The 2016 presidential election will determine how the United States responds to the most decisive challenges for more than a century to its wealth, strength, and security. But none of the presidential aspirants have yet to outline a coherent strategic policy. With one exception, Hillary Clinton, all the candidates oppose the actions and policies of the incumbent president but all have accepted the overt and covert agendas of that same discredited president. These include supporting the wrong side in Syria, the demonization of Russia and insufficient attention to China’s irredentism.
The Democratic nominating process is about the top-down imposition of its preferred candidate, and thus the super delegates who are expected to deliver the pre-determined outcome of Hillary Clinton. If Mrs. Clinton falls beside the wayside, due to her criminality or a health issue, then a similar establishment figure will be injected into the process. In its nomination procedure, the Republican Party has produced a couple of candidates who have promised that it won’t be business-as-usual but who have yet to articulate a long term vision, beyond generalities.
Why so much foreboding? Food is at the lowest price in human history, energy is now also cheap, poverty around the world is at the lowest level ever, and technological and medical advances continue apace. Those things are well and good but two wars are going to crash the civilizational party. The first is the war of Islam on the rest of the planet. That war is well underway. An early report on it is the “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” 28 pages of which remain classified. No doubt the content of those 28 pages is too embarrassing and unsophisticated readers might get angry should they be exposed to them.
At least one official declaration of war came years later. On 15th January, 2016, the authoritative and influential cleric Sheikh Abu Taqi al-Din al-Dari delivered the Friday Sermon in al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In short, the sheikh said that the Muslim world must adopt the traditional teachings in the Koran on the perpetual war between the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. In the way the Muslim world is structured, this is a declaration of war on the West. There have been many similar declarations before and this one won’t be the last, but it is the most influential to date.
The West is aware that there is a problem but has refused to face up to the fact it is engaged in an existential clash of civilisations. To do so would require an adjustment of its belief system – that all cultures are equally good and that there is nothing inherently wrong with any group of people or culture. Right at the moment the pain of the permanent state of emergency in France, for example, is preferable to the effort involved in seeing the world as it really is. Not that France and neighbouring Germany are blameless. Through the EU they made their own attempts at imposing their beliefs on the rest of the World, via Kulturkampf with EU edicts such as penalties on carbon dioxide emissions far beyond their borders. The EU’s attempt at world domination on the cheap requires a stable world to have a chance of working. The world is no longer stable and we will be spared the edicts of Brussels.
The solution to the problem of Islam is simple. Simply don’t have anything to do with them. This solution had its first run after the 9/11 attacks when the Bush administration restricted the number of visas issued to Saudi nationals. One of the current presidential aspirants has called for barring all Muslims from entering the United States. Once it is put into effect, this policy would significantly reduce the number of terrorist attacks on the United States at no cost in to itself. In fact this policy is necessary to shield the United States from the ultimate collapse of the Muslim world.
There is a bigger, more immediate problem that we should be devoting our attention to. That is China’s attempt to dominate the world, one step at a time, with the first step being control of the South China Sea. Ideally for the Chinese, the second step will be a short, successful war with Japan and then they will be in full bloodlust, coveting their neighbours’ territory from the equator to the poles (both of them) and much else in between.
The correlation of forces, economic and military, lined up against China suggest that it will lose its chosen war. China needs a short war. The longer it goes on, the more likely they will lose. So let’s make it a longer war. China has short arms – it can really only control the area adjacent to the Chinese mainland. Ships that venture too far out will be sunk or seized. There will be a view that the battle should be taken to the Chinese mainland. That impulse should be resisted. Rain cruise missiles on them, but don’t waste lives by sending manned aircraft into their air space. Foreign trade is the oxygen of the Chinese economy at 25 percent of GDP. Combined with construction at 15 percent, the Chinese economy will shrink by 40 percent straight up and then by perhaps 60 percent as the flow-on effects kick in. And when the war is over, China must be dispossessed of its bases in the South China Sea and all the assets owned by its companies and nationals overseas seized.
Russia hasn’t been mentioned yet because Russia really doesn’t matter. To put that into perspective, Ukrainian GDP per capita is about $2,000 annually. Ukraine is the Bolivia of Europe. They are the poorest of the poor because of a corrupt elite which steals as much as it can. Up until the recent oil price collapse, Russian GDP per capita was $7,000 per annum. The difference is all due to Russia’s oil and gas production. It has been estimated that corruption makes Russian manufacturing costs 40 percent higher than they should be. Until Russia eliminates corruption, they are like Ukraine but with some oil income. When the oil runs out, eventually, on their current trajectory they will revert to being an agrarian peasant society. The Russian economy, on a population of 146 million, is not much larger than Australia’s with a population of 24 million. Russia’s involvement in Syria is a positive development in that it will keep them fully occupied and provide experience in fighting Islamists on the borders of Christendom. Russia diverged away from the West due to double-dealing by Obama and his administration’s officials. The next president will have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to encourage a Westward drift again.
In 1838, Lincoln said that a foreign army “could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.” That was true in the 19th century but by the end of the 20th century even small countries could afford nuclear weapons and the missiles to put them on. And for some reason they all wanted to aim their nuclear-tipped missiles at the United States. And not just the small countries. Chinese state television has carried diagrams of the fallout pattern from a nuclear attack on the United States, gloating at what the damage would be. It is for this reason that the United States cannot disengage from the World because an attack from some resentful, miscreant of a country could come out of the blue over the horizon, like the 9/11 attack.
Those are all the immediate problems of the world sorted. Once those problems, Muslims and China, are put to bed, then the longer term problems can be attended to. What this generation needs to do to secure the eternal prosperity of the yet-more-perfectible union is, firstly, realise how the world really works. It is now apparent that there are only a handful of countries that are anything like the United States in respecting the rule of law, and thus have a high standard of living. These are generally the countries of the OECD, though the OECD secretariat has turned into a self-loathing left-wing organisation which promotes global warming alarmism. The countries of the OECD are the United States’ only natural friends and allies. Every other country is resentful and jealous, or too lethargic to be resentful and jealous. Any non-OECD country could make the cultural changes necessary to get to the standard of living of the OECD but they aren’t going to. We know that because they have had decades to do so haven’t, so they never will. No amount of foreign aid will help because it is a mental problem.
The two terms of Barack Obama are the end of the era of the long peace that megaton-yield nuclear weapons bestowed on us since the Korean War ended. That long peace allowed the self-indulgent folly that is the Obama administration. From here on the death rate due to war, starvation and disease is going to skyrocket and we have to let that fever run its course. Causes like global warming will be quickly forgotten once people’s main concern is to keep their children safe. Civilisation is going to go through a rough patch but that rough patch will lead to clearer thinking.
In that same speech of Lincoln’s in 1838, he also said, “If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” Some conservative commentators think that the nation’s fate hangs in the balance this year, that the elections of 2016 will determine whether or not the United States continues its downward drift to third world status, as per Lincoln’s insight. Yes, the situation is dire but retrievable. Nevertheless, as per the words of Italian author Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, “For things to remain the same, everything must change.” One example of that is military procurement in which Congress recently voted to increase the production of the F-35 above what the Department of Defense asked for, at a time when the military budget can’t stretch to pay for weapons that work and that we need. Once again, only one presidential aspirant has suggested that the F-35 is not what it is cracked up to be, and it is the same one who says that we can build a wall and that we don’t need Muslims traveling to the United States. One simple change that will do a lot to stop the pillaging of the defense budget is to bar generals working for defense contractors upon retirement. That is one of the sort of change that needs to be made so that things can remain the same and that the nation of free men will live through all time.
David Archibald’s recent book is Twilight of Abundance (Regnery).