From Brazil To Bakhmut, American Power Wanes

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Monday, Apr 03, 2023 - 9:11
Evgeny Prigozhin
Wagner PMC Chief Evgeny Prigozhin in Bakhmut.

Weeks When Decades Happen

There's a saying that feels apt today, one apparently falsely attributed to Lenin:

There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks where decades happen.

It feels like we're in one of those periods now--longer than a week, perhaps--but one where decades happen. Specifically, the Biden Administration's foreign policy, in particular its hybrid war against Russia, seems to have dramatically accelerated the shift from American unipolarity to multipolarity. 

Defying America Economically

One of the recent events that indicate this shift is the decision of OPEC+ to cut oil production against the wishes of the Biden Administration. The move shows that OPEC+ countries are less willing to comply with US interests and that they are confident enough to pursue their own agenda. Similarly, Japan's decision to buy Russian oil above the US-instigated price cap demonstrates that even some US allies are becoming more independent and are willing to defy US interests.

Another indication of multipolarity is the recently announced de-dollarization of mutual trade between China and Brazil. This move reflects a growing trend among some non-NATO countries to reduce their reliance on the US dollar as the world's reserve currency. Of course, this trend was discussed at the the recent Putin-Xi summit, which would have been notable if that were the summit's only development. But of course the bigger development there was the emerging Russia-China alliance, forming a block that will likely be militarily superior to the U.S. soon--if it isn't already. 

Outpacing America Militarily 

The recent capture of Bakhmut's city hall by Russia's Wagner PMC, despite all the weapons and assistance the US has given Ukraine, is another sign that US dominance is waning. Furthermore, the US's current inability to keep pace with Russian arms production, despite outspending Russia on defense by more than 10x, highlights the challenges the U.S. faces in maintaining its military superiority. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley testified last week that China's military was only on pace to eclipse America's by mid-century seems naive in light of that. As French economist Jacques Sapir illustrated last fall, the productive sector of China's economy (manufacturing, etc.; not services) may already be three times the size of America's; if Russia alone is outproducing our artillery shell production now, imagine what China could do. 

The Best Time To Adjust To Multipolarity 

The best time for the U.S. to adjust to multipolarity would have been when the Cold War ended. There's a scene in the German TV series Deutschland 89 where two intelligence operatives ask each other what will come next after the Berlin Wall comes down. 

One remarks that there's no more enemy for America, and America is popular everywhere.

Think of all we've done since then to change that. 

The Second Best Time To Adjust To Multipolarity 

The second best time to adjust to multipolarity would be now, and the first step in doing that would be to facilitate negotiations to end the Ukraine War. Following that, broader peace talks with Russia and China would be helpful to lessen the chances of direct war with them in their respective spheres of influence. 

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely under the Biden Administration.

Let's wrap up on a brighter note with a brief trading recap. 

Trading Through The Chaos

Last week we exited one bearish bet and entered another.

We exited a bearish bet against the space infrastructure company Redwire Corporation (RDW) for an 80% gain. 

And we entered a bearish bet against BRC, Inc. (BRCC), the owner of Black Rifle Coffee, which we detailed here

I have another company in mind for a bearish bet now. I'll send an alert to all Substack/occasional email list subscribers as soon as I place the trade. 

Monday Evening Update

No luck on that bearish bet today: there are no options traded on the stock, and my brokerage had no shares available to short. Maybe yours does though. Details here if you're interested. 

Good luck. 

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