Sunday, April 27, 2008


For fun, let me toss off a scenario of the future from our point of view off the top of my head with absolutely no research whatsoever to support it.

It is a recurring theme in our country to predict our imminent fall from dominance. Fascism, Soviet Communism, democratic Socialism, Japanese planned economy, European socialism (again), and now China are projected as supplanting America as the dominant power. Yet we keep adapting. The United States remains the dominant economic and military power on the planet.

I think this will remain even though our portion of the global pie will decline as China and India continue to grow. And as we near mid-century, we will remain the dominant power and--lacking nearby foes that compel us to devote major resources to homeland defense--will have the most free power to help allies and oppose enemies.

Since this is the Pacific Century, let me start in the Pacific.

East Asia/Pacific Ocean

American military power is focused mainly in the Pacific. 70% of our fleet is located here, from Subic Bay to San Diego, and our best aircraft are deployed here or (mostly) earmarked for the region. While Chinese ships patrol in the mid-Pacific and Indian Ocean, China remains hemmed in to their east by an American-led loose alliance of bilateral defense ties that includes Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Australia, which has developed a superb power projection military for such a relatively small country, and New Zealand are our deep rear area. We will have reinvigorated a network of island bases in the mid-Pacific to provide strategic depth against rising Chinese military power.

Indonesia and the countries from Bangladesh to Cambodia are courted by the American Pacific alliance, India, and China. The South China sea is a hotbed of competition.

Russia increasingly has seen its power in the Far East crumble as Chinese settlers and merchants make Russian sovereignty outside of military and space installations nominal only. Faced with strength to their southwest and southeast, China has focused its attention north where natural resources in abundance lie with only the weak Russian state standing in the way of Chinese dominance.

China itself has grown tremendously in power but the central government has weakened in the face of mostly coastal provincial leaders who have been able to push the central government away with varying degrees of success in many areas of policy responsibility. China is far more formidable than it was thirty years earlier, yet many of its more prosperous provinces have more political power than any nominal European country in the EU.

The Western Hemisphere

Going east from Asia to the Americas, Brazil is our most important ally in Latin America. Brazil has become an oil exporting powerhouse that, along with Canadian oil tar exports, has reduced the reliance of the Western Hemisphere on Middle East Oil tremendously.

With pride in their Afghanistan mission prompting the flirtation of being the UN's first choice for peacekeeping missions, Canada rebuilds its armed forces to complement American forces, and again punches above its weight. An aerospace defense system encompasses America, Canada, and Mexico to guard against ballistic missile attack.

Free trade agreements extend NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) over much of the hemisphere to become the North and Americas Free Trade Area (NAAFTA).

Rumors of Castro's imminent death resurface.


Further east, Africa is weak and no longer the uniformly desperate basket case it was thirty years earlier, but with the European Union, America, China, and India competing for influence and raw materials. The EU focus remains in North Africa. America focuses on the Gulf region in the west. India and China on the east coast and southern Africa.


Going north to Europe, NATO has atrophied with few American forces remaining. While NATO exists on paper, having expanded east to encompass Ukraine, like a star at the end of its life cycle, this dramatic expansion signaled the coming death of NATO. The EU alternative became the only game in town as the EU starved NATO of support in order to become the monopoly holder of military might in Europe. The East Europeans formerly friendly to America have been smothered within the EU and only remnant American training and air defense forces remain in eastern NATO countries. NATO is the new Holy Roman Empire.

The EU has grown in political power internally while its military power has declined overall, but with a greater capacity to project power. The EU's citizens have lost much of its freedoms to enforce the new super state's powers. Funny enough, all the "rights" they were given to health, housing, and self esteem seem to have required the state to suppress the traditional rights of speech and thought.

The Moslem problem is being addressed and it is unlikely that any type of demographic takeover will occur.

The EU will be European enough to stop being our ally, but will not have the economic and military power or will to become our enemy. At least one attempt by an EU state in Eastern Europe to withdraw will be met with force in a Brussels version of the Brezhnev Doctrine using an EU version of "Tiananmen Square lite" to end that idea.

The EU watches a sullen Russia to the east that remains mired in despotism yet retains nuclear weapons and sells needed energy to the EU. The demographic decline that had slowed during the oil boom of the early 21st century resumed as the centrally controlled economy failed to adapt and invest.

Britain became European, alas. Iceland throws its lot in with NAAFTA early and escapes the EU noose before it chokes its members into submission. Greenland remains technically within the EU but gravitates to North American integration.

The Middle East

The Middle East sees Turkey out of Europe. With NATO a sham and the EU unwilling to admit Turkey, Turkey has pulled out of NATO and EU talks. Turkey teeters between Islamism and pro-Americanism as Turkey faces an EU-backed Greece in the Aegean and Russian efforts to retain influence in the Caucasus with other efforts in the Balkans and Greece by appealing to Orthodox solidarity.

An arc of pro-American stability exists south of this tinderbox, from Lebanon and Israel through Jordan and Syria all the way to Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iran, and extending into Afghanistan. The dominoes of Islamist fascism that slowly fell after the Iraq War could only go so far and the will to reform the Islamic world faltered and slowed to a crawl outside of this region where American power was dominant.

American bases in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain have helped develop and protect pro-American elected governments in the region. American naval power outside of the Pacific is the largest here with 20% of our naval power located either in the Arabian Sea to compete in the Persian Gulf or Mediterranean Sea to protect oil export terminals whose pipelines extend east to the oil fields of Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran to bypass the Gulf tanker route.

The EU is the chief sponsor of the Gaza and West Bank Palestinian states that remain mired in poverty and hatred kept alive by EU foreign aid.

China and India compete with America and the EU for influence in the Arabian peninsula for oil resources and the tanker export routes for oil heading mostly east. EU military power--rebuilt to project a small amount of power--has returned east of Suez to retain influence in this oil exporting region and the Horn of Africa.

Indian Ocean

Further east, heading back to our starting point, India has become America's main ally in the region, watching China's western flank and containing the Islamist threat from Pakistan's tribal areas that remain the hotbed of Islamist fanaticism.

Pakistan is a strong Chinese ally but lacks the economic strength to be a real competitor--yet retains nuclear weapons so is a threat to stability.

The need for the US to focus on China in the Pacific suits India just fine, which has filled the void of American naval power in the Indian Ocean. India never liked our fleet there and is just as happy to take over the role of dominating the seas here.

India has taken over the Great Game role by pushing its influence into Afghanistan and the Stan's of Central Asia to compete with China, Iran, Turkey, and Russia.

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

So there you go. America will no longer be the single dominant player on the globe--a nice but fleeting relic of defeating Nazis and Soviets, leaving us the last man standing for a good while--but we will be the strongest player globally with regional allied powers to supplement our strength and who need our strength to bolster them.

We'll be doing just fine mid-century, thank you. Completely off the cuff, so take it for what it is worth.