Despite the happy talk, Joe Biden returned from the G7 as from a funeral. China’s revival of Maoism and Vladimir Putin’s refusal to commit to the rules of the Western club mark the end of the global world vision that was so recently deemed inevitable. To see how much of that world has vanished, one should recall Barack Obama’s mockery of Mitt Romney’s doubts about whether the dictators had really quit the stage.
The world Ronald Reagan left to Bill Clinton is gone. China’s Xi Jinping is now offering a rival version of the End of History: “Reformist leader Deng Xiaoping also sought to reinterpret history, in his case criticizing Mao’s mistakes. … Xi is seeking to change that by concentrating power in his own hands and reinforcing party control over society, including by updating historical narratives to whip up support for Communist rule. ”
Mr. Xi has ramped up efforts to forge what he calls a “correct outlook on history” ahead of the party’s centenary—a milestone moment in his “China Dream” of national renaissance and a chance to cement his legacy as a great leader, alongside Mao and Deng.
With China now facing such external challenges as pressure from the U.S. and questions about its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign aims to tamp down introspection about the party’s past mistakes and portray it as an unstoppable force that has endured war and chaos to steer China’s rise.
The fanfare is set to peak with a ceremony in Beijing this July, when Mr. Xi is expected to mark the party centenary with a speech that portrays his achievements as the bedrock of a new historical era for China, according to people familiar with the matter.
To fully understand just who the Western leaders are dealing with in Xi, it is instructive to recall historian Edward Luttwak’s obsevation: “We must again consider Xi Jinping’s personality: thrown out of his house by Mao’s tabula rasa politics that long imprisoned his father, starved a half-sister to death, enslaved another and publicly humiliated his mother, Xi now further elevates murderer Mao for the Party’s 100th.” He’s a hard man. Among the Western leaders at the G7, perhaps the only one who remembers someone more ruthless than Xi is the participant older than Joe Biden: the Queen.
Biden returns from the G7 with a new cold war with China and its junior partner Russia under way. With each new sinister report out of China, the globalists must feel like those movie brides who are progressively discovering evidence their charming new husband is a serial killer, and always has been. But they cannot even act on that belated realization without deranging their domestic Woke agenda. The dilemma is how to create green power that does not rely on cheap, dirty Chinese coal and slave labor. And there’s no easy way.
Averting climate change could turn on whether the industry can become less dependent on Xinjiang and still keep up supply of a vital raw material. … Persistent prices as high as $450/kg for polysilicon during the 2000s, before a wave of new Chinese manufacturers entered the market and undercut the incumbents, are one reason that prospects of competitive solar power seemed so dim at the time. Should the same pattern repeat itself, predictions about a future of rock-bottom PV prices driving rapid decarbonization of the power system may have to be revisited. …
The good news is that … Supply by Chinese manufacturers will increase by about 76% through 2023 …There’s one problem with that rosy prospect. About a third of the new capacity will be in Xinjiang, China’s vast western region where the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups have been victimized by policies the U.S. government characterizes as crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. …
Even those of that group, like Daqo New Energy Corp., which have thrown open their doors to say they’re not involved in alleged forced-labor programs, must contend with the fact that their presence in Xinjiang is dictated by some of the world’s cheapest coal-fired power.
Europe, too, finds itself torn between its green commitments and dependence on Russian gas. “With power demand recovering from the pandemic, European utilities are using more coal as natural gas inventories are unusually low for this time of the year due to a cold snap in late winter and early spring. This year, despite the record-high carbon price in Europe, the use of coal for power generation has jumped by up to 15 percent.”
Biden’s need to make peace at all costs with Iran and to stay in China’s good books can lead to absurdities like this: Iran’s “ghost armada” of tankers is selling black-market oil to China in order to bankroll its nuclear program. “A ‘ghost armada’ of sanctions-busting tankers carrying black-market oil to China is bankrolling Iran’s secret nuclear programme, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The rogue state has almost doubled its fleet sailing under other countries’ flags to 123 in the past year, letting China smuggle in up to a million barrels of oil per day – or two-thirds of the UK’s daily use.” But what can he do about it without spitting in the soup?
Without China’s cheap solar panels and Russian gas, the green global vision is in real trouble. It may already be too late to avoid a major oil supply crisis, turning even the COVID-19 reopening into potential disaster. OilPrice.com writes:
There are a number of observable trends in oil supplies and by extension prices, presently. I am going to discuss one of them in this article. A lack of capital investment in finding new supplies of oil and gas. A favorite analogy of mine comes to mind, the ship is nearing the dock. In nautical parlance that means the time for course corrections is at an end. So we shall see if that is the case for oil. The massive “ship” that is world oil demand is on an unalterable collision with supplies that will have profound implications for consumers.
The message to oil and gas companies has been pretty clear from the market, investment funds like Blackrock seeking green “purity” in the allocation of financing of new energy sources, and government edicts mandating carbon intensity reduction across the entire swath of society, and a transformation to renewable energy, that new supplies of oil and gas are not wanted.
If you demonize “fossil fuels,” you tend not to get it. An energy shortage would make it very difficult to confront Putin or Xi if they are up to no good. The New York Times recently trotted out a cautionary tale from the recent past. The Soviets once denied a deadly anthrax lab leak and U.S. scientists backed the story. Could COVID be the same, they rhetorically ask?
In April and May 1979, at least 66 people died after airborne anthrax bacteria emerged from a military lab in the Soviet Union. But leading American scientists voiced confidence in the Soviets’ claim that the pathogen had jumped from animals to humans. Only after a full-fledged investigation in the 1990s did one of those scientists confirm the earlier suspicions: The accident in what is now the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg was a lab leak, one of the deadliest ever documented.
It shows how an authoritarian government can successfully shape the narrative of a disease outbreak and how it can take years — and, perhaps, regime change — to get to the truth. “…
There is also widespread concern that the Chinese government — which, like the Soviet government decades before it, dismisses the possibility of a lab leak — is not providing international investigators with access and data that could shed light on the pandemic’s origins.
“We all have a common interest in finding out if it was due to a laboratory accident,” Matthew Meselson, a Harvard biologist, said in an interview this month from Cambridge, Mass., referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “Maybe it was a kind of accident that our present guidelines don’t protect against adequately.
If the administration can’t find the Iranian “ghost fleet,” what are the odds it will find a lab leak if it happened? Not great, as long as they wear their Woke blinders. The Great Reset sank on the slipways, doomed from the start. The 64-trillion-dollar question is, what is Joe’s Plan B?
Books: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: We get to make the first move.