Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the world’s undisputed leader. Our military and economic power has been far enough in advance of any other country in the world, that we have been able to heavily influence the actions of other countries, if not outright force them into submission. While many have disagreed with the United States holding this position, including many within our own borders, it has contributed to world stability, if not always to world peace.
We live in an era of America-bashing, where dictators from small countries around the world stand up in the General Assembly of the United Nations, using their moment in the limelight to talk about how horrible the US is. Worse than that, academics in our own country are teaching our children to do the same. Hating the United States and all it has traditionally stood for is now considered the entry fee of academic enlightenment.
But if you look at our history, specifically our history of foreign policy, we have mostly treated other countries well. There is no other nation in the history of the world, which has our history of investing in other countries welfare. No other nation has invested as much in rebuilding countries they have conquered. I won’t say that we have been perfect, because we have made our fair share of blunders, especially in backing the wrong foreign politicians, but on the score card, we’ve done more good, than bad. That’s something for us to be proud of.
U. S. Foreign Policy
It has been a position of American diplomacy for many years that territorial borders are to be respected and that aggressive action by state actors to take territory that belongs to other countries is a no-no. When countries like Iraq invade their neighbors (specifically Kuwait), our military usually responds. Even when we don’t send military forces, such as with the current fracas in Ukraine, we often provide material and financial support to the country which has been invaded.
There are Republican lawmakers who have taken a stand against our support of the Ukrainians in their war, defending themselves from Russian aggression. These lawmakers seem to have forgotten about the Cold War and what happened during those decades. While there was no “hot war” between the United States and the Soviet Union, there was constant conflict in what were known as the “third world” countries.
What was happening is what’s known as a “proxy war.” The Soviet Union was backing whatever Marxists groups they could find, especially if they were Marxist revolutionaries. These revolutionaries could be counted on to cause a lot of trouble for their governments, at a very low cost to the Soviet Union. For the cost of a few cases of rifles, mortars and ammunition, they could cause unrest in the world. Not only that, but they could force the United States to send support to the government, which would generally include advisors, as well as arms and ammunition, including high-tech arms, such as aircraft. So, for a small investment, the Soviet Union could cost the United States a lot of money.
Our philosophy in supporting those countries was that it was better to fight a war overseas, than it was to fight a war on our own territory. Our government, both parties, were united in the understanding that if we didn’t support these countries, they would eventually fall, reducing the number of free countries in the world. Eventually, we would be left standing alone, with Communism having won the world.
This reality didn’t go away with the fall of the former Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation, is a former KGB officer, with visions of reestablishing the former Soviet Union. His attack on Ukraine, just like his earlier attack on the Crimean Peninsula (formerly a part of Ukraine) is part of that ambition, just like his attack on the country of Georgia. Unless the United States stands in support of the countries that Putin attacks, they will fall and he will get back his empire.
The Idea of Multipolar Power
During the Cold War, we had what was known as “bipolar power,” meaning that there were two major powers. This changed, with the fall of the former Soviet Union, leaving the United States as the world’s only superpower. This has been referred to as us having a “unipolar power,” a situation that has been favorable to the United States, but to which many people overseas had objections, even countries who were supposedly our friends.
There has been much talk about the need for “multipolar power” since the fall of the Soviet Union. This essentially means that the world’s power is split between several different countries, in a way that prevents any one country from having total control. It is was any other country in the world who was the only superpower, besides the United States of America, I’d have to agree. But of all the countries which currently exist, the USA has been the most altruistic, taking care of other countries, rather than just itself. As I said earlier, we haven’t been perfect in this role; but we’ve done better than any other nation in history.
Part of the reason for creating the European Union was to create multipolar power. It was hoped that the European Union would come close to matching the United States in economic power, if not in military power. Of course, with the NATO nations not meeting their financial obligations to their own defense (as former President Trump touted), they’re still dependent on the US for their defense.
The people talking most about multipolar power are China and Russia, ranked numbers two and three, behind the USA in military power. These two countries have recently signed a joint agreement, working towards developing multipolarity. They are bringing other emerging powers into the mix with them, in an effort to unseat the United States position as the undisputed world superpower.
Right now, the combined military might of Russia and China surpasses that of the United States, with China investing a lot into their military. They were the first to develop hypersonic cruise missiles and have launched the first aircraft carrier built wholly with Chinese technology.
China’s Goal of World Dominance
China has long declared their desire for world dominance. Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, has declared that China will reach world economic dominance by 2049. But China’s thirst for world dominance is not something that started with the current leaders in China, or even with the Communistic party in China. It has been a national goal of China for a long time… perhaps even centuries. Historically, China has referred to itself as the “Middle Kingdom” since the 11th century. They believe themselves to be the center of the world and as such, all other nations should be subservient to them.
In recent years, China has asserted their dominance over the South China Sea, rejecting international law and claiming for themselves islands which are disputed territory. They seem to have settled the disputes by building military installations on those islands and stationing troops there. None of their neighbors are strong enough to stand against them or dispute their claims.
At the same time, China has been pushing for world dominance in economic terms. We all know that just about everything is made in China. What most people don’t know is that to manufacture anything in China, the owner of the design must sign over the design rights to the Chinese government. So, all the complaints that we hear about China staling patents and designs isn’t actually true; companies gave them those.
Currently, China’s GDP is just over 70% of the US GDP, although it is much lower when looked at as the per capita GDP. That’s only 17% of US GDP per capita. But they make up for it with their huge workforce. What’s more concerning, is that they are taking over more and more of the world’s manufacturing.
Remember the shortage of PPE (personal protection equipment) during the beginning of COVID? Some say that was intentional on the part of the Chinese, as they knew the pandemic was coming. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but most of that PPE is manufactured in China; so even if it wasn’t intentional, the lockdowns and difficulty of shipping ensured that the world would be faced with those shortages.
Where is this Leading Us?
It is safe to say that neither China or Russia loves the US. While I’m not sure they would go so far as to call us enemies, as they have in the past, they definitely see us as competitors to be overcome. While they are doing that, the powers that be in our country are focused on their Green New Deal. According to them, man-made Climate Change, which can’t be proven, is an existential threat, the most important mission for our military to focus on and the biggest threat of our lifetimes.
Our political leadership is working to destroy our economy, at a time when our biggest competitor is working to build their own. The US credit rating has been downgraded twice now, making it harder to sell US bonds. If it hasn’t done so already, this will have a hidden, but negative effect on the economy.
Nikita Khrushchev, a former leader of the Soviet Union, is infamously quoted as having said, “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the US. We will destroy you from within…” Well, the country that he governed is no more; nonetheless his words are coming true. Our country is being destroyed from within and the country that rose out of the ashes of the Soviet Union is one of those waiting to step into the breach. Multipolarity will favor Russia, even as it hurts the United States.
It is one thing when our enemies conspire against us, but quite another when our own leaders do. Yet that is the world we are living in. Khrushchev’s statement against the United States is likely to come true and it is due to the “elites” in Washington DC. The only way we can stop them, is to vote them out of office… and I’m not even sure that’s possible.
“Hard time create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times weak men and weak men create hard times.” – G. Michael Hopf
It looks like the hard times are coming.