Monday, March 4, 2024

The apparent decline of the United States as a military power

In our column last week, we commented that the perception that the military dominance of the United States in the world will be too simple is far from reality because it is too complicated. Let’s remember that we are not looking at areas such as politics, finance, culture, or technology, but at the military. We will discuss other aspects only if we think they have an influence on the latter. Let’s now look at the reasons for our claim.

First of all, the United States continues to play militarily on its own turf, where no one is yet in a position to challenge it. This is a completely different order of magnitude than, for example, Russia and, in many respects, also China. Taking only the example of sea power, even one of these two giants is close to the quality and destructive power of the US Navy. Second, economic indicators also speak for the United States. Before the war in Ukraine, Russia had an economic production that could be placed between Spain and Italy, and everything shows that it will come out badly damaged from the invasion, whatever the final result. China, for its part, is sitting on a demographic bomb due to its rapidly aging population. Third, the United States continues to have the greatest power to change the world. Significant scientific, technical, and technological progress is being made there, for example, in the field of artificial intelligence. As if this were not enough, the greatest quantity and quality of technological research in the military field is concentrated there.

However, it is possible to say that the United States may have passed the peak of its power, so it is reasonable to ask the following question: Are we still living in the time of the Americans? I think so, but with an emphasis on “yet.” After all, the United States may have passed the peak of its power, but the end of its dominance is likely not for military, economic, cultural, or technological reasons but for political reasons. The United States will lose the opportunity to continue exercising leadership in a unipolar military scenario if it leads to internal political chaos in the event that Donald Trump or a politician with similar characteristics is elected with limits and conviction as the country’s president again. As far as European countries are concerned, they do not and are not in a position to play a significant role on their own, but as part of the European Union (EU), Great Britain is in a vulnerable situation.

After doing the bad “Brexit.” However, the EU will increasingly lose influence if it does not acquire greater military capacity to act with strength, unity, and determination at key points. Qualified majorities are required in relation to common foreign policy decisions that currently require unanimity. Qualified majorities help ensure that these decisions are no longer delayed or impossible. Closer military integration with EU countries is also important, so steps to achieve this must be accelerated. We must not forget that military force also gives diplomatic weight. First, diplomacy is supported by military power, and if it does not work, then the military factor must act as a last thought. Therefore, the EU must become a bloc capable of facing a conflict of war with the United States, which, however, must not lead to a “militarization of thought” either by governments or by European citizens. What the EU needs to take care of is its deterrence capacity: if any state decides to force a war against an EU member state in particular, against Europe in general, or against NATO, then Europe should be able to make war and, at best, win.

If this conviction is not accepted by all, then the only course left is surrender. This is why Ukraine will continue and not give up. If European countries have defense forces, that is what they should serve: self-defense and defense of allies. I think the main threat comes from Russia, a large revisionist state with neo-imperialist aspirations in the immediate neighborhood of the EU. In recent years, Putin has repeatedly attacked several neighboring countries, including Ukraine for the second time. Therefore, as we have repeatedly stated in this column, it is futile to believe that nothing worse will happen after that. That means a repeat of the same mistake that Europe, especially Germany, made by dealing well with Russia and doing business with it for years, believing that it would keep Putin at peace. We’ve talked about it here many times, and my four honest and kind readers won’t let me lie: it’s not a good idea to do business with tyrants. The bad thing is that Mrs. China’s constant friction with its neighbors and its expansion in the South China Sea It is very likely that an invasion of Taiwan is only a matter of time.

The political, technological, and military collaboration of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Syria puts the Americans in a great challenge because these are countries governed by autocrats and where political change is not seen. On the other hand, in Western democracies, the outlook is not very flattering: voters may be tired of supporting Ukraine and Israel in situations that, for many, do not represent a threat to their own security, so they can choose parties or leaders. which proposed the suspension of military, economic, and political support for the allies. This view of voters, even if it is wrong, endangers not only Ukraine—and, possibly, Taiwan—but also Western democracies themselves, something that many voters in Europe and the United States fail to understand. imagine. In any case, as far as America’s military power is concerned, it is far from reaching its main rivals, China and Russia, because its defense spending is still beyond the reach of these two countries. In addition, the quality of American weapons generally remains much higher than their counterparts in China and Russia, as is more evident in Ukraine. It is true that, for example, the Chinese navy has had more units than the American navy in some years.

However, it does not yet have—or will have in the near future—the number of military bases around the world or the capacity to mobilize large fleets grouped around powerful aircraft carriers, a standard characteristic of US naval power. In this area of ​​air-naval power, Russia is further away, as it only has one aircraft carrier which is very old and almost useless. the quantity and quality of military aviation in the United States. Here too, it seems that, at the moment, it is very difficult for Russia and China to surpass the “USAF” in the near future. It is true that in some areas they may be superior, as in the case of Russia, with the development of hypersonic missiles or combat helicopters, but the United States is clear on the way to quickly reduce this disadvantage. So far, the Ukrainians have shown that these hypersonic missiles are indestructible, as we warned in this same space when Putin announced them a few years ago with great pomp and pride, but it was also not read by Putin in this column.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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