Things to Come 10 - Rising and Falling World Powers

The dynamic of world power is shifting against America.

Thus far in what is becoming the longest series Scragged has ever published, we have predominantly concerned ourselves with an examination of the economic and other horrors we foresee for the coming years of Mr. Obama's second term and beyond.

There's more to say on that subject, but for the sake of variety and to avoid the potential for despairing exhaustion, this article will take a look at what Mr. Obama's policies will bring about in nations other than United States.  Which in the main will be even worse - but at least we don't have to live there.  So there's a small silver lining to cling to!

The Final Solution to Israel

The conflict between Israel and - let's be frank here - Islam has been going on for so long and so repetitively that virtually everything that can be said about it has already been said.  So we really do try to avoid the topic.  Wisely, to our surprise, so did Barack Obama in his first term.

It turns out that may not have been because he, like Mitt Romney, understood that there was no peace plan to be had from murderous barbarians sworn to the elimination of the nation of Israel and all the Jews inside it.  President Obama is far too smart to come out and tell America, "I think Hamas is right and I wish Israel would just go away" - and we really doubt that he has any particular desire to see the Jews all dead as, in accordance with Allah's dictates in the Koran, devout Muslims do.

But considering that the nation-state of Israel is a teeny tiny slice of real estate surrounded by thousands of miles of territory occupied by tens of millions of medieval barbarians baying for their blood, is it really possible to be an "honest broker"?  With such an overwhelming difference in size, reach, population, and international support, wouldn't "being evenhanded" constitute siding with the Islamic side?

We all know politicians lie; you can only understand their true goals if you look at their atempts or their accomplishments.  In his first four years, President Obama has accomplished a major change in the geopolitics of the Middle East: aside from Jordan, every country that had even grudgingly tolerable relations with Israel has been replaced by a fire-breathing murderous Islamist government.

For decades, Turkey was a member of NATO, a major American ally, and so friendly with Israel that they did joint military exercises.  The other week, Turkey's Islamist president described Israel as "a terrorist state" - yet Turkey is still a member of NATO.

Egypt had a peace treaty with Israel which has mostly held since the 1970s, supported by dictator Hosni Mubarak and billions of American dollars.  When Mr. Mubarak needed our support, Mr. Obama shoved him off a cliff and into prison.

Who replaced him?  An anti-Semitic Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, whose own people are protesting because he's a dictator no better than Mubarak and, from our perspective, on the wrong side.

As Dr. Henry Jones Sr. might dryly observe, "Our situation has not improved."  Mr. Obama has not even that much wit, instead making the pseudoprofound observation that Egypt is neither a US ally or a US enemy, while signing yet another multi-billion-dollar check to them drawn on American taxpayer dollars as well as gifting them with 20 brand-new F-16s.  Has he truly not noticed that half of the 9-11 hijackers had the same (first) name as the guy he let replace Mr. Mubarak?

The ancient Romans believed "If you want peace, prepare for war."  It worked pretty well for them until they destroyed their economy by overspending on welfare programs and permitting excessive immigration of uncivilized people groups.  Israel has sworn by thatsame  motto since their inception as a modern nation, to excellent effect: being always prepared to wage war allowed them to defeat vastly superior Muslim forces several different times.

It's been been a while, though, and it looks like their enemies have forgotten what happened the last few times.  Quite frankly, we don't understand why Israel hasn't already bombed Iran's nuclear facilities as they bombed similar facilities in Iraq and Syria.  But the time is bound to come eventually, there will be a wider war, and somehow we'll wind up drawn into it if for no other reason than we've still got thousands of troops in the Middle East.

If recent history is any guide we'll end up spending trillions we don't have killing mostly the wrong people and accomplishing nothing whatsoever.  Let's hope the Israelis have better luck.

China and the Pacific Pivot

Unless you happen to be Taiwanese or Tibetan or hanker for a hut on an uninhabited island in the South China Sea, China doesn't appear to be anything like the existential threat that the Muslim world is to Israel.  China is not going to be invading the United States "Red Dawn"-style, and positively the last thing they want to do is get bogged down in Korea again.

There are other ways to have power over countries besides conquering and occupying them, though, and China's quasi-Communist rulers know well how that works whereas we have forgotten.  Let us quote from the Asia Times on the subject, and we recommend that you read the entire article:

It is symptomatic of the national condition of the United States that the worst humiliation ever suffered by it as a nation, and by a US president personally, passed almost without comment last week. I refer to the November 20 announcement at a summit meeting in Phnom Penh that 15 Asian nations, comprising half the world's population, would form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excluding the United States.

President Barack Obama attended the summit to sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China. He didn't. The American led-partnership became a party to which no-one came.

Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States. [emphasis added]

Not only did nobody want to join America's club, all the other countries joined China in a club and America wasn't invited.  The Pacific Ocean has been an American lake since World War II; it's pretty plain that those nations which actually live in that lake believe they've got a new landlord.

Who could blame them?  We can't pay our bills and we are slashing our military, while China launches new aircraft carriers and explores stealth technology everyone thought only the Americans understood.  Plus, unlike us, they're right next door and can just march right in.

There probably won't be an American war with China because China doesn't want one and nobody else has the stones to throw at them.  Unless we get our house in order, which American voters definitively chose not to do, it'll become increasingly clear that the Land of Opportunity eats with chopsticks.

The New Isolationism

America is not going to be invaded and conquered by an organized foreign military force; it's just too far away from anyone who's got one, and it wouldn't be worthwhile.  However, it has become increasingly clear to our erstwhile foreign friends that we no longer have the willingness, ability, or competence to help them out, so they'd better make new friends fast.  We don't need friends to defend ourselves from outside invasion, but it's hard to be a global power without them.

That'll be humiliating for most Americans who still envision us as the hyperpower.  But, oddly, it may not be for our President.  After all, he said:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

In other words: Mr. Obama believes that there's nothing special about us, nor should there be.  America needs to be just another country like everyone else.  Thanks to his misbegotten foreign policy, he's getting his wish.

It's no longer a good idea for Americans to go into dicey places - the Marines will not be coming, not even if you're an accredited American ambassador.  If Americans had reason to stay at home before, they'll have double reason to now.  With America no longer the overwhelming economic power, not having a protective advantage in overseas markets will be more of a handicap.  According to recent reports, we don't even have the advantage in drones anymore.

In the glory days of empire, England was the workshop to the world and its trading fleet was protected by the might of the British Navy.  America's navy has done one better, protecting everybody's trading fleet, but that's coming to an end - after all, in the recent presidential debates, Obama equated Navy ships with horses and bayonets, antiquated things we no longer need to pay for.  The Somali pirates astutely identified a weak link and have exploited it for some years now; they won't be the last.

In a strange way this might help America's employment situation.  If you can no longer count on your round-the-world ships arriving like clockwork, it might be a good business decision to make your stuff closer to home, although that would more likely be Mexico than Michigan.  Even so, there's a silver lining: the more Mexicans working in factories in Mexico, the fewer standing in your local Home Depot parking lot.

That's enough good news for now.  In the closing articles in this series, we'll come full-circle and talk about American culture and religion.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
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