Emmanuel Todd—“The Third World War Has Begun”

Emmanuel Todd is a French demographer, historian, and anthropologist at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris. He is one of the most original thinkers surveying the world scene, and is known for having predicted, in 1976, the collapse of the Soviet Union in his book La chute finale. His prediction was based upon demographic factors such as rising infant mortality and falling average lifespan, which he said were leading indicators incompatible with a society’s remaining a global superpower.

In 2001, when everybody was talking about the “end of history” and emergence of the United States as the “sole hyperpower”, he published Après l’empire (English translation, After the Empire), in which he forecast the U.S., which he described as having become an empire by accident, not through strategy, as losing its superpower status due to debt-fueled consumption and neglect of essentials. You decide if he was right, or just wait a few more years.

In June 2022, he published his latest book, La troisième guerre mondiale a deja commencé. Curiously, the book was published in Japan, where it has sold more than 100,000 copies. He said that the climate over the Ukraine conflict was so emotional in France that to look at it from the historical perspective would result in his analysis being “socially destroyed” («carbonisé»), for nothing.

Here, in an hour and 45 minute Élucid interview, he presents his view of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, how it is embroiling Russia and NATO in an escalating conflict which both sides view as existential, and leading other countries to align with one or the other side as they perceive in their own interest. This, in turn, is pushing the U.S. imperial system toward the brink, as the monetary and financial system that supports it begins to crumble and is seen as impotent against those who defy and work around it.

The interview is in French, but with English subtitles which I have attempted to turn on. However, YouTube subtitles and their interaction with browsers is perennially flaky, so you may have to use the button at the bottom of the player (which looks like a rounded white box with dashes in it) to turn them on.

Here are the slides which accompanied the interview so you can review them in more detail. Here is one chart that makes you ask “Does this look like a sole superpower?” Note that the chart starts in 1965, not 1945, so the effects of World War II largely leaving the U.S. domestic industrial plant untouched do not play a major part.



Interesting that a French author afraid to publish his book in France talks about how he would not be able to do what he does in Russia (an authoritarian democracy, he says, versus the liberal oligarchy of the West).

Also interesting that Todd sees Journalism with a capital J as having worked assiduously for years to build a climate of Russophobia in the West. One wonders why lockstep Far Left journalists would have done that, especially since in Todd’s view the real aim of the US Rulers’ proxy war in the Ukraine is to control Europe by driving a wedge between Russia and now-emasculated Germany?


The Russophobia in the West is definitely noticeable. But one should draw a distinction between the dysfunctionality of Putin’s regime, a remnant of the Bolshevik propaganda machine, with surprising grassroots vitality of the movement in Ukraine, and across many parts of Eastern Europe.

Maybe the best option for Russia is to fall to Ukraine, as soon as possible. What’s happening there can transcend the aging West.

Time to stop listening to CNN! Even those who support the people of the Ukraine would have to admit that the Ukraine is a horribly corrupt country with great social divisions run by a set of kleptocrats. A “democracy” in which opposition political parties are banned, the media is explicitly controlled by the regime, and even churches are under the thumb of the kleptocracy.

If the Ukraine, bankrupt & totally dependent on foreign aid, is the future – then please just nuke us all now!


I’m physically close enough to the conflict to have an inside view on these things, both in Ukraine as well as in Russia.


Serious heartfelt request, Eggspurt. If you have real information on what is going on in the Ukraine, please share.

Unfortunately, all the average punter in the West sees is “Ghost of Kiev”-type of nonsensical Ukrainian propaganda. If one digs deeper, there are sites that are Russophilic rather than the bog-standard Western Russophobic – but are they any more accurate? It would be very helpful to those of us in the West whose rulers seem intent on dragging us into a global thermonuclear war if we had a better understanding of the situation.

As far as I can tell, the story so far is that all the ruling classes miscalculated:

The Ukrainian junta thought they could wage a genocidal civil war against fellow Ukrainians in the east without consequences. They ignored the reality that Russia would have to intervene.

The Russians thought that the Ukrainian junta would quickly decide to negotiate instead of fight once Russia intervened. They ignored the reality that US/NATO wanted war and would force the Ukrainians to continue.

The US Ruling Class thought that their economic sanctions would quickly force Russia to its knees, bringing the proxy war & Russia to an end. They ignored the reality that Russia’s economy produces real goods & commodities which the world needs, whereas the US economy is much more fragile, mostly paper-chasing & importing.

The Europeans are, to paraphrase Mr. Todd, a lost cause. They don’t know what they are doing, and are afraid to stand up for their own interests.

The question for all of us peons is how this tragedy of errors can be brought to a close before the damage to the entire world becomes much, much worse.


The Russian propaganda is attempting to build a virtual reality that even the insiders don’t believe. What’s most fascinating is the degree of buy-in they get from the outsiders. Russian elites have a pragmatic and cynical view: they feel they’ve been betrayed by their agents in Ukraine, and that they’ll win, but that it will be costly. The propaganda that does work on Russian elites, funny enough, is basically that the Ukrainian propaganda is as big as Russian propaganda. The Russian non-elites are quietly trying to leave the country. The Russians who left are deleting their life histories. The internal true believers have become dismayed over the summer, complaining about the lack of national unity, fragmenting internally. The leadership is putting everything they have in what’s coming next, hoping for a breakthrough and a turn-around in morale. Unfortunately for Ukraine, anyone who could lead a revolution in Russia has been killed or exiled. The most likely option in the context of largely dysfunctional military is Wagner.

On the other hand, Ukrainian propaganda is quite organic, grassroots, decentralized. Ukrainian propaganda tries to build up courage, to build the narrative of Russian oppression, and to dehumanize Russian military. There’s incredible unity and solidarity, and no loss in faith, even strengthening of the resolve, but there’s sadness in the celebration of those who dies. Ukrainian ex-pats are working on how to go back and invest in rebuilding.

I agree about internal weakness in Europe. The a-woken fanatics control an increasing proportion of institutions, but the sentiment is beginning to act against them. A lot of left-wing political powers in Europe are quietly pro-Russian, as well as the far-right ones - no wonder since they’ve been supported by Russia to weaken the West. The Russian invasion seems to be changing the attitude both in Europe as well as in the US against polarizing factions. Observe this chart by David Rozado:


I am not sure how many people would try to make the case that newspapers like NYT or WP are representative of the opinions of the great majority of the American people – hardly “popular”.

You did not give any insights into the WWI-like largely stationary front lines in the Ukraine.

Ukrainian propaganda says this is because they are winning, mowing down thousands of untrained Russian convicts sent in human wave attacks against noble Ukrainian defenders. Non-Russophobic Western analysts say that rather Russia has chosen to let the Ukrainian rulers send masses of freshly conscripted teenagers and old men against Russian artillery, resulting in massive Ukrainian (& Polish) casualties – maybe as many as 10 Ukrainian casualties for each Russian casualty. In short, the Russian plan is to help the Ukrainian rulers “de-militarize” their army.

I find it amazing that there is so little real information about what the situation actually is. Bad information leads to bad decisions. Who among the players are making bad decisions? Time will tell.


I will bet you a dozen donuts that the term will spike up again in 2024 and will coincide with BLM activation which occurs every 4 years.

The media are the polarizers.


Once again there is a war between the elites (sic), whereas the ordinary person, if left alone and unpropgandised would live peacefully, apart from the odd football match. These conflicts are planned and provoked by those who won’t ever see a trench. We should all realise that and not try too much to decipher ‘current events’ once the red mist has come down, and blame the people in the thick of it. Surely we have seen the play enough times now to not be naively surprised? One day I’d like to see the provacateurs stopped in their tracks before they start the next conflict.


Try this. Dmitry Orlov was born in Russia, came to the US as a kid and has gone back as an adult. He has written books on “Collapse - Best Practices”. Though it is behind a paywall, the blog is inexpensive, literate and informative. He give what may well be accurate views of the state of affairs. There are ver inexpensive levels of participation.


Here are my reviews of two of Orlov’s books:

In Reinventing Collapse he makes an interesting point regarding the post-collapse circumstances of the Soviet Union and the U.S.

Drawing upon the Soviet example, [Orlov] examines what an economic collapse on a comparable scale would mean for the U.S. Ironically, he concludes that many of the weaknesses which were perceived as hastening the fall of the Soviet system—lack of a viable cash economy, hoarding and self-sufficiency at the enterprise level, failure to produce consumer goods, lack of consumer credit, no private ownership of housing, and a huge and inefficient state agricultural sector which led many Soviet citizens to maintain their own small garden plots— resulted, along with the fact that the collapse was from a much lower level of prosperity, in mitigating the effects of collapse upon individuals. In the United States, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing capability, depends heavily upon immigrants in the technology sector, and has optimised its business models around high-velocity cash transactions and just in time delivery, the consequences post-collapse may be more dire than in the “primitive” Soviet system. If you’re going to end up primitive, you may be better starting out primitive.


Thanks for the recommendation – although Our Host’s reviews suggest that Orlov may have a rather pessimistic axe to grind.

Agreed, there are lots of statements out there, and even more opinions – both freely distributed and on a paying basis. But we peons are still flying blind. Take a relatively straightforward measurable factor like casualties. Brit politicians have put out nominally-authoritative claims that Russia has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties, other sources state the true number is more than an order of magnitude less. It is hard to find any credible number on Ukrainian casualties.

We citizens have no reliable basis for judging what is being done in our name. And we cannot trust our Swamp Creatures. It is a recipe for surprises.


Polarizers will polarize. To paraphrase Tanner Greer:

Revolutionary, terrorist, and protest movements are trying to achieve their vision of the good by creating a crisis that makes compromise impossible, forcing enough people in power to endorse radical aims. Their leaders all work on a similar principle.

In any given population there will be a wide distribution of opinion about what should be done. Some care a little (5 out of 100), some care a lot (95 out of 100). The revolutionary leaders want people to all be at 100 out of 100. But maybe only 10% are there. Most are somewhere between 30-70. Leaders need to make the population as a whole become more radicalized towards their position.

Arguing does not really work. What works is manipulating events so that things are no longer about issues, but identities. You can compromise on an issue. You cannot compromise on an identity. That’s the thing. If you are a revolutionary you don’t want compromise. So what you do is you create a crisis where compromise is not possible.

Flipping the problem from issue to identity is the core purpose of the crisis. You are trying to get the people in the 50-90 range to say “well look, this is no longer about 45 versus 65, it is either 100 or 0. So I guess I must go 100.”

In practical terms that almost always is “Now it is no longer about what outcome you want, but who you stand with. Them or us?”

There are lots of ways you can try to make this happen. In the civil rights movement that strategy was to provoke aggression on the part of the police, so that blacks who were afraid of protesting or who just disapproved of the idea, felt like “their side” was being attacked.

Thus the logic of sending children to be bit by dogs and ripped apart by fire hoses. “Look at what THEY are doing to US! Will you just stand by NOW?”

And it worked.

It doesn’t have to be non-violent. Violence can do this equally well. Logic of civil conflict is that if it is a violent contest between 0 and 100, you pick the side closest to you because what else can you do? Violence quickly removes grounds of neutrality.

The point of a terrorist attack in a place like France, ISIS says, is to make it increasingly untenable for Muslims to be French. Majority will not trust them, moderates will lose ground.

Again, the point of revolutionary activities is to de-legitimize the moderates. Extremists hate their own moderates far more than they hate their enemies.

We need to descend the ivory towers before they’re toppled, and be an in-world force.


I can’t disagree with you eggspurt, but it still appears a school yard level of logic and power play. Where has x000 years of progress gone if, when needed, that civilisation reverts to caveman diplomacy? We are manipulated, in the ways you quote, but if we are aware of it, then we should call it out and not be stampeded one way or the other. Takes moral fibre and is uncomfortable, and maybe you lose your job, get cancelled, or similar, as seen in the last three years.


Yes. I’ve seen responsible truthful politicians lose out to pragmatic sociopath demagogues. If it ever existed, the balance of power has tilted away from the far-sighted, and I can’t avoid feeling outnumbered within the current establishment.

We have the choice between:

  • fighting the valiant fight, and maybe losing for a long time
  • stepping out and building strength

The choice isn’t clear anymore, sadly, but at the very least, we should seek to assemble something of a ‘bible’ of a winning movement, and align the forces.


The World’s Reserve Currency as Monetary Fetanyl poisons the entire American Empire but the United States most of all.

It really makes me sad that I can’t reach people about the importance of preparation so they are mentally prepared to hear what I have to say about militia.money

Everyone is in an opiated haze – even conservatives that know things are going to go to Hell.


A more realistic view would be that we peons are passengers on the Titanic. We know that it is stupid for the Captain to try to achieve a record time for the TransAtlantic crossing when the ocean is full of icebergs – but we have no voice. It is not like the modern West is a “democracy” or anything. And so we wait for the unavoidable collapse.

Many people I have talked to do not want to survive the coming collapse – they don’t want to live hard lives without regular power, gasoline, plentiful food, medications, internet. Those who do want to survive often recognize that groups will survive, not individuals. But becoming a member of a survivable group is a major undertaking, with a lot of near-term costs and foregone opportunities.


There are a lot of people who, during the tensest moments in the cold war, believed “the survivors [will] envy the dead”, as said by Herman Kahn in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War (and often misattributed to Nikita Khrushchev). This echoed the sentiment before World War II that “the bomber will always get through” and that strategic bombing would rapidly demoralise populations and lead to capitulation. In fact, strategic bombing in the subsequent war did not have the predicted effect. When it comes to the crunch (or the crunch is imminent), those who say they’re resigned to oblivion now may value survival much higher than when it’s a hypothetical in an indefinite future.

Those who expect there are “Bad Times Just Around the Corner” don’t have to go all survivalist prepper to take precautions. Many who work from home can, and have chosen to, Escape the City, which is an obvious move to avoid conditions which are already deteriorating and will become acutely Darwinian once the funny money runs out. One to three months’ supply of long-preservation food and water will provide a buffer against disruptions which will tide one over against non-apocalyptic events such as ice storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and transportation interruptions, and takes up little space in most families’ garages, basements, or (if you live in Switzerland) abri anti-nucléaire.

As you note, there is a risk of foregone opportunities, and this applies to societies as well as individuals and families. It would be truly tragic if resignation to decline and compromise with tyranny foreclosed what may be the only opportunity for intelligent life to kindle the spark of life throughout an otherwise dead galaxy.


No question that being prepared for temporary disruptions like storms or earthquakes is a wise policy for each individual. That is different from trying to survive a major permanent breakdown in society, such as total collapse.

The population of California, as an example, had stabilized at about a quarter of a million humans in the thousands of years after the first immigrants crossed over from Asia. Today it is around 35 million. After the collapse, it is rather clear that California will only be able to support a small fraction of the humans who live there today. Something similar is probably true of a wide variety of other locales, whether England or Iceland – most of the West depends on a complex web of imports.

The reasonable bet is that the humans who do survive in those much reduced populations will be members of organized groups – whether that group begins as a National Guard unit or the Mormon Church.