by John Hawkins | January 20, 2018 12:23 am
If you were to list the “greatest” nations in world history, you’d come up with some like the United States and Great Britain that are still doing fairly well. However, quite a few once great nations like Greece, Egypt, and Iran are sad, pathetic shells of what they used to be. Then there are the once formidable (and sometimes evil) empires like the Soviet Union, the Roman Empire, and Ottoman Empire which swallowed vast swathes of territory and then fell to pieces.
How did nations that dominated their regions and, in some cases, projected power worldwide fall so far from grace? There are different explanations in every case. Sometimes a Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great conquered everything he set his eyes upon and lesser men couldn’t keep it together. However, in many other cases, structural weaknesses in powerful countries eventually brought them down. For a variety of reasons, the Spartans didn’t breed enough and were heavily reliant on slaves that outnumbered them 10-to-1. The Romans lost the will or, alternately, the ability to continue breaking up barbarian tribes that they brought into their empire.
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America has her own weaknesses that, unless we deal with them, one day will bring us down.
1) Debt: America is more than 20 trillion dollars in debt and this year is on pace to add more than 400 billion dollars to that number. Our debt, which we have no intention of ever fully paying, is now the equivalent of about 25% of the world’s GDP. That number is massive; the CBO estimates that by 2040, 58% of all our spending will be nothing but interest payments on the debt. How much are we going to be able to spend on our military then? If you think our infrastructure is bad now, what do you think it will look like then? What happens when we have large, unexpected expenses, like another 9/11? Our debt is just as big a threat to our future as the Brits and Axis once were.
2) The Lack Of Production Capacity: America was the decisive factor in WWII, not just because of our excellent military, but because our massive production capabilities enabled us to send enormous amounts of military equipment to our allies. Just as an example, we sent Russia roughly a third of its fuel and half its trucks while the Brits received about a quarter of their munitions and aircraft from our country. Could we do that again? Not even close. That leaves us vulnerable, not just if there’s another world war, but if our own military were to suffer some sort of disastrous setback. In other words, if there were a Pearl Harbor 2, we might ultimately end up on the wrong side of the war.
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