Have you noticed that the war in Ukraine is getting less and less media coverage? The news has been focused on Biden’s gaffs and White House walking back his statements more than it has been about the indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities or the torture of prisoners of war. The American public’s appetite for news apparently dwindles rather quickly unless there is some new atrocity to stir up their interest.
Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because something is not on the news, it isn’t happening. Likewise, don’t fall for the propaganda that Ukraine is winning. If they were winning, would they be begging NATO for a no-fly zone? Would they be asking for jets and tanks? Would Russia be able to rain missiles down on key military sites in Western Ukraine? Don’t get me wrong, the Ukrainians are putting up a good fight and have given Russia a black eye, but they are not winning. They are not even in a position to negotiate from strength. I expect they will have to cede the Donbas region and possibly parts of Southern Ukraine to Russia in order to get a peace treaty.
This lesson applies to other aspects of our system: Just because inflation isn’t talked about constantly doesn’t me it isn’t getting worse. The politicians don’t want you to think or talk about it, and many of the major news outlets play along. I’m sure there are people in the Administration who wish Biden hadn’t mentioned the coming food shortages. Don’t for a minute assume the threat is not real. There is also a shortage of diesel fuel, which could disrupt farming and the supply chain.
Things Will Get Worse
You think we had it bad during the pandemic? Worse times lie ahead.
Maybe you have relaxed a bit because gasoline prices dropped by 20 cents. (How quickly we forget the price increased by $1 or more.) Maybe you prefer to watch movie stars slap comedians or see the newest Kardashian outfit than think about what you can do to improve your family’s fate if the grocery stores go bare or your take-home pay only buys half of what it used to. Maybe it frightens you or your spouse to talk about rising crime, the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the Southern border, the rising cost of rent, or the possibility of a recession, so you just avoid thinking about it.
Don’t assume that because the stock market has been up in a few days that the worst is over. That kind of thinking will get you in trouble. Remember, preppers prepare for the worst.
You need to keep your eyes open, your head up, and your powder dry. We are in the middle of a massive structural change in the world, and we won’t know how things fall out for several years. Just as we had the Warsaw Pact countries vs. NATO for close to 40 years, we are returning to two poles of power, one centered on the U.S. and Western Europe and one on China and to a lesser extent Russia. As tensions between these two powers rise and cooperation dwindles, we will see huge changes in how the world operates and those changes will impact our daily lives.
What to Expect
As the balance of power in the world tilts away from the U.S., and the U.S. struggles to remain a super power, here is what I would expect to see:
- A new cold war, complete with more proxy wars. (We have to consider the possibility that China subtly encouraged Russia to attack the Ukraine as a test case. NATO is certainly using the Ukrainians to fight for them.)
- An increase in cyberwarfare, most of which will never know about.
- Higher military budgets.
- A faster pace of weapons development and technological advancements.
- The militarization of space.
- A possible reinstatement of the draft.
- A lessening in the amount of attention given to global warming, and a resurgence of both fossil fuel and nuclear power.
- The emergence of a competing monetary system which will not be based on the dollar.
- A great deal of pain on both sides as the intertwined systems of commerce and finance are broken apart.
- More on-shoring, meaning the return of certain manufacturing to the U.S. and close allies with less manufacturing being done in China. This will take time.
- Higher taxes.
- A reduction of living standards in many countries and more poverty and starvation around the world.
It is possible that the return to an “us versus them” mentality could actually minimize the dichotomy in the U.S., both between the political parties and among the populace. We won’t have to hate each other if there is a common enemy upon which we can heap our animosity. Will the re-emergence of two competing world views on the global stage help unite us?
Competition also results in better performance among the participants. World War II and the space program both saw the development of new technologies that benefitted consumers.
The war in Ukraine is kicking off a host of changes in how we perceive the world and our place in it. It has already led to food shortages, rising energy prices, a strengthening of NATO, and highlighted the great divide between Russia and the United States. We are in for a period of disruption. The economy, finance, food, energy, manufacturing, employment and government will all experience great changes over a period of just a few short years. What the world and the country will look like when all is said and done is anyone’s guess.
As a prepper, don’t tilt at windmills thinking you can change thing. Instead, use your time and energy to prep like you mean it and lie low like the gray man. This is not a time to march on the capital with your AR-15 or to brag about your preps to the neighbors. This is a time to buckle down on your preps and work to improve your self-sufficiency. Keep trying to find a way to move out of the city and look for non-traditional ways to earn money.