I’m a huge fan of geopolitical writer Peter Zeihan. His most recent book, from the end of last year, is The Absent Superpower, The Shale Revolution and a World Without America. He’s a very unusually smart guy, and also writes well.
Completed just after the 2016 election, it’s a handy guide to the chaos that awaits the world, now that we’re withdrawing from it. I think Zeihan is far too pessimistic, but the nightmare he imagines is at least plausible.
What should have happened in 1989 is at last taking place. From now on, it’s America First. The rest of the world, with a few exceptions, will have to figure out how to get along without us. We’ve got the western hemisphere. That’s all we need, or want.
Our navy will still, with its partners, rule the waves. Our carriers, special forces, drones, and long distance bombers will make us the most lethal military in the world. But we’re a threat to no other great power, and all the world will want to be our friend. Ugly Americans no more, virtually every other country on the planet will want our presence, private or governmental.
Zeihan foresees three wars in the coming Great Disorder. The first is a Russian invasion of the Baltic States and Poland, which he calls the Twilight War. Here, I think, Zeihan is flat out wrong. That ain’t going to happen.
As Zeihan admits himself, a Russian victory in such a war would be Punic. The ethnic Russian population, the only one Putin cares about, is in a demographic death spiral, and conquering eastern Europe won’t solve this, most basic, existential question. It would just get a lot of young Russians killed. Putin has other fish to fry.
The second war of the Disorder is a Gulf War between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and this one may, indeed, be in the cards. We’re allied with Saudi Arabia, now more than ever under Trump, so this would be suicidal for the Iranians. Are they that crazy? For their sake, let’s hope not.
The third war is the Tanker War, between China and its neighbors. The Gulf War will cause an enormous disruption in the oil markets, and shortages will result in military conflict between China and its neighbors. This is, I think, highly unlikely. The United States does not want to see this war happen, and will use its oil, and its navy, to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s in our national interest.
Active American diplomacy could avert all of these potential wars. As no one’s enemy, and the one country everyone in their right mind wants to be friends with, we have a lot of flexibility. We could become the peace makers of the world.
A new world order, based on American neutrality, power and oil. Serving the best interests of the people of the United States. That’s the 21st century I want.