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Christine Lagarde, Belt & Road Enabler

A Thread...
1/ It takes a special kind of tin ear to watch France’s National Rally, Italy’s League, the Brexit Party, etc. score in the EU Parliament, then come back basically a month later and place the IMF head into the ECB.
2/ Christine Lagarde isn’t Jay Powell either, where most people on the street had no name recognition before the appointment. Cypriots remember CL from when they took those “haircuts” on their savings accounts.
3/ And you remember the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants ineptitude in the rolling Greek saga all those years? CL again. Greeks know Lagarde too.
4/ And it isn’t just the anti-NATO, anti-WTO right wing types that have animus toward the IMF; the Berkeley crowd hates the supranationals because emergency loans often come with required pension cuts.
5/ Outside the FT Op-Ed section, Lagarde is about as popular as that person talking on their phone in the elevator. If her term is anything like Trichet (’03-’11) or Draghi (’11-’19), she is that last person still at your party, nursing the Sambuca, not taking the hint...
6/ …for 8 years. And what does the world look like in 8 years? Say it with me: China’s multi-trillion dollar Belt & Road Initiative, the Marshall Plan on caffeine, partially funded by guess who? The IMF, which is 6.4% funded by China, 17.5% by the U.S.
7/ But unlike the Marshall Plan, this isn’t Harry Truman back home. It’s Xi Jinping. And your pal Xi wants his Kazakh resources. You fight your culture wars; China will grab the Congolese cobalt, and the West pays into the kitty, via the IMF. Lagarde’s IMF.
8/ Now who put this Chicago transit map in here? My bad, that’s the World Bank’s rendering of China’s power play. All of Asia and all of Europe and all of Africa. Marshall Plan on steroids.
9/ Here’s Gallup polling Americans, if you’ll grant me this proxy for Western fears in general. Russia and China = #1 and #2.
10/ Russia + China. What could go wrong? Melt those ice caps and let’s just say it won’t be Denmark with the keys to Santa’s house.
11/ It’s the “Ice Silk Road,” and you haven’t heard about it because Antifa crowbar videos get the clicks. And the land passageways? They're a who’s who of old Soviet satellites – the ‘stans, chunks of Africa, even the ostensibly U.S.-aligned Sunni states.
12/ I wrote “Subsidizing China’s Superpower Ambitions” like a year ago to point out a long-term bull case for China on account of a sleeping West. What will be on tonight’s cable news? Not the latest from the Urals.
13/ This appointment was classic Franco-German alliance. Give the German Defense Minister the European Commission top job and give France (Lagarde) the ECB. Pay no attention to the EU Parliament results.
14/ And if you think her reputation has a cloud now, remember that Boris may pull the Brits from Hotel California right as she starts. Any whiff of bank aid from Lagarde and you can bet your bottom dollar she will be as popular as, say, Ben Bernanke in Youngstown.
15/ Troubled reputation now? Just wait until China’s BRI actually becomes “a thing” in the West’s awareness.
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