Eat, Shit, and Sleep

When taking America’s ‘comparative advantages’ vis-à-vis all other countries into account, one must also note that America also has the best food compared to all other countries. America’s ethnic enclaves offer the kind of foods that are perhaps much better than the food that is now found in their countries and places of origin. This reality about American food being better than the food found in all other places is something I became resolute about after the four overseas trips I have made over the course of almost the last one and a half years. I was once told by a friend that all the hype about overseas food is merely hype rather than a matter of fact or reality, but nevertheless, I had to witness this for myself and I had to arrive at my own conclusions about this matter. 

Also, the US currency is gaining value in recent days and months vis-à-vis all the other currencies of the world. For instance, the US dollar doubled in value vis-à-vis the Turkish lira in recent months, a fact which I learned on my trip to Turkey this past May. These changes in currency values are not only economic and financial in nature. These changes in currency values also have political and social messages if one has the intelligence and smarts to decipher them. But surprisingly, the only currency which has not really gone down amidst the rise of the US dollar in recent months is the Russian currency. 

Russian power – both latent and kinetic – is perhaps the main impetus behind the calls for “reform” of the UN Security Council in recent months. But all the talk about “reform” of the UN Security Council overlooks the fact that at the very bottom of it all, the UN Security Council is only of “marginal importance” in the overall diplomatic relations between the world’s three major powers, namely, the United States, China, and Russia. 

Also, the United Nations is a place where global public opinion could be shaped, but it is ultimately not the central place where global public opinion is shaped. Arguably, the internet and social media play a more fundamental role in the shaping of global public opinion than the United Nations at the moment. Nevertheless, the United Nations does serve the role of reflecting global public opinion at any given point in time and is perhaps a sample of global public opinion at any given point in time. 

Basically, when the interests of various countries and individuals do not align, all the diplomatic pomp and pageantry amounts to nothing. As Henry Kissinger wrote, when the former Soviet Union invited Mao Zedong for a visit to discuss a border dispute which arose between China and the former Soviet Union in the 1960’s, Mao was purported to have said that the visit was worth nothing and that all he did was “eat, shit, and sleep” during the visit, given that there was no basic resolution to the border dispute, despite all the diplomatic pomp and pageantry. And as the late Zbigniew Brzezinski noted, the triangular relations between the United States, Russia, and China are always at the advantage of the United States when the United States is able to draw China to itself and away from Russia. The potential ability of the United States to draw China away from Russia and towards itself is known as the “China Card.”

In turn, the United States is at a disadvantage when Russia is able to draw China to itself, which is essentially what is occurring at the moment. But as mentioned before, and like anything else, this triangular relationship between the United States, Russia, and China is constantly in a state of flux and it contains a number of moving parts which all have to be brought together. What comes out of the flux and how these moving parts are brought together is something that will perhaps be determined over the course of time. 

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