Skip to comments.After the Fall: What Do You Do When You Conclude America Is (Temporarily or Permanently) Kaput?
Posted on 01/07/2013 3:35:29 PM PST by SeekAndFind
If we reach the following highly unpleasant conclusion, what are the implications?
The United States has taken a political turn which, at least for the next four years, will guarantee that it does not play the role of a great power mindful of and willing to protect its own true interests, to support its allies, and to combat its real foes. On the contrary, through inaction or active effort the leadership of America will take counterproductive actions that achieve the opposite result. And there are certain factors radical ideological hegemony, a weak economy and growing debt, structural social changes, the weakness and disorganization of the opposition that may make this situation regarding Americas international behavior and policies a long-term, partly irreversible condition. In other words, we dont know if America is finished as the worlds leading power, but we do know that it will not have leadership and certainly not leadership in a good direction for a while and perhaps will never fully recover.
So what do those outside the United States do to face this situation? (Please note that I am speaking here only of U.S. foreign policy and just remarking on the domestic situation.)
There are those readers who would contest the accuracy of this statement. They will say that Barack Obama is a great president, or at least a decent one, and there is no big problem regarding U.S. foreign policy at all. In fact, he and his team, which now includes Secretary of State-designate John Kerry, will be just fine, or at least okay. They will make the point valid, but irrelevant that the United States doesnt control everything in the world.
Of course, but what about the things it can affect? Unfortunately, American allies and clients cannot afford the luxury of clueless optimism or wishful thinking. Some will grumble publicly and scramble to limit the damage. Others will smile, praise the president, and scramble to limit the damage.
To put it another way: it doesnt matter whether you agree with me. Im telling you whats actually happening.
Other readers will want to debate endlessly on the cause of the problem. Why is this happening? Is it deliberate or due to incompetence and bad ideology? Various conspiracy theories will be raised, and time wasted on them. To put this another way: for the purposes of this particular article at least I dont care who or what you blame or what you intend to do about it, Im talking about whats happening right now.
It is fortunate that in these post-Cold War times there is no candidate to replace America as world leader. Instead, we have candidates to be regional leaders: China in Asia; the European Union already playing that role in Western Europe; Russia trying to do this in Central/Eastern Europe; and Egypt, Iran, and Turkey competing for hegemony in the Middle East.
But heres the real issue: things look bad. What does this mean specifically, and how can potential victims react? Lets begin with a very brief survey of the world scene.
Latin America: there are now several radical regimes in the area most notably Venezuela alongside, of course, Cuba. Americas allies in the region are dismayed that the former group (except for Cuba) gets soft, even favorable, treatment by Washington. Fortunately, radical revolutions or major armed insurgencies dont seem probable. So leaders in the region will worry a lot, be frustrated (why should we be nice to the United States when it doesnt help us, and even rewards being anti-American?) but get through it. Ironically, of course, the current administration favors policies that are sure to fail in South America, so to the degree Washington has influence it will be to help sabotage the regions economic progress.
Sub-Saharan Africa: what is truly remarkable is how the Obama administration has done nothing to change U.S. policy in the area. One might have expected that given its worldview and certain ethno-racial factors and ideas in the U.S. leadership, Obama would have wanted to make this region a showcase of how he differed from his predecessors; a model of reparations for past colonialism and racism. But no such luck for the Africans. They will continue to suffer economic and political hardship without significantly increased U.S. help. Bad, but not a change from the usual neglect. Let them eat rhetoric!
South Asia: the pro-Pakistan policy will continue; India will be mistreated. Again, bad but no big change. It will just be more watching Pakistan help conceal al-Qaeda terrorists, working for a radical Islamist Afghanistan once the U.S. forces withdraw, and sponsoring terrorism against India as Washington pays more billions in aid money. The Afghanistan issue might cause a crisis: why did hundreds of Americans die there? Someone albeit not likely someone in the mass media might ask this if and when Kabul is taken over by a new anti-American regime.
Also slated to be killed: Afghans who helped the Western forces. They will start seeking new protectors very soon.
East Asia: the smaller countries which want U.S. help and protection from what they perceive as an ever-stronger China wont get it; this will make them very nervous indeed. Since I believe China doesnt have aggressive geopolitical intentions, that situation wont deteriorate too much in military terms. Yet in economic terms the U.S. government is ceding a great deal to China. Much or most of Asia may become a Chinese economic zone, and that will be costly to Americans since potential markets for American goods will in some cases go to China instead, further reducing opportunities for the U.S. economy. Leaders of other countries will scramble to get in the good graces with the new regional superpower, as they perceive the United States no longer matters very much. And we all better hope that North Korea doesnt get too confident hopefully Beijing will restrain the wacko dictatorship and attack the South.
Western Europe: honk if you love Obama. Since European leadership is still obsessed with the EU project and seeks to varnish over rather than deal with their deep economic and social structural problems, they will have no big problems with Obama. He doesnt attack them, just feeds their addictions.
We are familiar with the European stereotype of Americans as ignorant, irresponsible cowboys (applied to George W. Bush), but there is far less talk about the European stereotype of Americans as naive, blundering, would-be do-gooders who make a giant mess (Barack Obama). Yet there are elements of American decline that many Europeans and European leaders like. The day may come when they think otherwise. As I once remarked to a European ambassador, who agreed: they spent eight years trying to hold Bush back and now are spending four years trying to pull Obama forward.
Central/Eastern Europe: here is a potential big problem. Russian leader Vladimir Putin thinks he can do whatever he wants. He will continue to turn as much as possible of the ex-Soviet, now-independent states into a Russian zone of influence. If he ever decided he wanted to take over Belarus or Ukraine or to attack Georgia again, he knows this can be done without any problem from America. Similarly, the regional states know they cannot depend on American support. Have no doubt that people in countries like Poland and the Czech Republic think about this every day.
So we see in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe that American allies have no reliable protector anymore. They are left potentially helpless to possibly voracious local powers that are more radical than themselves. And of course they are all hurt by the ongoing poor state of the American economy. Lesson: dont make the bad guys angry if possible; move away, if possible, from relying on the United States.
Some, however, will benefit from policies that ensure the export of American jobs. But the Chinese who seem on the surface to be the main beneficiaries are horrified to find themselves holding so much American debt as a U.S. government inflates the dollar and goes ever deeper into debt. It is a very bad investment indeed.
The thing to watch for is if theres a crisis: how well would the United States respond to wars, coups, invasions, revolutions, economic collapses? What kind of leadership would be shown in cases paralleling, say, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait? What would Washington do if massive repression breaks out in Egypt with the massacre of Christians? Or how would Obama respond if Putin were to grab some neighbors territory in part or in full? You can come up with a great many scenarios that could happen, and in each case the local leaders and a lot of people both think and worry about such scenarios becoming real. At a minimum, knowing they cannot depend on the U.S. makes moderates and democrats more reluctant to fight, more willing to concede or surrender, and certain to despair.
In short, this current (voluntary, not inevitable) decline of the United States places a lot of people at risk. The question is whether there will be crises in which bad and weak American performance makes things worse.
And this brings us to the Middle East, where we know such crises will take place. I dont want to repeat what Ive written many times, but to put the whole thing into three sentences:
Israel, relatively moderate Arab regimes (including, yes, Saudi Arabia), and real moderate opposition movements know they cannot depend on the United States for the next four years and perhaps for much longer. To make things worse, the U.S. government is aiding their enemies. Consequently, they must act on their own to protect themselves.
For the Saudis, this can mean supporting establishment (Bahrains government, Lebanese Sunni Muslims) or even Salafist forces (as in the Syrian opposition) that they feel can be turned into clients. We all have good reasons for not liking the current Saudi regime but imagine the country being run and the oil money being in the hands of someone like Usama bin Ladin or the Muslim Brotherhood, dedicated to overthrowing all the other regimes in the region and forcing out U.S. influence.
For Israel, lacking a chance to build real alliances with Arab states or oppositions, it requires unilateral action.
Everyone else including Christian minorities and women who want equality is pretty much up the creek without a paddle. The democratic oppositions (and that includes Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon as well as Turkey and Iran) will have their hearts broken as they see their own countries lost to a long reign of even worse tyranny and their hopes for better days dashed. Countries as diverse as Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan will have to maneuver and use force to keep Islamists from taking over. In other words, you may be very courageous, but you will give some serious thought to running away as far as possible, to Europe, North America, or Australia.
It is very scary and even tragic for a lot of people.
Here, however, is the main point I wish to communicate: Americans can debate whether this shorter-term vacuum of responsibility and longer-term decline is happening, but much of the world already takes this outcome for granted.
maybe we will end up with 300+ different kingdoms/fiefdoms/etc.
I think us “Red Staters” who aren’t in the major cities will be fine.
The Leftist elites on the coasts and in the urban areas will eat each other though.
Beer don't brew itself, I've got that chore, too.
Bread has to be made every few days, if I want to eat. That's with or without a functional government.
If it all goes south, I'll see it as a tax holiday until the next protection racket/shakedown mob... er... government comes along.
Send more money and an attaboy while making sure that the MSM reporting is understated or absent? Oh wait, I think he already is.
If Texeas secedes, I’m moving there.
It is the Judgement of God, from a Nation that served God to a Godless nation, our cup will be filled with the poisonous swill we turned to and we will be made to drink deeply. The United States, once a free country where a man could serve God, is now a Totaliarian slave State where worship of anything but God is promoted. This country is the Titanic, and the media is playing music in the dining room.
Come out of Babylon my children...
“I think us Red Staters who arent in the major cities will be fine.”
Me too. Red states will be the place to be. Have to pull any money one might have before the collapse and convert to gold.
I think your analysis and conclusion are well done. Personally, I believe America has been killed. The leadership vacuum will ultimately result in likely global conflict. The US will be especially vulnerable and suffer greatly. In other words, do not plan on growing old gracefully.
Compared to “The Great Vacation” of the 30’s?
Back in the mid '50s-'60s I was a tramp printer, with a new job every few months. (Was trying to get a drivers license from every state in the Union. (Seemed like a good idea at the time)) Gave it up when Hawaii and Alaska came in.
I made it a point to talk with the Old Timers re: the Depression. The general theme was that while they didn't have any money, those on farms made out OK as far as food and shelter went. For the city folks, it was a different story.
I highly recommend stocking up on beans and bullets. If you think you have enough buy somemore.
As my grandmother pointed out, you can’t miss what you never had. All they had was a radio for the whole family anyway. People fixed things when they broke and didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about buying things they couldn’t afford.
My great grandmother used to say “There’ll be wind pudding if the crops don’t come in.” Meaning that she would feed me but only after I did the chores.
Yep. Mom and dad were small but remembered it and told us stories about it
. Moms parents had a farm. They didn't have everything they wanted, but had everything they needed.
Dad lived in a city. Every day they stood in line for government beets and butter flavored lard. Every day they ate beets and lard. That's all the government had to offer them. That's all they had to eat.
I would suspect you wouldn’t be allowed, and many there now will be pushed out
Never have needed the government, don't need them now either! Any city slickers venturing out to look for food had better not come sneaking onto my private property! If someone is truly hungry and is in need of food and shelter, I can and will provide in return for some hard work! No honest American will be turned away, but, the help will come with hard work!
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ENTERING THE PROPERTY AFTER O DARK THIRTY!
That’s a great post right there.
I’m not nearly as far along as you, but I am slowly but surely moving in a similar direction. Got gardens and chickens, guns and ammo, a big dog, a stream and a well, oil lamps and oil, a nice big cast-iron wood stove with cooktop, plenty of parks and woods loaded with deer, turkey, and critters, some supplies...
It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love.
Except for the laptops and ZZ Top music.
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