The Tripolar Moment
Conflicts and Alliances

Conflicts and Alliances

Narrated by Balaji AI.

A tripolar triangle leads to surprisingly complicated dynamics. During the Great Depression, FDR’s US admired the Nazis and the NYT wrote encomiums to them, as documented in Three New Deals and The Gray Lady Winked. Then, after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the USSR and the Nazis kicked off World War 2 by invading Poland together, with the USSR standing by as the Nazis fought the Anglo-Americans, and the US-aligned UK seriously contemplating bombing the Soviets. Later, the USSR and the Nazis fought each other during Barbarossa. Then, the US and the USSR teamed up to fight the Nazis. Finally, the US and USSR split Germany between themselves and fought each other during the Cold War. That’s why Orwell wrote in 1984 about how “Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia”127 — because the coalitions between states switched all the time.

With networks rather than states, the coalitions are even more fluid, with several existing simultaneously.

One Pole Against Another 

NYT vs CCP. This is the obvious one, the Thucydides trap, the Great Power conflict between the US and China that many have predicted. But there’s a subtlety here. Many regular Chinese people don’t want such a conflict, and many Americans don’t either, but those who are invested in imperial ambitions on both sides — the paper subscribers and the party members — are into it. Networks are driving the states to war.

NYT vs BTC. This is another obvious one, the American regulatory state (which NYT is upstream of) against the decentralized network. We are seeing this push with efforts like the failed 2021 House Bill and the “” letter. Note the demographics of the signatories to the latter: it is almost entirely white Westerners complaining about the US establishment losing root control over the global financial system. It is doubtful that their enthusiasm for the dollar will be shared by Americans hit by inflation — or by people overseas. This conflict is the American establishment vs the Global Internet.

CCP vs BTC. Yet another obvious one. The CCP has “banned” Bitcoin many times over the years, but those bans have materially grown in severity. The most recent action was just short of a seizure.

Two Poles vs the Third 

NYT + CCP vs BTC. This is the State vs the Network. It’s when the NYT-controlled American empire and the CCP-controlled Chinese empire team up to attack BTC, perhaps on the grounds of “climate” or some other thinly veiled excuse to maintain state power.

NYT + BTC vs CCP. This is Western voice and exit together vs Eastern control. It’s when NYT’s interests in disrupting the Chinese regime and BTC’s interests in providing globally uncensorable savings overlap to provide a thorn in the side for CCP. The web3 part of BTC/web3 becomes particularly important here, because it provides hard-to-censor global services that complement digital gold, which on its own is necessary but not sufficient for freedom.

BTC + CCP vs NYT. This is the post-American world against the American empire. Against the inflating dollar, China and crypto together can do something neither can alone. The CCP/RMB pole runs a Chinese system that is already at scale, capable of operating completely outside the dollar, and based on a more modern digital yuan to boot. The BTC/web3 part of this aligns American dissidents128 with global crypto holders, and promotes neutral protocols129 that take away American root access (but also don’t grant it to China).

Intrapolar Conflicts 

Near each pole there is an internal dyad representing the conflict within. We represent this as an inscribed triangle within the tripolar triangle.

Near the NYT pole are the American dissidents, the non-woke liberals, centrists, and conservatives who disagree with the US establishment’s platform of speech controls, inflation, and unending warfare - but still identify as American first, and don’t want to see China become number one.

Near the CCP pole are the Chinese liberals, the internationalist capitalists who thought times were better under Hu, as well as the many groups left and right who’ve seen their fortunes dim under newly aggressive Chinese nationalism…but, again, who still see themselves as Chinese first, and don’t want to bend to American imperialism.

Near the BTC pole is the web3 community and the tens of millions of Bitcoin holders who don’t identify as Maximalists…but who also still subscribe to many of the internationalist principles that presuppose an internet without American or Chinese root control over the financial or communication systems.

The Road To Recentralization 

And what about other countries and people who don’t define themselves with reference to the Americans, the Chinese, or the blockchain? Well, there will be a lot of pressure to identify with the first two poles…which will drive any group that doesn’t want to be under the thumb of the US establishment or the CCP to the third pole of BTC/web3.

That is, one of our premises is that the Indians, Israelis, American dissidents, Chinese liberals, tech founders/investors, and people from other countries that want to maintain their own sovereignty will need to avail themselves of BTC/web3 for decentralized communication, transaction, and computation.

But to fully explain why, we’ll need to go through a scenario for the future that isn’t about remaining under the thumb of US or Chinese centralization, nor about falling into crypto-anarchic decentralization, but rather about consciously recentralizing into opt-in startup societies.

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The Possible Futures