It’s A Wonderful Pax Americana
John Michael Greer is a student of history, and from reading his short stories and articles I’ve coined a new saying, “Any doomer that doesn’t learn from history will be condemned to live through Greer’s blend of climate change, energy depletion and comparative history.”
Greer is sort of the angel Clarence of the energy depletion cum climate change community, but instead of showing us how bad it would be if we hadn’t been born, he seems intent on showing us how bad it is likely to get if we don’t take steps now to prepare. (I nominate Lloyd Blankfein as Mr Potter, and Hank Paulson as the uncle that loses track of all the deposits.)
In Greer’s five-part online novella about the dissolution of the United States, How It Could Happen, the Chinese are supporting an African nation that the US is trying to spank. Inscrutably the Chinese manage to hack US missile guidance and take away air superiority. Addled by weapons and systems intended to fight the last war, the US military is forced to swallow defeat.
Of course while the prospect of a huge, technically-advanced Chinese army is daunting, unless and until they somehow find or build a blue water navy, it just doesn’t compute in geopolitical terms. But the threat of a more adaptive enemy allows Greer to quickly dramatize Toynbee‘s precept that civilizations die from suicide, not murder. He sees our bloated defense budget as a sort of auto-asphyxiation.
As in, The ‘Red Dawn’ Case for Cutting U.S. Defense Spending, most MSM commenters, and most people who live here, consider the US invulnerable:
The new version of Red Dawn, like the original, centers around a foreign invasion of the U.S. [by] North Korea, a pariah state with a military budget generously estimated at $9 billion, compared with about $650 billion for the U.S. … This inadvertently lends the movie’s plot a smidgen of plausibility, since any North Korean invasion of the U.S. probably could be defeated by a misfit band of teenage dropouts.
Red Dawn was originally going to star the Chinese as the bad guys, which would have made a little more sense but also doomed sales prospects in a growing export market for Hollywood. Yet even China currently has but one aircraft carrier, which doesn’t have any aircraft stationed on it. It’s a third-hand boat, a hand-me-down from the Soviet Union to the Ukraine, which China picked up at a yard sale in 1998. Meanwhile, the U.S. has 20 carriers—all of which come with actual planes.
… it’s far easier to imagine enemy forces arriving from outer space than it is from Russia, Japan, China, or (especially) North Korea. And that says something quite comforting about the state of American security.
But all empires appear invulnerable at their peak.
Back to Greer, he is convincing in his series of articles about the origins and rise of the American Empire. His recent article about Israel’s risky existence as a client state of the US makes a great deal of sense, but his very last article suggesting that Mexico may reclaim the US SouthWest is more challenging. I think it is more likely that America will drift more Mexican.
The real tripping point with all who predict great changes is that there are so many variables that one can’t actually play Hari Seldon and establish any sort of timeline for when a certain sort of scenario actually plays out. Greer knows this, is leery of prophecy and gives us more time than say, Dmitry Orlov (who is already buying a bigger boat). But absorbing his general ideas into one’s living arrangements is probably a wise idea no matter when the deluge happens.