America’s world dominance since the break up of the Soviet Union is coming to an end. Pundits will write millions of words debating the “how” and the “why” of America’s fall from grace. To borrow a phrase from our current esteemed leader, America has been punching above its weight class, for many years. Our government has spent more than it has taken in for over three decades.
Things took a decided turn for the worse during the G. W. Bush administration. The Clinton administration had the benefit of the inflating Dot.com bubble and the inflating housing bubble and, as a result, managed to balance the budget. The Dot.com bubble burst early in Bush’s first term and the housing bubble burst late in his last term. In between he passed the costly Medicare-Part D and al Qaeda attacked America, which brought us two long, costly, and bloody wars. The national debt went up $5 trillion on Bush’s eight year watch.
Then America blessed itself by electing Barack Obama to two terms of office. His response to the Great Recession was to run up the national debt $5.5 trillion in less than five and one half years and most Americans feel like they are still living in a recession.
So, today we find America funding all of its spending programs, including its vaunted military, by having to borrow 40% of its budget from China, Japan, individual investors, and most recently from the Federal Reserve (The Fed has no money of its own, but it can create money out of thin air). Can anyone really be surprised that America is losing its influence in the world? The world’s most awesome military aside, how can a beggar nation continue to be the world’s “benevolent” policeman? It can not!
America’s decline has been evident to the rest of the world for some time. Many have been the critics of America’s dominate role in world affairs. This criticism worried Harvard history professor, Naill Ferguson, when he wrote a 2004 Foreign Policy article titled, A World Without Power.
Critics of U.S. global dominance should pause and consider the alternative. If the United States retreats from its hegemonic role, who would supplant it? Not Europe, not China, not the Muslim world — and certainly not the United Nations. Unfortunately, the alternative to a single superpower is not a multilateral utopia, but the anarchic nightmare of a new Dark Age.
Now ten years later another pundit writes a very similar opinion. Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli living in New York where he is a professional journalist. He also writes the Sultan Knish blog where you will find his recent essay titled: The Shape of a Post-American World. He starts his essay with this:
The post-American world will be many things, but multilateral isn’t one of them. There will be no world government and international organizations will be good for little except sucking up the last drops of wealth and prestige of the United States. It will be a chaotic place with everyone out for themselves.
And, he ends with this:
The civilized world faces economic, demographic and military crises that it has a limited time frame in which to meet and resolve. If it fails to do that, the civilization in which we have grown up and which we have known all our lives will die and a long interregnum of darkness will follow in its wake.
I do hope you will take the time to read the Greenfield article because, between the two paragraphs quoted above, he offers much food for thought. He talks about the coming of a new world order of China, Russia and the US. He talks at length about the demographic problems facing each of these nations and the general decline of Europe’s influence in world affairs. Greenfield also talks of a fourth power in the world that is not a nation but an ideology and the fastest growing demographic in the world _ that being Islam. He makes the point that, although it would seem reasonable for China, Russia, and the US to see Islam as their common enemy, the leaders of these countries do not see it that way. He use Russia and the US as examples:
… Putin fights some Islamists while incorporating others into his allied clergy and helping still others go nuclear. The United States bombs the Taliban, but would never consider bombing their paymasters in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
But, the Islam issue aside, Greenfield doesn’t think that China, Russia, and the US will be able to hold their positions of power in the long run. This paragraph comes close to summing up his view point:
Russia, China and the United States are all demographically unstable. Russia and the United States are both on track to become majority-minority countries. China’s demographic disaster will be the outcome of its one child policies, gender abortion and its war on the countryside. The United States will probably weather its demographic problems better than Russia or China, because the former faces a fatal Muslim demographic takeover and the latter a conflict that will tear its society apart, but like Russia and China, the demographic crisis in the United States will be exacerbated by the lack of common bonds to see it through a period of social stress.
Clearly Mr. Greenfield’s view is as dark today as that which worried Professor Ferguson in 2004. What do you think of Mr. Greenfield’s view of a post-American world? That America is losing its hegemonic role in the world seems obvious. It’s just as obvious that China and Russia will expand their spheres of influence both individually and jointly (Middle East). The big question to me is not the demographic issues raised by Mr. Greenfield but rather: will the leaders of China and Russia be wise enough to expand their spheres of influence without bringing down the fragile international financial system?
And I was so sure that my tour of duty in this life would end before the SHTF. Silly me!
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?