Clear trend. Obama
Photo: AFP

The sinking US empire

Op-ed: Israel must prepare for continued global decline of its greatest ally, the United States

The result of the UN Security Council vote on condemning Jewish settlements in the occupied territories highlights the diplomatic weakness of our patron, the United States.


The veto right used by the US in order to curb the Palestinian demand is part of the loot taken by the winning powers following World War II. This ancient privilege does not reflect their power these days. The justification for it is increasingly declining, and therefore soon we shall see more states joining the five permanent members of the Security Council.


India, Japan and Brazil will surely be joining – Judaism is not the basis of their culture, a wealthy, influential Jewish minority doesn’t reside there, the Holocaust does not weigh on their conscience, and Islam does not threaten their huge populations.


The votes to take place at the UN will prove America’s declining diplomatic power. Some 140 states will condemn Israel’s conduct, and it is doubtful whether even 10 countries will endorse Israel. We are relying on a sinking superpower that is abandoning its pretenses to lead the world, educate it in line with its values, punish the rogue elements and pamper those that toe the line.


This fact should make all of us lose sleep, but I’m not calling for deeper despair, but rather, for intense thinking. What should a small state do when it understands that it will no longer enjoy the almost unqualified support of its most important ally, possibly the only trusted ally by its side?


My words will be rejected based on the argument that my prediction is too grave and possibly too rash. The great America will not be dwarfed tomorrow, some will say. One way or another, the historical trend is clear, it can be confirmed using plenty of data, and I shall do it with a piece of information that will be adopted by any fan of history: The extent of the economic effort an empire invests in defending itself, this expenditure compared to the rate of its economic growth, and its relative extent vis-à-vis the scope of its rivals’ security expenditures.


America deep in debt

The rate of defense expenditure teaches us about the challenges faced by a state. If competing powers are buying their own security at a much cheaper price, we must conclude that America doesn’t have the upper hand when it comes to the race into the future.


In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the world owed the US so much money that it was unable to both pay it and rehabilitate following the war’s destruction. America poured huge sums of money, and the European and Japanese economies were saved. The American economy had the power to contribute huge sums while also leaping forward.


At this time, America is deep in debt, and it is doubtful whether even the grandchildren of Americans living today would be able to pay it off. This is not the result of defense expenditures, which now still constitute few percentages of the economy’s scope, but rather, it’s all about the trend. Oh, the trend…


Well, America’s defense expenditures are rising at a much higher rate than its economic growth rate. It was doubled in the past decade and approached some $900 billion. What’s worse, while America’s relative economic strength in the world declines, its part in defense expenditures grows.


The expenditures of this superpower are almost half of what the entire world spends. China, whose economy surpassed Japan’s this month, placing her second in the world, spends some 6.6% of the total global expenditure on defense. France spends some 4.25% of the total global expenditure, and Russia some 3.5%.


These figures affect the Americans, and it is no coincidence that among the Republican candidates to head their party, Ron Paul is gaining prominence after espousing quick withdrawal from America’s global commitments. The call for minimizing the support for Israel is one of his campaign slogans. Commentators on Fox say that despite his prominence, his chances are slim. They said the same about Obama.



פרסום ראשון: 02.21.11, 18:19
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