Clash or Crisis of Civilization?

in geopolitics •  last month 

21/05/2019/10:00CET


I came across this essay by Pepe Escobar analysing a macro perspective on the escalation of the trade war between the US and China.
Being a follower of geopolitical news and events, it is not lost on me that Trump (being an emotionally poor choice for a leader) and Xi are engaged in a geopolitical war. The traditional shooting type of war is the third act but make no mistake, the first act is long over and the second acts of this tragedy is coming to a climax. The third act is shooting with real guns.
WW3 has started!

But was this inevitable?

I think so and want to share my analysis. For me this is a logical progression started back in the dim dark days of our evolution.

Lets us picture a tribe of humans resident in a cave. They hunt, they gather. They live. Life is good and their number slowly swells. The cave is still sufficient but their foraging area must constantly get large. Their impact on the local resources and ecosystem is growing ever greater.

Not far away is anther tribe. Much like the first. They are of smaller number.

During hunting and gathering forays, these 2 tribes have encountered one another in tentative ways, but these contacts are gathering in frequency and competitive intensity.

A flash point is eventually reached when they are unable to share a natural resource that they both covet. It could be a stand of trees in fruit or a herd of prey that has been chased from one territory into anther while in pursuit. The event is not important. Even the most trivial event can be used to conflate their interactions into a existential conflict.

A conflict breaks out and the first tribe overruns the second. The gene pool of the first tribe prospers and expands, while that of the second peters out and vanishes. Socially, the success of aggressive behaviour is reinforced. The idea and consequences of failure is purged from the new tribal conscience together with the genetic material of the vanquished.

Life on planet earth continues.

Is the escalation of human conflict caused by the constant competitive pressure, both societal, and genetic, in direct proportion with the spread of the human species across the planet?

If so, we should not be surprised. We are basically playing out our biological roles in the ecosystem.

If a biologist were to observe the human race on planet earth from a objective distance, I imagine their conclusion would simply be that "this species is reaching the limits of their environment".
They have used their awesome intellect and imagination to construct artificial constraints and conditions to corral themselves into behavioral patterns, quite divorced from their biological programming, with the aim of extending the lifespan of their environmental limitations. But eventually these must also fail.

If we study news stories such as the US vs China trade war through this lens, we see the breakdown of cooperation and the fall back to competitive and xenophobic urges stemming from our baser instincts.

When the US talks about the brotherhood of nations, the equality of every nations pursuit of their own interests and happiness, they do not speak of it in a literal sense. Their honest vision is that if you all join us then under our guidance you can have a semblance of such aspirations. But if any of your aspirations threaten or contravene ours, then you are an adversary to be either cajoled back into cooperation, or be forcefully absorbed.

And we should not live under any assumption that if China, Russia, or any other nation becomes the next global superpower, that they will not also adopt similar aims. All empires have, and they all will. It is programmed into us.


I enjoy Pepe's essays. He may be overcolourful, and he may be somewhat one sided with his anti USA, but in general he is well researched and has a healthier grasp of the macro picture than most. And off course, never to be accused of not being entertaining.

And what is pretty much pre-programmed for the human species on this planet, will be a rolling realignment/competition/conflict growing in intensity in fits and spurts, as different human societal power structures jostle for the best possible positioning on this limited planet of ours. The end game will be either escape or extinction.

And just to address the more extreme theories: some elites may fantasize about some kind of cull of the human population leaving them in charge of a new renaissance of the human species on a planet now given a chance at rejuvenating itself. If true, then it comes from the most psychopathic of our so called elites.

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  ·  last month (edited)

They been at war with us for 30 years, but we only started participating in the last 2.

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I respectfully Disagree,

My dive into history has taught me that China has been trying to play catch-up using the same rules and rule breaking the US used in the last 19th century and the same geopolitical tactics and machinations used by all countries, all the time. But this is the side show of nationalism. Behind it are extra-national corporations that are the real titans. Elected by our patronage of their wares. The more indispensable their wares are, the more rigged the election.

China stole no jobs per say, it was the global industrialists, those same extra-national corporations, that could not resist exploiting the cheap labor force, and moved their operations from US and Europe to China. China simply let them exploit their labor force. This really took off as the end of the cold war and end of the stagflationary 80's.

To me it looks like this was the beginning of the last hurrah of the Breton Woods financial system. Now as the last echos dissipate, we discover just how thin the air is up here and how little is holding up our edifice of debt.


Seems the human species, manifested into what we call "society", is terminally destined to raise the most dangerous individuals to the most destructive of heights. Call it societal masochism.