Empires Collapse –
The U.S. is Not a Classic One
A couple of days ago, I drove southeast on the highway for two and a half hours from Paris and reached the region of Burgundy. The area is known for its rolling hills, outdoor activities, wine, and boeuf bourguignon.
Our destination was a medieval times château that goes back centuries and now serves as a hotel.
As we reached the quiet village that is situated just five minutes away from it, we could already sense the feeling of going back in time.
The entire area is frozen in time and preserved with undying patriotism about a period when it was a wealthy kingdom spanning every direction and rivaled only by the riches of the Venetians.
As the road bends and curves at the exit of the village, a large castle appears.
The château is protected by water just like Warren Buffett describes the moat that he loves to circle his businesses with. It looks so naïve to us, yet in those days, this water obstacle was instrumental to the defense of the aristocrats that occupied the property.
In the middle of the grounds is a giant sycamore tree dating back to 1614 that gives the garden a majestic presence. Upon arrival, we realized that the current owners invested millions of dollars in installing modern plumbing, A/C units, a sewage system, and important infrastructure to accommodate tourists that mostly come from the United States.
I asked about the original owners of the castle, the family that once ruled this region and had lived here. His first response was that the family had disappeared.
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The realization that I was spending two nights in someone else’s home from 400 years ago but that the only proof the family existed were the bricks, tiles, and the gorgeous tree told me a lot about the shifting sands of power in the world.
When wealth, power, control over affairs, and influence are concentrated, it gives the holder the image of total dominance but is a false concept that ultimately leads to disaster.
No dictator or kingdom of the Middle Ages, no matter how wealthy or enormously authoritarian, is still around exerting influence.
Personality cult, or the delusionary state of mind that one person has no blind spots and could do everyone’s job, is the beginning of the end, not the rise of a dynasty.
When I look at today’s Russia or China, I see countries that are nearing the effective implementation of dictator-like behavior at the top.
Xi and Putin are isolating themselves and refusing to take advice from any of their able advisors, and Biden knows it.
The problem is that instead of using this fact to de-risk the global tensions, he is openly calling both out and distancing the path to truce and prosperity.
The reason American politics works is because it is willing to work with enemies as if they were allies.
America is pragmatic, not ideological, which is the secret to its incredible success. He who can change with the times evolves and doesn’t get buried in the ashes of wars and power struggles.
Calling for the complete demise of Putin and labeling Xi a dictator in public doesn’t give Biden much room to maneuver because insulting these two rival nations only makes them more desperate to show their strength.
We might be entering escalation, not armistice. It’s tragedy, not hope.
The most sustained and lasting peace can only come from trust between nations, and we look to be digressing from this goal.
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