There’s an eight hundred pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the room where Scott Morrison cut his nuclear submarine deal. It’s an orange gorilla in a wig. The wig cost US $60 000 and it looks like a bird’s nest that fell out of a tornado. It is held together with hairspray and malignant narcisism. The gorilla is masturbating furiously and flinging its poop everywhere.
A short time after the 18-month scoping study to decide how best to build eight nuclear powered submarines for Australia, the gorilla will move back into the White House and the second Trump presidency will begin, along with the final collapse of the American republic. Aggressive masturbation and faecal wish casting are likely to continue from within the ruins.
None of the post AUKUS reportage – from the wargasmic frottage of News Corp’s submarine shaped murder boner, to the bedwetting pity pieces of Ninefax and The Graun’s columnists worried they’ll suffer a really awkward Gallic snubbing next time they visit their favourite French cheese shoppe – none of it has contemplated the most likely point of critical failure.
It is not the lack of a domestic nuclear industry to support the boats.
It is not the even longer lead time and much greater expense of jumping into a category of super advanced and dangerous technology.
It is the much the greater and imminent risk of systemic collapse in the United States. Robert Kagan probably puts it best in the opening pars of his Washington Post essay, ‘Our constitutional crisis is already here’…
The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:
First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024…
Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary.
The long story short of it is simple. Trump will sit the throne again in 2025 because there are no other possible outcomes. (Actually, I’m lying about this, but I have good reason. Stick with me for a few pars). Either he wins the electoral college legitimately - which is totes possible. Or elected Republican insurrectionists at state and Federal level simply install him after heeding the lessons of the failed coup on January 6.
Sixteen US states have already passed or are drafting laws to give their own legislatures the power to declare Trump the winner, should their actual voters have different ideas. There’s an emerging genre of political drama, part-horror-story/part-future-history, gaming out multiple paths to a successful coup in 2024/5, but the path isn’t important; only the probability.
The alternative to a successful coup, natch, is an unsuccessful one, which is why there was the most delicate hint of untruthiness above when I said there are no other possible outcomes to the return of the orange God King. Of course there are. Violence. Chaos. And madness. Like January 6, but everywhere, all at once. From sea to shining motherfuckin’ sea.
Honestly though, that seemed a little heavy to lay on you, without some softening up first.
But having done that, allow me to really harsh your mellow.
While all of this is happening between November 2024 and January 2025, on the other side of the world China’s apex gansta, Xi Jinping, will be contemplating collapse of a different nature; demographic and economic.
China’s population growth hasn’t quite tipped over the abyss into free fall yet, but it’s teetering. To maintain population stability you need a Total Fertility Rate of 2.1. (TFR is ‘the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime’). China’s officially acknowledged TFR is 1.7. But the actual rate could be waaaaay lower, just like the actual value of toxic debt inside the Chinese economy ‘could be’ way higher than the four hundred billion dollarydoos Evergrande set on fire.
Within a hundred years China’s population will collapse to about a third of its current size, and with it would go all the dreams of a reborn Middle Kingdom at the centre of human affairs.
Relevant to our interests, by the time those spendy little submarines we’ve bought finally arrive, that collapse will be obvious and accelerating, with China’s population shrinking by tens of millions a year. If Xi is to remake the world order before that happens, he will need to move soon. And the moment of maximum peril will be that three month window between the first Tuesday in November, 2024, and Inauguration Day in Washington, 2025.
If he is serious about retaking Taiwan, or if like Argentina’s generals in 1982 he feels he has no choice because everything else is turning to shit, that’s when he will move, especially if the US looks like it is falling apart. Back at WaPo, Bob Kagan has few doubts on that score.
The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves.
Just the sort of place with which you want to sign a multi decade, hundred billion dollar contract for a nuclear powered weapons platform.
One final fun fact.
We may not have that fleet of submarines by 2025. We probably won’t even have blueprints.
But at least we’ll have Scotty, if he wins next year’s election.
A note from JB. Sorry if that messed with your head, but it’s been messing with mine all week. Would you like a purely fictional palate cleanser? I’ve got a new book at Audible and it’s free.
You can get it here, and give me a nice 5-Star review when you’re done. Lots of lovely people have done so already.