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After the Fall: What Do You Do When You Conclude America Is (Temporarily or Permanently) Kaput?
Pajamas Media ^ | 01/07/2013 | Barry Rubin

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 America’s international behavior and policies a long-term, partly irreversible condition. In other words, we don’t know if America is finished as the world’s 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t matter whether you agree with me. I’m telling you what’s 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 don’t care who or what you blame or what you intend to do about it, I’m talking about what’s 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 here’s the real issue: things look bad. What does this mean specifically, and how can potential victims react? Let’s 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. America’s 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 don’t seem probable. So leaders in the region will worry a lot, be frustrated (why should we be nice to the United States when it doesn’t 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 region’s 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 won’t get it; this will make them very nervous indeed. Since I believe China doesn’t have aggressive geopolitical intentions, that situation won’t 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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: don’t 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 there’s 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 neighbor’s 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 don’t want to repeat what I’ve 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 (Bahrain’s 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.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: america; economy

1 posted on 01/07/2013 3:35:33 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind; Kartographer

maybe we will end up with 300+ different kingdoms/fiefdoms/etc.

2 posted on 01/07/2013 3:38:07 PM PST by GeronL (
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To: SeekAndFind

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.

3 posted on 01/07/2013 3:42:04 PM PST by Shadow44
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To: Shadow44
I think us “Red Staters” who aren’t in the major cities will be fine.

That's pretty much what my grandmother said about the depression when my niece asked her about it last week. Granny said that aside from the dust bowl region it didn't affect rural people all that much.
4 posted on 01/07/2013 3:47:23 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: GeronL
I'll keep living life. I just ordered seeds for spring, I'd like to get the tobacco started a month earlier this year, and the ground isn't going to till itself for the rest of the garden. Still have to finish the mud brick bread oven. I've got cured pork that needs to get smoked in the next couple of weeks.

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.


5 posted on 01/07/2013 3:47:49 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SeekAndFind
"What would Washington do if massive repression breaks out in Egypt with the massacre of Christians?"

Send more money and an attaboy while making sure that the MSM reporting is understated or absent? Oh wait, I think he already is.

6 posted on 01/07/2013 3:51:42 PM PST by Truth29
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To: JRandomFreeper


7 posted on 01/07/2013 3:54:42 PM PST by GeronL (
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To: SeekAndFind

If Texeas secedes, I’m moving there.

8 posted on 01/07/2013 3:55:35 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: SeekAndFind

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...

9 posted on 01/07/2013 3:57:41 PM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Shadow44

“I think us “Red Staters” who aren’t 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.

10 posted on 01/07/2013 4:06:55 PM PST by y6162
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To: SeekAndFind

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.

11 posted on 01/07/2013 4:10:44 PM PST by Wpin ("I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny...")
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To: SeekAndFind

Compared to “The Great Vacation” of the 30’s?

12 posted on 01/07/2013 4:17:07 PM PST by Morris70
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To: cripplecreek
Granny said that aside from the dust bowl region it didn't affect rural people all that much.

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.

13 posted on 01/07/2013 4:21:34 PM PST by Oatka (This is America. Assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I highly recommend stocking up on beans and bullets. If you think you have enough buy somemore.

14 posted on 01/07/2013 4:28:21 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Oatka

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.

15 posted on 01/07/2013 4:31:20 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Oatka
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.

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.

16 posted on 01/07/2013 4:32:27 PM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: BenLurkin

I would suspect you wouldn’t be allowed, and many there now will be pushed out

17 posted on 01/07/2013 4:35:16 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: JRandomFreeper
Sounds like my fellow American life style I love! I too raise tobacco and I don't smoke, but, know many who do! We raise ducks for their eggs, and food. Cut our own firewood, and can produce our own electricity if needed!

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!


18 posted on 01/07/2013 4:36:08 PM PST by paratrooper82 (82nd ABN Div. 1/508th BN "Fiery From the Sky")
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To: JRandomFreeper

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.

19 posted on 01/07/2013 4:42:15 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard
I've been living like I live for years. It's not prepping so much as normal life that my great grandmother would have understood.

Except for the laptops and ZZ Top music.


20 posted on 01/07/2013 4:50:00 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Shadow44

>I think us “Red Staters” who aren’t in the major cities will be fine.<

I wish I could agree with you — we now live in a country where those waiting for a hand out outnumber those having to reach into their backpocket. Either category has the right to vote.

Who do you think will win in the end?

21 posted on 01/07/2013 4:51:28 PM PST by 353FMG ( I refuse to indicate whether I am serious or sarcastic. I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: 353FMG

The better armed, more cunning, and productive side.

They’ll riot in the cities, but do you really think the moochers can or would be willing to fight a conflict for freebies?

22 posted on 01/07/2013 4:59:42 PM PST by Shadow44
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To: Georgia Girl 2

Look what is happening right before your eyes and take heed. There’s a Great Storm coming you can feel it.

Listen to what the bible says: A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. NIV Proverbs 22:3

The fact is that many will not accept that a breakdown is occurring even as they watch it happening before their eyes. Why don’t they realize it? It’s caused by a condition called ‘Normalcy Bias’ a mental state people enter when facing a disaster.

It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

A good article on ‘Normalcy Bias’ is on our own ChocChipCookies Blog The Survival Mom:

The riots in Argentina will be nothing compared to what we will see. Don’t believe me? Just look at the ‘Black Friday’ violence or the brawls that break out the day of a new released basketball shoe! And this is in a land of plenty!

This was in a news story about hurricane Sandy ( In darkened neighborhoods, people walked around with miner’s lamps on their foreheads and bicycle lights clipped to shoulder bags and, in at least one case, to a dog’s collar. A Manhattan handyman opened a fire hydrant so people could collect water to flush toilets. “You can clearly tell at the office, or even walking down the street, who has power and who doesn’t,” said Jordan Spiro, who lives in the blackout zone. “New Yorkers may not be known as the friendliest bunch, but take away their ability to shower and communicate and you’ll see how disgruntled they can get.”

Sound familiar? Yes it’s petty much that favorite quote of mine that some have complained about:”Let me tell you something about humans, nephew: They’re a wonderful, friendly people - as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working.” “But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those friendly, intelligent, wonderful people...will become as nasty and as violent as the most blood-thirsty klingon.” Quark from: The Siege of AR-558 (#7.8)” (1998)

You either prepare and stand on your own beholden to no one or you become dependent on others to provide your basic needs and become their ‘serf’. Me I don’t want to be beholden to anyone for providing what is needed for me and mine. I certainly don’t want to have to kiss some ‘gubberment’ third class bureaucratic to try and coax some help from them, I don’t want some ‘jack booted’ thug herding me in line and telling me where to stand, sit, eat or sleep. And last but not least I don’t want to be shut up in with a bunch of ‘zombies’ and have to worry about not only trying to get basic necessities but having to fight to keep what I manage to get.

Its your choice you can prep or you can stand around on a bridge waiting for FEMA to bring you a bottle of water, a MRE, a warm blanket and a kiss for your boo-boo and maybe you can even get your picture as you stand there on the national news.

For those who are just starting or are old hands at prepping you may find my Preparedness Manual helpful. You can download it at: NOTE! THIS IS A FREE DOWNLOAD. I DO NOT MAKE ONE CENT OFF MY PREPAREDNESS MANUAL!

For those of you who haven’t started already it’s time to prepare almost past time maybe. You needed to be stocking up on food guns, ammo, basic household supplies like soap, papergoods, cleaning supplies, good sturdy clothes including extra socks, underwear and extra shoes and boots, a extra couple changes of oil and filters for your car, tools, things you buy everyday start buying two and put one up.

As the LDS say “When the emergency is upon us the time for preparedness has past.”

Again I like to recomend FReeper’s ChocoChipCookie Blog The Survival Mom (Please Blog Police let this one slide!) Where you can get lots of useful information like:

And More

Also there is Ferfal’s Blog a survivor of Argentina’s first collapse:

And there is Selco’s Blog a Bosnian War survivor at:

“There is no greater disaster than to underestimate danger. Underestimation can be fatal.”

23 posted on 01/07/2013 5:02:32 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: BenLurkin

if it gets that bad they won’t be the only place to move to. but it’s not a bad plan z.

24 posted on 01/07/2013 5:24:35 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The dirty little secret is that the world power brokers hate a US Democrat as President. Only the brainwashed serfs and their state MSM thinks otherwise. The reasons are skillfully illustrated by the author.

25 posted on 01/07/2013 6:47:14 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: American in Israel

Obama’s Communist Agenda for Amerika is being rapidly accepted by all who fear his brutal might.

26 posted on 01/07/2013 7:02:26 PM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Laws, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

Or are part of the feeding frenzy.

One thing about America, anybody can be a president, even the kid that got his jollies kicking down other kids sand castles.

I pity Obama, for God is given him a big cup to fill with wrath. Some men are made for destruction. Obama must have a dark heart indeed.

27 posted on 01/07/2013 7:10:23 PM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: American in Israel; Jim Robinson; kristinn; nathanbedford; onyx; RitaOK; hummingbird; LucyT; ...

” - - - Obama must have a dark heart indeed. - - - “


B. Hussein Obama IS the Anti-Christ for America.

The minds and emotions of Obama’s voting enablers have been frozen into oblivious support for whatever Obama wants to do.

Nicoleae Carpathia in the fiction book “Left Behind” is what Obama is in real life.

Those who see, and those who hear are ignored or otherwise marginalized by the Obama enablers.

As America struggles to awake from its “White Guilt” first Election (2008), the dawning reality of its first Bolshevik Communist Election (2012) has yet to reach the fear level of action that is the hallmark of American response to mortal danger, for example the Pearl Harbor response in 1941.

To put it in an historical context, the 2008 Election of B. Hussein Obama was analogous to the Japanese Fleet leaving Tokyo Bay for Pearl Harbor.

The Passage and Court approval of Obama’care’ was equivalent to the bombing of The Arizona on 12-7-41.

We are finished as a Republic as long as we continue to hire RINOs to be doormats for Communist Obama’s enablers.

The blame goes not to the Communists, as they are just doing what Communists do best.

The blame goes to the loyal supporters of our Republic who are in very short supply in the US Congress.

The end of our Republic will not end well if the current RINO domination of the US Congress continues - - - .

28 posted on 01/08/2013 7:24:41 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Laws, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

Ever heard of dugouts? Oklahoma Territory had plenty even before the depression. Man survives UNcomfortably, but he can surely survive. Arid country can make wood hard to come by food is as God provides, in spite of the government and before government.

29 posted on 01/08/2013 8:17:35 AM PST by RitaOK ( VIVA CHRISTO REY / Public education is the farm team for more Marxists coming.)
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To: Graewoulf


30 posted on 01/08/2013 8:34:50 AM PST by blam
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To: y6162
I don't think it'll matter where you live because the long arm of the govt and its overly paid and benefitted minions will march in lock step...

for physical violence, avoid the blue states and blue cities...

but overall, the govt will get to you if it wants too...

31 posted on 01/10/2013 11:20:16 PM PST by cherry
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To: Graewoulf
its not that bammey boy is powerful,its that his BACKERS are powerful....he can do no wrong...they'll protect his sorry arse....they own the media and now have key people in the military, in business, in banking, the FBI and CIA....

its the cabal that is powerful...

what I don't understand is..every maifia king has his enemies..who are bammeys?......why hasn't there been push back?

32 posted on 01/10/2013 11:32:55 PM PST by cherry
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To: Graewoulf
I disagree with you about Rinos...

rats held the HOUSE for 40 yrs....we didn't fall apart as a nation....we didn't become a laughing stock....

its the democrats that changed....

they USED to be for the little guy, strong supporters of the military, strong religous backgrounds...

now look at adoption and homosexuals openly in the military...cutting defense unless its in their little district...

lets blame the Rat party for becoming communist....don't worry....there will be plenty of blame for the rinos...

33 posted on 01/10/2013 11:42:32 PM PST by cherry
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