    Along with the Russians, the Israelis, the Saudis and the Chinese?

    At some point all the different forces pulling in different directions will just cancel out and the final decision will be left to a guy called Bob who lives in Idaho and learned about politics from reading 4chan memes.

  95. Being short on manpower means that low value occupations start to become too expensive to be worthwhile.
    Fruit becomes more expensive as less people pick fruit. Streets are cleaned less often. More people have to clean their own homes.

    The oil industry is a long way from that end of the scale.

  96. China of course, like what Zeihan said.
    If America withdrew from backing its allies, it will be an implausible dream comes true.
    If the world trade collapsed, China has large oil reserves and will consume much less resources. China can get along pretty well with its own market.
    At the height of China’s last dynasty, China closed its door, declaring there’s nothing there is nothing the outside world has to offer her. America, surely, is much wiser today to think the same.
    During the Athen Sparta war, Athen was more democratic and Sparta was autocratic. However, Athenians treated their allies more as subordinates, if conflicting interests between them and their allies arise, they expect the small states to backdown. Sparta on the other hand, were always willing to negotiate. The war that go badly for them soon turned around. Surely America will not be as arrogant as Zeihan behaves.

  97. China is not going to collapse, they’re too prosperous, ethinically homogenous and internally consolidated for that. The only countries at comparable level of economic development that collapsed were the Soviet Union (which had a stagnant economy and deep ethnic divides), Libya (which had a weak state), and Mexico (which had a weak state and strong drug cartels). Maybe one day China’s economy slows down, but by then they’ll be even more developed and they’ll still have a homogeneous population and strong state. China is also becoming old, and while old age is bad for economic growth it also reduces the prospect of civil wars.

    In terms of relative power, Russia will decline in comparison to the United States, Canada and Northern Europe (Germany, UK, France) which have growing populations and free market economies (two things Russia’s declining oligarchy lacks).

    India is massive demographically and economically growing democracy, so expect a strong US-India alliance to develop. Similar ties should be established with Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria and Ethiopia, which are other large, growing democracies.

    The Horn of Africa is undergoing unprecedented stabilization. Ethiopia is the fastest growing economy on Earth, is undergoing ethnic reconciliation, economic liberalization, and political democratization. This is spilling over into its neighbors, as normal diplomatic ties are established between Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.

  98. “gunboat diplomacy”. LOL, are you saying today’s Japan has the means to invade China? I would like to see that happen.

  99. So you think Japan, Turkey and Argentina will be the primary regional powers? Japan for Asia. Turkey -Europe-middle East and Argentina for South America?
    Japan has a low level of stabilization with a badly aging population.

    Turkey is at the bottom of the emerging market list. Turkey’s economy is forecast to grow 0.8 percent in 2019, down from an estimated 3.5 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Inflation reached 25.2 percent in October, the highest levelsince 2003, eroding real yields

    Argentina can be the tallest midget in South America. But I do not see them being more powerful than even a hobbled Brazil.

  100. I rejected a duplicate. The Zeihan population pyramid analysis is mostly good. I believe a lot of countries will expand the working age. China has already removed the one child policy and is shifting to promoting babies and is ramping up use of a lot of IVR.

  101. You are aware Russia’s oil output is at an all time high and their extraction costs are in the 5-10$ range / barrel. Thats by latest Bloomberg analysis (Nov 2018)

  102. Cont:

    Nextbigfuture does not believe the assertion that the US will not need or want trade. As stated, the US will develop large exports of fossil fuels.

    Again, another mischaracterization of Zeihan by Brian. Zeihan states that the US will become an oil exporter and will want to. What the US will not want to continue to do is provide access for imports for ‘free’, unlike before. Trump actions to this effect prove Zeihan out while disproving Brian’s.

    Global tourism generated $7.6 trillion for the global GDP in 2014, making it one the world’s fastest growing and largest sectors. The travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest commercial service sector industry.

    So what? This is a perfect example of Brian ASSUMING something will continue to go on purely because of the inherent merit according-to-Brian. This is not the first time Brian has done this.

    Ha ha ha to all of those predictions.

    Amazingly some people pay for his books and some businesses pay for his consultation on geopolitics.

    Zeihan’s predictions have been more correct than Brian’s when it comes to history, economics and politics. Where Brian does better is on predicting on technical/science trends. I recommend that Brian should really stick to doing the latter and have qualified guest writers do the former for NBF, or just abstain from making predictions out of Brian’s expertise altogether.

  103. Cont:

    Other areas in this article that Brian is just being outright contradictory to his main premise (Zeihan is crap) or straight bizarre:

    Russia wanted to attack Ukraine a few years ago. What happened there with Pax American? 

    Zeihan predicted this could happen. Yet Brian says Zeihans predictions are crap. Which is it, Brian?

    Zeihan says Germany collapses without Pax Americana. Germany imports more than half its energy.

    Zaihan says Germany will be in trouble without Pax Americana. He never says ‘collapses’ as nation for Germany. But he does use the term ‘collapse’ in reference to the EU and Germany’s export markets.

    And it isn’t because of energy imports but because of Germany’s export markets will be severely reduced. All Export-led economy nations will suffer from this in one form and another. Especially real ‘losers’ like Germany and China.

    Why Brian mischaracterizes what Zeihan says to such an extent at a detail level is unexplainable…unless Brian is a de facto wu mau on the payroll from Beijing in one form or another. Beijing does not like what Zeihan says, naturally.

    Nextbigfuture does not believe that the US only gets involved in managing the world purely out of economic self-interest.

    Belief is not reality.

  104. This is from 1944 to today. On 15 August 1971, Bretton Woods ended when the US pulled out of the gold system

    Yet more gross ignorance on Brian’s part.

    Zeihan has consistently referred to Bretton Woods as being two parts: The official parts which included the monetary system and the unofficial part, which is the geopolitical system where the US set up and maintained an alternative world trading order that didn’t involve colonialism/imperialism. Which Brian mentions but then clings still to the monetary aspects of Bretton Woods as that being all that it was about.

    Zeihan has never ignored Pax Britannica. Pax Americana succeeded PB and Zeihan has stated so himself in his books, etc.

    The fact that Brian doesn’t understand this very basic position of Zeihan shows that Brian does not know what he’s talking about on this subject.

    Brian should stick to tech/science issues that which he is good at. Brian’s own geopolitical/economic predictions have been far, far more crappy than Zeihan’s have.

  105. 7. If the U.S. abdicates from enforcing trade, world will be carved up into several spheres of influence, Iran/Saudis for ME, China for EA, EU for Western Europe. Russia for East Europe. Countries will still trade because that is in their economic interest. The top dogs in each sphere will enforce trade. Countries will devolved into bi-lateral agreements. The world will go on

  106. There are so many errors in the analysis, where to begin.

    1. The “shale revolution” means that we will be oil independent for a short time, then prices in the U.S. will go up dramatically. As the geologist Arthur Berman says, shale is a retirement party.
    2. The U.S. did not get involved in the Middle East to satisfy our own oil needs, otherwise it would be much cheaper to just buy the oil at world market price instead of all that military spending. We went there to control the world by controlling its oil supplies. That is what empires do. Others would do the same if they could so we are no different from any other country in the world.
    3. Turkey and Argentina do not have their own MIC so they are at the mercy of other power that do. Ain’t no way they are going to be a world power.
    4. The entire Japan island is inside the Chinese AAAD zone. The Chinese just have to blockade them with threat or sinking all merchant ships approaching Japan and they are finished. How much does it cost the Chinese to do that? zero.
    5. The Japanese need the Chinese markets so there is no way they will go to war with a country that controls their market.
    6. The Chinese will have a navy that is on par with the U.S. in a few decades.
  107. Venezuela has oil-sands, not bitumen such as in Canada, but extra heavy oil (think cold molasses) which when slightly heated will allow majority separation. That heavy oil will come back to market as Canada proceeds to kill their Alberta goose supplying the black gold.

  108. The Brit covert services are up to their neck in creating problems for Trump. They readily use covert manipulation of others to achieve their goals. They have a two century history of rivalry with Russia, and no U.S. presidential candidate was to be allowed to alter their narrative without a fight.

  109. Export to the USA makes up roughly 3.5 % of the German economy. Each following year less.

    If you want demographics… when the growing US minorities start asking for compensation for past wrongs by the then minority whites the USA will have its second civil war and this will be the end of it.

  110. >What happens to China if Iranian oil is removed from the global market and the U.S. embargoes Iran to insure they are not able to sell any of that oil to China or anyone else?

    Easy, Iranian oil tankers go to China protected by Chinese warships.

  111. Let me start with a nod to K. K. Steincke’s quote, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future”. I would point out that, thus far, Zeihan has been accurate to an extent that is eerie in his predictions. Now I do hold out hope that with a different POTUS, the US will rethink its abandoning of the very international institutions it created and that the rest of the World is not really aching to return to a regime “red in tooth and claw”. That said, some of the things that Zeihan bases his analysis on, demographics and geography, are remarkably resistant to change. The third leg of his triad (energy) is more mutable, but his reasons for why the fracking revolution is here to stay (and will be difficult to replicate) are convincing. Some of the things you use as evidence that Zeihan’s predictions are crap (e.g. Syria), Zeihan would probably say illustrate that US disengagement is already starting. As to Zeihan’s ignoring everything but the sea lanes, there is a good reason for that, shipping dominates World Trade, 90% of World Trade moves by ship (source: International Chamber of Shipping). Finally, laughing at Zeihan’s predictions, as you do at the end of your article, is not the same as refuting them. If what Zeihan says about Japan, Turkey, and Argentina is so risible, surely it would be easy to say why.

  112. “Peace through Strength”
    I did Google it to check my memory that Reagan said it & confirmed my vaguer memory that he wasn’t the first. I was mildly surprised at how far back it went.

  113. I wouldn’t characterize it so much as being upbeat on the U.S. as I would about it being downbeat about everywhere else. It’s hard to see how South America ever turns the corner. Venezuela is in absolute tatters, a clear example of what doesn’t work, yet there’s no hope of Argentina ever changing its ways. The EU is doomed. All Draghi and the ECB can do is forestall the day of reckoning but its much akin to the wildfire control policies in the Western U.S: it just leads to a bigger ultimate fire.

    German banks now have huge Italian deposits (bank liabilities) but they also own a tremendous amount of Italian loans (assets) and those are all worthless. Deutsche Bank (et al) will have to honor the deposits so the result will below severe dilution of the Germans’ savings. Germany is also at peril of being shut out of the U.S. market in one way or another which would absolutely collapse the German economy: they don’t have the demographics to consume their own production and there’s no market to replace the U.S.

    Russia is facing a demographic crisis. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of peace in the Middle East (instead it’s starting to look like Game of Thrones). China read 1984 and took it as an instruction manual.

  114. Russia will be short on manpower in the next decade and they’re not exactly big on immigration or cultural integration. It’s hard to see how Russia maintains its oil production given the needed rise in the drill rate as they pick higher and higher hanging fruit.

  115. Historically, where is Zeihan wrong? Disorder and war were far more likely throughout history than order and peace. Why do we think we’ve suddenly turned the corner? With regards to the wars in Syria, the Ukraine, etc. those wars pale in comparison to the wars of the past (both in absolute and relative terms). Only the dead have seen the end of war.

    The longest standing policy of the United States is “peace through strength.” If you don’t know, without googling it, who said that and when then you’re really not qualified to discuss the future trajectory of U.S. policy.

    The U.S. will cut ties with China and further embrace and arm Pacific Rim nations with the goal of stunting and containing China. The trade deals you see the U.S. cut with Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, etc. will be asymmetrically favorable for them so long as they keep China at bay. For nations that are still heavily dependent on exports and who need to import energy, that won’t be a hard choice. The U.S. doesn’t want war with China but it also does not want a genuine pier so it will go to great lengths to contain China.

    Germany is screwed. Absolutely totally screwed. Zeihan is using a very simple and very robust predictor to surmise as much: demographics. Germany does not have the demographic composition to internalize its own production. Without access to the U.S. market, Germany implodes… and frankly that’s a minor problem compared to the EU’s existential crisis.

  116. It’s one thing to have oil and gas. It’s another to get it out of the Ground.
    Russia is devolving into a 3rd world country with missiles.

  117. The world will continue on its path of political regression due to the ambitious rise to prominence of repressive regimes in China, Russia and also Iran and Turkey. Free trade will diminish also. There will be a breaking point as after all humanity has a drive to move forward to a greater empowerment. US will continue moving out of world affairs till world affairs will catch up with it, just the way it happened after Pearl Harbor and 911, but that will be in a post Trump era.

  118. Have you heard of a giant fucking country called Russia which is located just to the north of China? If you use the google technology you will also discover that they have oil and natural gas

  119. The world and trade function better with stability, with established norms. Not surprising, something we can all mostly agree with. It is when countries step outside these norms and threaten this stability that is cause for concern for everyone. We need strong countries that help to uphold these norms and stability so less burden is on us while everyone else benefits from it. While most countries get it, other governments are thinking to use it to attempt to dominate like it’s some game of Go and need to be slapped down . Right now the world order is a bit lopsided, but hopefully in 30 years we will have other powers who see the value of this stability and pitch in to help the way Europe and Japan do now. At the moment I do not consider China to be one of the governments that get it, but hopefully that will change as well as OBOR unfolds and the stability of their neighbors become more important to China’s financial future.

  120. Mostly agree, except I would add Fox News to the list of CNN, NBC and NYT. They’re all about information control with specific aims that do not necessarily result in good outcomes for the US.

  121. The US did not so much stop wars by intervening, as eliminate the need for European nations to fear each other, saving them the cost of keeping big militaries ‘just in case’ or ‘to secure oceanic trade routes’.

    Zeihan has argued that the US motives for continuing a rather bad deal are much weakened – and now we see Trump pushing for better trade deals.

    Zeihan has argued that Russia will foresee its fading demographics leading to near future weakness, and predicted that Russia would use the last of its strength to strategically secure its borders. And we do see signs of that in actions against Ukraine and Lithuania for example. Clearly many nations near Russia – eg Poland – agree that this is something to fear. Russia sowing dissention in the US with fake news and possibly helping isolationist Trump win over hawkish, international-power focused Clinton from winning would also fit (if that happened). Even the war in Syria plays a role if you look at the actual effects – refugees creating chaos for Turkey and Europe and further encouraging US isolationism.

    Zeihan thinks internal stresses threaten to split China. And we see the Chinese government consolidating power and shifting toward more aggressive internal control and reduction of ‘foreign influences’. Seems like they agree with Zeihan, but are determined to keep things together.

  122. The US is more in the market for allies who pull up their own socks, than for protectorates who hope to suck up US military aid money as in the past. That means NATO countries will have to pay more, if they want the US to participate in their defense. It also means the US won’t just show up anywhere to “Restore Hope” as Bush Sr tried to do in Somalia, or Clinton did in grabbing Kosovo away from Serbia, or as Bush Jr did in invading Iraq, or as Obama tried to do in rescuing abducted Nigerian girls, or as his SecState Hillary did in knocking down Qaddafi. The US would be more focused on protecting its core interests, rather than gallavanting anywhere wantonly and capriciously.

    The US would be more likely to restore Anglo-Americanism, which was previously a cornerstone of trans-Atlantic cooperation prior to Obama. The US would continue to encourage the re-arming of Japan and organizing regional partners to offset China’s power. The US would be much more proactive on taking China to task for its intellectual property theft, its war-like capitalism, and its expansionism in general.

    Those like Zeihan and Friedman may be relentlessly upbeat on America, but I think Trump will have his hands full with the globalist obstructionist Left in his country. The kingpins of the cronyist media mafia, including CNN, NBC, NYT, etc will have to be confronted more aggressively.

  123. He has been more right than you have Brian and unlike you he can follow transportation tonnages (do the math on what is shipped into and out of China by ship vs rail vs truck). He never said that China would break up, what he said was that Xi would chose Mao style isolationism that political and economic fracturing of China, since China is solely reliant upon an international order ran by the U.S. that the U.S. no longer needs or wants since they subsidize the world.
    What happens to China if Iranian oil is removed from the global market and the U.S. embargoes Iran to insure they are not able to sell any of that oil to China or anyone else?
    America’s go to option for punishing foreign countries are sanctions, followed by embargoes followed by blockades if the embargo does not crush the country.

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