by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for the Saker Blog
Washington Post published a book review titled “Think we have military primacy over China? Think again” on the book “The Kill Chain” authored Mr. Chris Brose on 13 May 2020, which has exposed the American Defense capabilities. The Author is a well-versed defense analyst and close to Pentagon. He has a deep insight of American defense capabilities.
After World War II, the US under the Marshal Program developed infrastructure in war-torn Western Europe. After the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, global organizations like the World Bank and IMF came into existence providing the US with a leadership role. The UN headquarters was also established in New York. The US as a major contributor, funding the UN had also a considerable amount of influence on its working and dealings. NATO was formed to counter an emerging Communist Threat initially, but later on, its scope widened too. In the Cold war era, the US was on the steering seat and controlling various states by creating a false sense of fear amongst them. But after the disintegration of the former USSR, the US and its allies diverted their focus on the Middle-East. Iraq war, Libya war, Afghan War, Yemen War, Kuwait War, etc have witnessed a unipolar world as in most of the cases the US did not bother to involve the UN, it acted blatantly in the violation of all international norms of the civilized world. Most of the actions were self-centered, self-initiated, and short-sighted.
The US spent too much on its war crazy defense budget, as a result, The US emerged the largest defense Industry and biggest supplier of defense equipment, weapons, and ammunition, etc. The US established an overseas military basis and deployed its aircraft carriers in various parts of the world. The US enjoyed the unique superpower of the world and involved in many military operations and wars unnecessarily.
With huge military expenditure, its economy suffered and its economy started to decline. Even the common taxpayer in the US is asking the Government for accountability of his/her tax money. Whatsoever, the official statistics show, but a common man does not feel safe and secure, as a result of aggressive policies, anti-American sentiments have grown world-wide gradually. The Americans do not feel safe and secure, at home and abroad equally. The common citizen is worried and still suffering. COVID-19 has exposed America completely. The US is the worst-hit country by the outbreak with the highest number of infections and the highest death toll. It proved the last nail in the coffin.
Unexpectedly, the US faced a lot of resistance in Syria. Despite its huge military might, it could not win the war in Syria. The Afghan war may be America’s most costly war ever, as, after the 19 years of full-scale war in Afghanistan, it could not produce any results and most of Afghanistan is still under the Taliban control. Modern weapons, hi-tech, and intensive training could not help US forces to win this prolonged war. Finally, the US is hiding behind a peace deal to escape from Afghanistan without losing face. Iran-sanctions are another big question mark on the political face of the US. The assassination of General Suleimani was bounced backed on America. North Korea rejected Americºan coercion.
The US policies of aggression and high-defense spending have cost the US economy adversely. The US funding for the UN and its subordinate organizations like WHO was reduced to a big extent, furthermore, the US is curtailing its defense expenditures on its ally’s security and facing isolation. France, Germany, UK, and Japan, do not feel comfortable with the current policies of the US. In case of war, US allies may not support or participate.
A recent report by the National Defense Strategy Commission clearly explains the current status of the US. “America’s ability to defend its allies, its partners and its vital interests is increasingly in doubt,” obviously allies may not support the US in case of any war. The report says “Russia and China are challenging the United States, its allies and its partners on a far greater scale than has any adversary since the Cold War’s end,” further says “If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan,” the report warned, “Americans could face a decisive military defeat.”
The report identified a set of six trends, it said had fundamentally altered the strategic environment now facing the United States:
- The return of major-power competition from authoritarian powers like Russia and China;
- The rise and expanded military capabilities of aggressive regional challengers like Iran and North Korea;
- Evolving and intensifying threats from jihadist groups;
- Rising “gray-zone” aggression, which includes strong-arm diplomacy and economic coercion, media manipulation and cyber-attacks, paramilitary and proxy forces;
- The proliferation of advanced technology – hypersonic and Artificial Intelligence, for instance – that is eroding U.S. advantages and creating new vulnerabilities;
- And political dysfunction – budgetary instability and reduced defense investment.
But I believe it is much more than this. Its policies and overconfidence is also a major factor not accounted for. On the other hand, it is the law of nature that no one superpower remains a superpower forever in history and we believe the same will happen in the future too. There was a time for the Roman Empire, the Turks ruled half of the world, and the British Empire enjoyed a vast empire. But over time, all of them completed their tenure and due to one or another reason, have to lose the status of “Super Power”. I believe, the natural timeline of US superiority is over and whatever now is left of the US is only decline.
The report also indicates that the US has plans to go to war with China or Russia and they have identified the battlefields too. In the case of China, war on Taiwan issue and in the case of Russia, the Baltic region. But, once the war starts, it is beyond some one’s control and may spread to all other parts of the world, which one may not have thought of. I must appreciate, the report is based on facts, no manipulations, or fake.
COVID-19 may have a huge impact on geopolitics and post-pandemic, the landscape may be changed completely. Pandemic might harm many nations and individuals, but at the same time, may provide relief to others. Many countries may realign themselves with emerging and rising powers and leaving their old masters. The completely different world order is visible and inevitable.
However, I hope, the UN, the International Community, and all individuals with consciousness may take all necessary steps to avoid any disaster to humanity. Human lives are the most precious thing on this earth, we must respect and protect human lives. As every country possess lethal and weapons of mass destruction, in case of any misadventure, it may cause very heavy loss to humanity. We all have the responsibility to hand over a better world to our next generations, where our children and grandchildren may live in peace, harmony, and prosper life comfortably. I believe in dialogue, “diplomacy” is the weapon of the civilized world. If all nations follow the UN charter in its true spirit, we may save this world.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.