Monday, 11 January 2010

The last 10 years, so well summed by...

Conrad Black:

What a dismal decade.

As we say farewell to this rather dismal decade, which opened with Millennial celebrations of a New World Order and The End of History, and has been thoroughly disfigured by terrorism, economic stupidity, inept political leadership and untrammeled vulgarity of public tastes, I dare to hope for somewhat better things (for the world as well as my family and self).

Readers will have noticed that Copenhagen was about as complete a mockery as was forecast, here and elsewhere. Thousands of protesters, festooned with banners about the water level in Tuvalu, and dressed as polar bears and seals, inanely screaming at the earnest Global Coolers, had to be restrained by the gentle Danish police.

Most of the world’s most odious leaders were present, demanding trillions of dollars to assist them in green development. Zimbabwe’s infamous Robert Mugabe, who has violated every clause of the Clarence House agreement which conferred independence on Rhodesia, and has terrorized the country and reduced its standard of living by 99%, accused the advanced nations of trying to disguise the baleful effect of their carbon emissions on all mankind behind trivial concerns about the absence of human rights in Zimbabwe.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, now challenging Fidel Castro (“Papa Castro” to the Trudeau family) as Latin America’s shabbiest tyrant, announced the death of capitalism, to the rapacity of which he imputed the impending destruction of the world’s environment, as well as the dissipated prosperity of his own oil-rich country which he has master-minded.

The chief spokesman of the aggrieved despots, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir (whose country’s government’s cupped hands are dripping with the blood of a million victims of domestic genocide) dismissed a European offer of $11-billion to promote green industrial growth in the Third World as a pittance.

I can’t be the only person who wondered if sincere dupes of this nonsense, from the Prince of Wales to Elizabeth May, have the remotest idea of what mayhem they have brought down on the world. At least Al Gore has made a lot of money from it. Indeed, it must be said that this unlikely man has had the greatest revenge of anyone ever wrongfully deprived of the U.S. presidency, except perhaps Richard Nixon. Gore has grown rich, eminent, won a Nobel Prize, completely disrupted the world and turned international relations into a gigantic slap-stick farce. The absence of evidence that global warming is actually occurring, and that human activity affects the world’s temperature at all, was scarcely mentioned. The real result, however, is the pledged objective of not permitting the world’s temperature to increase more than two centigrade degrees by 2050. Since it has only risen one degree in the last 35 years, and not at all in the last ten, this should be safe enough. The heads of government fellowship will pat itself hydraulically on the head and back, and money will be handed over to the toads of despotism when pigs fly and shrimps sing.

This must be the supreme coruscation of what Malcolm Muggeridge christened the “great liberal death-wish;” a canard about a fraud, invoked to impoverish the world’s advanced countries in favour of its most rancid despotisms, which have already squandered and embezzled a trillion dollars of Western aid; all for a nonsensical purpose, solemnly agreed to, and then ignored.

For the first time in the history of the U.S. Presidency, Mr. Obama had to badger a foreign head of government to meet him (China’s premier Wen). Last year, shoes were thrown at the U.S. president. This year we had self-abasement before the Japanese Emperor and (unsuccessful) supplication to the Chinese. If this trend continues, by the end of this new decade, the U.S. president will be invited to international meetings as a shoe-shine boy.

The great stars of Copenhagen were the Chinese and the Canadians. The Chinese strutted and gloried as a mighty economic growth story, a super-power presumptive, while leading the G-77, as the under-developed countries now modishly style themselves, out of the conference in protest against the supposed miserliness of the advanced countries. China has staged the greatest act of international pocket-picking in history, beggaring the U.S. by dumping trillions of dollars of cheap goods in it, which the United States bought with money largely borrowed from China. And as it spurned the importunity of the United States at Copenhagen, and basked in the adoration of the Third World, its leaders po-facedly demanding hundreds of billions of dollars to clean its economic growth, while refusing the donors the right to monitor the use of the money.

All Canadians should be proud of Stephen Harper. Of all the leaders of serious countries, he is the most conspicuously skeptical of this great eco-scam. This is Canada’s finest foreign policy hour since Mackenzie King supported Charles de Gaulle’s takeover of St. Pierre and Miquelon from Vichy at Christmas 1941, against the mindless opposition of the U.S. state department.

The flip-side of this controversy is the emerging U.S. economic miracle, which at this point officially promises increased taxes, faster economic growth, 50% to 100% annual increases in money supply without inflation, for a decade of trillion dollar annual federal budget deficits without seriously raising interest rates, or devaluing the dollar. All 18 wheels will come off this impossible contraption, in all directions of the compass. And all numerate people, including, presumably, the unfathomable Timothy Geithner and the fabulist President whom he serves, know it.

I predict that in a decent interval after his confirmation as Federal Reserve chairman next month or February, Ben Bernanke will announce that the central bank will no longer buy the treasury notes that finance this orgy. The United States cannot drink itself sober. China has now passed on the pleasure of continuing to buy low yield instruments of a country that is doing the necessary to convert its currency into wall paper, if not toilet paper. The Federal Reserve is buying the treasury issues that finance the federal government’s deficit-straight additions to the money supply — the most familiar form of currency debasement and rampaging inflation, from the times of Caligula to Juan Peron and Robert Mugabe.

Obama and Geithner will scream like wounded banshees that Bernanke has betrayed them on how to deal with what they will portray as George W.’s messy leavings, while Bernanke devalues the dollar by about 15%, raises interest rates to about 6% and requires federal government spending cuts of about $500-billion annually, largely from a revisitation of entitlements and some sales and transaction taxes that the Congress will have to agree to in conference as an emergency compromise between the parties. The health care charade of buying individual senators with from $100-million (Christopher Dodd,), to $3-billion (Bill Nelson of Florida — not Ben Nelson of Nebraska who folded at $100 million) can’t slice this Gordian Knot. There will be fewer lawyers and investment bankers in the U.S., and more savers and investors, and if the politicians don’t ruin it again, market forces will shape up the U.S. to meet the Chinese challenge. But both job creation and economic growth will be slow in a transitional period.

In the Christmas spirit of shriving and confession, I thank Anita Kern for pointing out, re my Copenhagen column two weeks ago, that the Silver Skates was not written by Hans Christian Andersen, though he had some similar story titles, but by the American Mary Mapes Dodge, and was about Holland and not Denmark. And I have been intermittently trying for many weeks to apologize for the reference in my column about the visit to Canada of the Prince of Wales, for the reference to Nelson Mandela marrying the widow of Mozambican President Maputo. It was president Machel, and Maputo is Mozambique’s capital. I have no way here of chasing up Andersen’s short story titles, and I believe the Maputo error was editorial, but in the interests of the season, I take these allegations for myself, a character-enhancing process with which I have become familiar in this decade, but do not recommend.

Good riddance to 2009. Let us all have a splendid 2010.

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