Since you mention Montesquieu. He was a really clever man. If I remember correctly, the following quote is from him:

"One should not confuse those who start a war with those who have made it inevitable".

There are thoughts that are timeless.

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The history of WWI is most instructive. Before WWI, various informed observers calculated that any general European war could last at most a few months, as all sides would run out of money and munitions. The winner would be the side to run out first.

These were not stupid people, and they would have proven correct in the case of WWI, if the combatants had actually followed their own laws. As it were, they didn't.

To give the example of the British, they devalued their currency, forced the Indian treasury to lend all of its silver reserves to H.M. Exchequer and take back gilts, forced holders of high grade US and Latin American securities to make forced loans so that these securities could be used as collateral for loans from American banks, and those are just the examples off the top of my head. Even then, H.M. Government came within days of default on a couple of occasions and needed emergency loans from the U.S. - and these AFTER the United States had formally entered the war.

Then there is the example set during the GFC, in which western governments ran roughshod over pretty much every law on the books to make sure that every billionaire was kept safe and secure. That millions of people lost everything never entered into it. The banks were made safe and the billionaires were happy, and that was all that mattered.

The moral of this story is simple - if the government (or people of influence and authority) really want something, the only thing that will stop them are the laws of physics.

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With a hat-tip to Michael Hudson, a small point to add about US emergence, especially in economic terms, during and after WWI -- it departed from the longstanding European imperial habit of allies forgiving war debts to one another during the ensuing treaty process. The US insisted that the English and French repay the loans (in gold) it had given to them, in part as a way to prevent them from returning to what Americans viewed as their constant imperialism and warmongering (never mind that the Americans themselves had already long been engaged in the same behaviours, first on their own continent and then in the Pacific when they had run out of room at home) and in part out of domestic politics which would have made loan forgiveness highly problematic anyway. Then they leaned on the English and French to forgive German indemnities (or winked at chicanery by the latter to wriggle out from thereunder) which put even more financial pressure on their erstwhile "allies."

This went double after WWII when all the other participants (other than the USSR) were prostrate in every respect and had little choice but to abandon their empires and yield to dollar hegemony -- the UK capitulating first in abandoning the preferential trade arrangements of the Sterling area in the Commonwealth. So the US came out of the post-war era as the world's largest creditor and used its position to erect and dominate the international organizations emerging from Bretton Woods.

As their creditor status eroded (foreign adventures in Asia will do that sort of thing) they had to come up with a new system, leading to the abandonment of Bretton Woods, the Nixon shock and the infamous "it's our currency but it's your problem" regime -- which is the story of both Hudson's "Super Imperialism" and Judith Stein's "Pivotal Decade."

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Spent some time thinking about your stuff here.

I have a sneaking hunch that the time of the changes you have outlined is getting closer and the pace of change is accelerating.

Sy Hersh wrote an article here on Substack today. Basically said out loud the unmentionable fact that he thinks the US did it using the BALTOPS operation back in September as cover. No word of it on US major media, but the meme is looking like it is starting to gain traction. As an aside, the article doesn't give much in the way of evidence, the truth be told, it is less than impressive. But hopefully more information pro or con will be forthcoming.

Can't say that I am real thrilled about the current situation. I think that sooner or later, the rooskies will tire of being patient and "let 'er rip". It is not a situation that I relish.

But I think that you are right. The times they are a changin'. I think that it is going to take at least a decade for things to settle into a new equilibrium. That period isn't going to be much fun at all.

Time to hunker down and get ready for the tide.

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FWIW, I concur that in international relations we behold an engineering problem, nay, opportunity, nay, sets of opportunities. I think economics and politics are lesser structural components in and of that task, those sets of tasks, not greater ones. I think seeing and saying the truth -- actual phenomenology, sans search for historical precedents, of which none exist or can be explained (Heraclitus) -- is the greater structural component of opportunities the nations face.

Truth, not narrative, matters. What is happening, not the goals one has, is the truth, and facing that fact (truth) is the structural strength required to build (engineer) prestige in the world whatever the time or epoch.

Also FWIW, I do not read a blog if I have to pay to read it. The sun shines on all, good and bad, rich and poor, free of charge. Rain falls on the just and unjust alike. God does not charge to play in His sandbox.

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You avoid mentioning, among causes for the downfall of empires, the case of Russia, where the guiding element, using as its lever the incompetence of the czarist regime and the downtrodden situation of most of the people, was the Marxist Bolshevik party. Is this symptomatic of an avoidance of any mention of Marxism?

It is of course not compulsory to be a socialist or a marxist, but to disregard completely and not utilise any of the insights which Marx had into the mechanisms and results of the capitalist system seems like cutting off one (or maybe both) of your legs before entering a marathon.

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"The likelihood in 2027 is that French politics will simply collapse, with a weak and disliked President of some kind, and a parliament too fragmented to agree anything. At that point, it’s reasonable to fear that the system itself will break, ..."

What do you mean with the word "collapse" and "break"? As long as two people are within shouting distance, politics of some sort always happens.

How will France be ruled after the system "breaks"? What precisely are the fault lines along which the system "breaks"? What forces apply stress to the system?

You did mention a parliament too fragmented to agree on anything. Ok, why should that be an existential problem for France? If parliament passes no new laws, the old laws will have to do. Any shortage of new laws (if there can be such a shortage) might be filled by EU directives or presidential decrees.

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Sadly, a pretty incoherent piece. You write of operating systems of the international sovereign scene then devolve immediately into specific national or specific European organizations.

Nor is there a mention of the teeth behind the modern international order: the international system of finance also known as the dollar trade reserve/petrodollar standard. It is increasingly validated that Dr. Michael Hudson's long time assertion of Super Imperialism via financial feudalism comprising said international order is accurate, and that the fruits of the 2nd and 3rd world were plucked on the cheap both in terms of blood and money via said system.

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