The most common New Year Resolution in the West is undoubtedly – This year I will exercise more and lose weight. Like that is going to happen! It is time to look around and select a more viable resolution.
Let’s start by looking at the world. While it is still possible that “Joe Biden” will stumble his way into a civilization-ending global thermonuclear war, that is no excuse for not trying to improve ourselves while we still have time. Most likely outcome in the Ukraine is that the US Political Class will do the same thing they did in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and simply abandon Zelensky. My bet remains that the eventual resolution of the US/NATO proxy war will include a UN-authorized heavily-armed Chinese military presence in rump Ukraine to ensure that both NATO and Russia stay out – and to use Chinese methods to deal with the Ukraine’s endemic corruption.
In the aftermath, Russia is likely to focus on economic & industrial independence – they already have the lowest international debt of any major economy, and are largely self sufficient in the major real goods – food, energy, minerals. Europe is already a lost cause, with companies like Airbus and Volkswagen likely to follow Volvo into Chinese ownership. Europe faces a probable future where the nicer parts will become tourist meccas for wealthy foreigners while the rest of Europe is overrun by unassimilated Third World immigrants. Woke fiscally-incontinent North America is facing the same fate, barring a miracle. And South America & Africa are likely to stay true to form.
Where does that leave the individual in the West? For myself, this looks like a good time to commit to learning Chinese. While superficially that looks like a very high hill to climb, millions of Chinese children manage to do it every year. For those of us who suffered through Latin in high school, there is the grammatical benefit of not having to worry about conjugations, declensions, tenses. On the other hand, the apprentice will have to worry about tones. English-speakers use tones to convey emotional overtones – such as surprise or annoyance; Chinese-speakers use tones to change the meanings of words. Famously, the Chinese word “ma" can have 5 completely different meanings depending on tone.
At least when in the future we are huddled around the camp fire and the children ask “What did you do before Biden’s big war, Gramps?”, I will have something to share with them.