2023 Date Line
You will not read this anywhere else
There is a saying that goes “World is too much with us.” I forget who pointed this out 50 years ago but it is truer today than ever. Today we are years into the advent of the 24-hour continuous news cycle. At any given moment of the day you can put the television on or go to your computer or smart phone and if you like be swamped with the news of the day. You could engage continually if you like with the news and do nothing else. This has led to brain fatigue and probably fog on the part of the user. It has certainly left far less time for reflection and intelligent discussion and killed off open-mindedness among our people.
Does anybody look at the big picture anymore as opposed to just taking in the headlines and regurgitating back to one another? So here’s to the coming big picture which will change the world as we know it over the next ten years, and maybe less. But first, a little history is in order.
Russia devastated post-WWII with 30 million dead
The modern world as we know it began in April of 1945 after Germany’s defeat. Japan’s defeat was inevitable after Germany’s collapse. Whether it would be the atomic bomb or a 3 million man invasion of mainland Japan with Russians swamping in from the North, Japan was finished. All of Europe and all of Russia lay in ruins, absolute destruction. There was nothing left. The factories destroyed. Russia lost 30 million in that war. We lost 300,000 soldiers dead and another 500,000 wounded. Our homeland was untouched thanks to two oceans that have protected us for two centuries and protect us now. No it can’t protect us from nuclear war but from everything else, it has and will.
At the end of the conflagration the United States stood preeminent as the only super power on the planet. What do we do with that power? Could we have dominated the world the way the British Empire did for 2 centuries or more. Yes, maybe, sort of. Physical empires only get you so far. You can see what it cost to occupy and run Afghanistan and Iraq for 20 years, imagine the world.
What we decided to do is change the face of the world and the coming onslaught of Soviet communism by changing the economic system of the world. We basically informed the planet that we would create a navy so strong that it would dominate the world’’ sea lanes. Thus without threat of attach across the open oceans of the world, countries would be free to trade without the necessity of building their own navies to protect themselves. Any country would be free to join our alliance and trade strategy if it would join us in the pact to prevent the spread of Soviet communism.
The second step was the Bretton Woods Agreement in the 1940’s which created a world economic system that we would dominate using the American dollar as the world’s currency. Put it together and it all worked. Big countries like England, France, and Germany would once again become economic powerhouses. Little backward countries were free to try their hand at trade and some of them like Singapore, Taiwan, and wiped out Japan became economic giants once again in their own right. Again all of this under an American security blanket that encompassed the world.
It has held together for 70 years. Let’s illustrate. The United States currently spends about $800 billion plus on its defense budget each year. The Persian Gulf is the vital waterway leading out of all the oil enriched lands of the Middle Eastwhere tens of millions of barrels of oil flow through each and every day. About $70 billion of our defense budget is the annual cost of our war ships maintaining those open sea lanes in the Gulf seas. We as a country derive no oil from the Persian Gulf because at the moment we are energy self-sufficient due to the shale revolution in this country over the last 15 years.
China on the other hand gets 75% of its oil energy directly through those sea lanes in the Middle East. With that free flow of oil which we protect, China would shut down within months leading to economic collapse and famine in that country. They are completely dependent. So it would be a correct statement to say that the US spends $70 billion a year and China spends zero to protect all that oil going to China. The American taxpayer is directly subsidizing the Chinese economy through our defense expenditures.
But hold on, it gets better
In that $800 billion plus defense expenditures is our military spending in the defense of NATO. Put together in the late 1940’s, NATO presented a united front against the advance of the Soviet Union militarily into Western Europe. I believe had NATO not existed, the Soviet Union would have moved militarily against western European countries to expand Russia’s territorial expansion, but that’s another story.
Today we Americans spend over $300 billion a year on our NATO related expenditures. So let me see if I got this right. We spend 3.1% of our GDP on defense. What do the assorted NATO countries spend, take a look:
Country Defense Expenditures
as GDP Percentage
United States 3.1%
Poland 2.4% and rising
Only Poland is carrying its weight and they are publicly going to 5% over the next several years. Poland believes that if the Ukraine falls under Russia’s influence than Russia must attack Poland next and Poland will NOT succumb this time as it did during World War II when Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland from the West and East while the world watched.
The more important point here is that the European countries comprising NATO are NOT carrying their weight. We are carrying it for them and we know it and they know it. Furthermore, it is they who feel threatened by Russia. Someday the Russians may attack them. Russia will never attack the United States with a conventional army, we have two big oceans that prevent that.
And so the bottom line is that we spend way more on Europe’s defense than Europe is willing to spend on its own defense. We spend tens of billions in defense of the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf while every other country derives the benefit of that oil without having to pay the cost of the defense of those sea lanes.
A New World is coming – It is happening right now
This has never been announced. This will not be announced. The United States has made an inevitable conscious decision formulated under Presidents Obama, Trump and followed through by Biden to begin the withdrawal of guarding the world’s sea lanes. Within the next several years, the countries are going to be on their own. They must provide for their own security and guard the international trade that they need to maintain their economies.
The end result of this decision is going to be very clear. The American economy will grow even bigger and stronger. Other countries will stagnate and many will struggle. As for China, it’s basically over for China. They have already peaked. They are past their peak and do not even know it. It will be virtually impossible for them to adjust because of the nature of their ruling government. The President of China has basically rid himself of all political opposition and anyone with real brains has been relegated to the sidelines. He makes all decisions alone without insight from brilliant aides. China will be lost as to what to do.
Both Russia and China are going through a period of demographic collapse. There are not enough young people in either country to keep the country’s economy going. There will be too few young people to support the needs of the aged. This is always a disaster for the economy of a country. This is not true of the United States plus we have tremendous infusions of young people through immigration and dramatic pools of young people in our hemisphere available to us.
The future is going to be bright and rosy once we go through this world period of dislocation and adjustment. We will continue to dominate the world’s military and economic structures for decades to come. Our wealth will continue to grow and that’s probably a good thing, a very good thing.