Geopolitical Update : The death of the Queen brings the world to a standstill, UK reset?

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By Christian Takushi, Macro Economist, Switzerland 11 Sep 2022 (public release has been truncated and adapted)

The passing of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has shocked the world and is likely to have political and geopolitical implications.

This sad event is absolutely remarkable and historic. It is reminding us all that Britain is a monarchy and its Queen or King can have tremendous influence that can span the globe.

Much had been said in recent weeks about the UK’s formidable challenges, the decline of the nation and even its possible implosion. Some said the Queen’s death is like a death blow. But I see it quite differently – I see Britain again shining when in peril and pain.

Some personal words

Our sympathy and prayers go to all the people of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and throughout the world that are mourning the passing away of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. People on all continents are mourning the loss of one of the most beloved and upright heads of state or monarchs the world has ever seen. She was a source of great stability, steadfastness and selfless service – attributes that have become extremely rare in the world we live in.

The message by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday in the House of Commons succinctly described why the late Queen Elizabeth is irreplaceable and why she will be missed so much. It encapsulates the reason why the world has come to a kind of standstill last Thursday night. That speech may go down in history as one of the best ever made in that chamber in recent decades years.

Why I am writing ..

Three days ago I was reviewing my thoughts on two research reports. On Thursday morning my wife and I were driving on the roads of Kent wondering about the heavy dark clouds that covered South-East England. Later that evening at dinner table we heard the sad news.

By Friday night I had to conclude that I needed to go over those two research reports I had in the pipeline and review the analysis on several geopolitical-political fronts. Not only that, I realised that I needed to pen a special report about the geopolitical impact the loss of such an important and highly respected world leader would have. This time, not only because of whom we have lost, but because of the particular timing of this sudden event. Timing, my friends, is crucial in politics and geopolitics.

.. because my analysis deviates from consensus

Many have rushed to say “the Queen could have not died at a worse possible time – Britain was facing so many grave challenges already. Just last week some experts feared the nation would implode – Now this”

Let me say this in all humility since I do not focus entirely on UK affairs – my analysis points to the contrary: The passing of Queen Elisabeth, exceedingly sad as it is, will unite the nation and it might also give Britain a window of unprecedented sympathy and goodwill around the world, thus helping Britain to reposition itself in this troubled hour of its long history. What else could have united the country?

In a sense, unity could have not come at a more desperate point in time, because the outlook was grave. Over the past 6 years I have seen Britons becoming ever more divided and disillusioned. The way the members of parliament treat each other has been at times a bit awful. One 21 year old Briton told me just last Tuesday “I want to get out, my country is going downhill – people are happy and OK with a declining quality of services and laziness. What is your advice, where should I go?”

Since last Thursday night, though, the British people are being given back some degree of unity, and soon probably the confidence and strength they need to face the many challenges. Moreover the world is in a state of mourning – unleashing an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy towards Britain and Britain’s new monarch. Britain is been granted a period of grace, a much needed respite. A window of opportunity is here that King Charles III and Prime Minister Truss are likely to seize. Knowing of her steadfast faith, I humbly believe this may have been one of Queen Elizabeth’s last prayers – that her passing would help unite her nation and that in the pain of the loss a blessing may shine forth.

The speech by King Charles III on 9 Sep 2022 begun that process of unifying and encouraging the nation.

An era has come to an end – The era of remarkable peace over Western Europe?

 The importance of this sudden event, I believe, cannot be overstated. It will impact many of the current political, economic and geopolitical trends around the world. As stated above, many experts have said they are very worried about Britain without the Queen. The implications were negative if not bleak to say the least. If they are right, the death of her Majesty will accelerate the decline of Britain and also usher a period of instability, violence and probably wars.

Just last week I was discussing with trusted thought leaders about the growing tensions between EU nations, the rising confrontation between East and West, the decline of the UK and of the West as a whole, the UK being deeply involved in the war effort in Ukraine – but an escalation could suck the UK into it, the growing energy crisis, the EU’s “ultimatum” on the Northern Ireland issue, the growing inflation problem around the world, poverty in the UK, essential UK services in the hands of so many private & foreign hands, the growing isolation of the West and how the strengthening US dollar is hurting nations around the world etc. Just three days ago Britain was in its probably most vulnerable situation since 1940. All these issues seemed overwhelming .. and the only place of stability in that terribly uncertain landscape was the Queen of course.

When the sad news from Balmoral sank in, economic and political analysts understandably said .. without the Queen the outlook is very bad. There was shock, sadness, but also fear in the air on Thursday evening.

When a great leader passes away it is often the case that it also marks the end of an era. No one has said this more succinctly than President Macron. “With her .. an era is gone”. But woven in his message was a hint to the statement a few weeks ago by UK’s chief diplomat, Mrs. Liz Truss, that she didn’t know if President Macron was an enemy or a friend. Thus, to top all the above .. UK relations with France and the EU were at a critical low point.

I am well aware of the many serious challenges the world, and Britain in particular, is facing. We have been warning about them, especially about our over-reliance on autocratic nations since 2010 .. when almost nobody took our warnings seriously. I have received stern looks from British thought leaders and executives for daring to say that the UK should rethink the keeping of essential services and industries of relevance for National Security in private hands. I often argue that Swiss railways are owned by the state but run like a private company – the services are better and prices lower than Britain. A deficit in one year is a price worthwhile paying so the whole country can flourish.  Switzerland is a capitalistic market economy that works, because every canton raises its taxes and tries to keep them low to attract tax payers (competition) and the state owns key public services that are run like private firms. The quality of public services is excellent. Conservatives didn’t like my view, but I sense that the crisis in essential services and underinvestment (energy, water etc.) is a great opportunity for the UK to rethink the current solution of fragmented markets in too many private hands.

There is a feeling in the air that the people are only now fully appreciating how much Queen Elizabeth did for the world. I overheard several experts acknowledging that people took her for granted and that her reign had been a time of unprecedented peace for Western Europe. She oversaw the mostly peaceful transformation of the British Empire into the Commonwealth. It could have been a very bloody transformation indeed. These commentators implied that with her passing Britain would fall apart and the many looming wars and conflicts might become unavoidable.

Nevertheless, the past two days are giving me reason to be hopeful that some of this implosion and these wars can be at least delayed if not somewhat reversed. And part of my hope is based on what is happening in Britain these days. It seems that in her amazing foresight and with an incredible sense of duty Queen Elizabeth prepared the nation, Prince Charles and Prince William along their respective spouses for her departure and a successful succession. The greatness of Britain is being displayed for all the world to see. To some Britons it might be normal, but that is not the case for most of this world. Many around the world are impressed with what they see.

In this sad hour, Britain can find unity and confidence

The very old set of succession protocols can give people a sense of continuity, stability and even security. A succession protocol allows a whole generation of Britons to see for the first time that things don’t fall apart and into disarray when their monarch dies (as some have predicted), no, they fall in place and in order, because Britain’s institutions work and they are in some ways the envy of the world. A modern world that is confused. A world where nothing is stable and enduring anymore, where self-seeking leaders are simply trying to be popular and experts no longer differentiate between their office and their activism.

To my utter surprise I overheard some commentators saying that the protocols, oaths and ceremonies we witnessed this Saturday morning were mere symbolic relics of the past. I said “with due respect .. protocols matter, oaths matter”.

Britain is undoubtedly in economic and political trouble, but its institutions have survived centuries, wars and tragedy .. they still work with enviable precision and décor. I told my wife this morning – “Britons can take pride in being part of a great nation these days”. This sad moment in British history could be one of those fine hours. It has been said that many nations implode under pressure, but Britain shines when threatened.

A reset is in the air

It is becoming more plausible by the hour that despite the terrible sadness of this moment .. by her passing away in this very difficult time for Britain, Queen Elizabeth is giving her beloved nation a unique opportunity to find unity and reset the whole chessboard or landscape so to speak. At the very minimum I believe politicians are giving themselves a respite with their divisiveness, strikes have been postponed and not only that .. major nations have postponed action they had planned against Britain. This in itself is not a reset, but in the hands of wise leaders, it can be used to relaunch the dialogue without any party having to lose its face. This is the most remarkable about the unexpected gift of Queen Elizabeth to Britain in her passing. I know of two world leaders that said, it is impossible to go ahead with their ministers’ plans. The memory of Queen Elizabeth makes it impossible for any assertive action to be taken against Britain. Even President Putin had respect for the Queen – this could be a chance to reach out. All of a sudden many things are possible, but that won’t last of course.

If this unfolds as this analysis suggests,

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By Christian Takushi MA UZH, Independent Macro Economist and Geopolitical Strategist. Switzerland 11 Sep 2022.

Geopolitical and economic conditions need close monitoring, because they can change suddenly. 

No part of this analysis should be taken or construed as an investment recommendation. 

Remembering Midway: only four of these bomber planes made it back. The first three US attack waves were obliterated – Let’s be grateful for those brave pilots.


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