Is a "Balance of Power" World a realistic Assumption?
Monthly Market Commentary: May 1, 2021
According to geopolitical historian and strategist Halford J. Mackinder, "The great wars of history — we have had a world-war about every hundred years for the last four centuries - are the outcome, direct or indirect, of the unequal growth of nations, and that unequal growth is not wholly due to the greater genius and energy of some nations as compared with others; in large measure it is the result of the uneven distribution of fertility and strategical opportunity upon the face of our Globe."
In 1904, Mackinder submitted essay to the Royal Geographical Society in which he advanced his Heartland Theory.
He identified the Heartland as the centre of the World-Island, which stretched from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic, and was at the time largely ruled by the Russian Empire (later the Soviet Union). Mackinder summarised his theory as follows: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island controls the world.”
Later, the Dutch-American geostrategist Nicholas J. Spykman developed Mackinder’s theory further. According to Spykman, it is the “Rimland” — which surrounds the Heartland — that is the key to controlling the landmass. According to Spykman, “any continental power in Eurasia had to be curtailed or at least fragmented, which is largely the strategy of the US to this day.”
As Paul Craig Roberts, former US assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, argued, "Neither Russia nor China will accept the vassalage status accepted by the UK, Germany, France and the rest of Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.
[The Wolfowitz Doctrine makes it clear that the price of world peace is the world’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony. Along the same lines, Madeleine Albright: "If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."]
If we combine these theories with Chris Hedges' view that in the US, "Imperial ineptitude is matched by domestic ineptitude," and that, "The collapse of good government at home, with legislative, executive and judicial systems all seized by corporate power, ensures that the incompetent and the corrupt, those dedicated not to the national interest but to swelling the profits of the oligarchic elite, lead the country into a cul-de-sac," and with the tendency of American to see themselves "as the center of political enlightenment and as teachers to a great part of the rest of the world," which strikes most of the world "as unthought-through, vainglorious and undesirable" (George Kennon), we can see that the probability of future conflicts is high.
In his book, Can America and China escape Thucydides's Trap? Destined for War (2017), Graham Allison does not sound particularly optimistic. He writes, "…on the current trajectory, war between the US and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized." I am less pessimistic and believe that war can be avoided. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t consider the investment implication of a major conflict.
Furthermore, don’t forget the worlds of George S. Boutwell, Secretary of the Treasury under President Ulysses S. Grant:
"Every ambitious would-be empire clarions it abroad that she is conquering the world to bring it peace, security and freedom, and is sacrificing her sons only for the most noble and humanitarian purposes. That is a lie, and it is an ancient lie, yet generations still rise and believe it!"
I am enclosing an essay by my old friend Bob Hoye entitled, Democrats Are Velociraptors - A Primer on the History of Political Violence and Reform.
With kind regards