Years ago, the Jamestown Institute came out with a program entitled “Russia In Decline,” which argued that Russia has the potential to fragment into a series of nations based on internal structural problems that are well-established, unlikely to change without significant efforts, and threaten the existence of the society itself. From a foreign policy viewpoint, the issue for the USA is not to attempt to create problems, but to worsen the already existing factors in order to facilitate said decline.
America is an empire, and a powerful one, and has also experience decline, for in spite of the claims that Trump has “corrected” the errors of Obama, the same basic patterns of what one might call deindustrialization and massive unemployment have continued to worsen, albeit in a slower and more manageable way over a long period. This is going to worsen with the increase in the usage of A.I., as machines take the role of humans in more jobs, which will effectively create a class of permanently unemployed or underemployed people with its own set of social problems.
America’s two major weaknesses which can be easily exploited by a nation can be classified into natural and sociocultural. As a comparative exercise to the “Russia In Decline” project, it is important to consider areas in the USA that would be subject to chaos or collapse in the event of unexpected circumstances. To be explicitly clear, this is not intended to promote or encourage any kind of destructive actions, but rather for people of good will to learn how they can protect themselves. In a time in world history when social, economic, and political systems have never been developed to the extend and complexity which they are today, and with such great interdependence of each system on each other, even slight disruptions can cause serious problems. This was not so much the situation during the First and Second World Wars, but on what is increasingly appearing to be the eve of a Third World War and with Americans (and much of the world) more dependent on electricity, in poorer health than ever, and using tempestuous economic models for supporting what has become a termite-filled mansion whose supports have been largely consumed and is in potential danger of collapse.
It must be clearly understood that what I describe here is not the entertainment of a hope for a future collapse of the USA. Indeed, to hope for such would be terrible, as given so many people are dependent on the current infrastructure and established systems of transportation and electricity, it is not unreasonable to say that in the event of a serious, prolonged (1 month or more) disruption, tens of millions of people would die.
It is written as a warning to the wise, and to arouse to sobriety those who, like many, have become intoxicated on the contemporary narrative for the last century. If one knows the problems that one faces, one can better confront them and prepare oneself.
American population distribution
To understand how natural weaknesses and cultural issues threaten the USA, one must look at population distribution within the country.
America is a large nation. However, 2/3 of the nation lives within 100 miles of the US border on any side. A great number of these people are on the coastlines, in particular the East Coast going from Maine to Florida and to Texas around the Gulf of Mexico. These are, generally speaking, high-population density zones for the most part build up and where the majority of economic commerce passes through.
In the middle of the country, known as “flyover country,” the population is greatly reduced with the exception of major cities, who like an egg dropped on sidewalk, have a central hub from which progressively smaller suburban areas radiate outward in a scattered pattern until they reach an area that is more or less farms and countryside. Towns that are to a degree an exception to this pattern are “corporate towns,” where a single or two large corporate employers provide jobs that supply an entire town with work and from which the town relies on for its economic livelihood, and when the company withdraws, closes, or if too many people migrate to urban areas, the town begins to decline and eventually dies. “Corporations” can also be substituted with “university” or “trucking hub,” since universities and trucking hubs serve the same essential function except with a generally greater degree of stability.
Aside from the relative poverty of “flyover country”, there is a large amount of farms and ranches which the USA uses to provide her people and the entire world with cheap, overall nutritious food. This is critical to US foreign policy, since the USA uses her position as the dominant food producer in the world to buy the support of nations around the world. Saudi Arabia, for example, imports almost 100% of its wheat, and without a supply of wheat from the US, she would be liable to collapse and revolution. In spite of the “conflicts” with Saudi Arabia, she is not going to deny American the access to oil and gas the US so demands for economy because the US would turn off both the money supply and food supply, at which point there would be a revolution which both Iran and Turkey would be happy to see through, especially if it means the death of the Saud family and the return of the Ottoman Empire to her historical position as the guardians of the cities of Mecca and Medina as she was for centuries.
America has wisely build a vast network of roads, highways, and railroads which connect the country and keep her as a unified whole, and which Americans use frequently for traveling. These roads, whose maintenance varies depending on the state one is in, are the pipelines for economic transport between the states and are possibly the most important “internal asset” she possesses next to the electrical lines, which provide power throughout the USA to her citizens, who are dependent on electricity to perform basic functions of daily living. To keep such a large nation with such support lines developed, she has developed an extensive codex of laws that are so numerous one cannot possibly know or follow them all. She is also very strict about enforcing said laws, whether or not they make the most sense for a region or if they stress a region or not, leading to various economic and geographical inequalities as well as a decline of “local” law and economy. This also permeates into the culture, where while America was one known for large pockets of local culture, has been absorbed by the permeating “mass culture” promoted through the television, most likely as a means of unifying what would be otherwise a highly divided society naturally prone to regional divisions and separatism. In this way, and regardless of the true decline of local cultures, from an imperial perspective, the USA has been able to hold together her people comparatively well.
America is not a nation that is easily invaded. Nor is she a nation that cannot muster the resources, nationalism, and direction to fail to achieve many objectives. The idea of “invading” the USA, or even firing a rocket would be both most likely ineffective in its general objective and suicidal for the person or country who did it. Even Russia, as large and powerful as she it, would be invaded by the USA in full force and reduced to rubble by American soldiers acting in the name of nationalism to the tune of a Toby Keith song.
America’s greatest weaknesses are from within, and given the American propensity to assign “blame” to somebody and once said “blame” has been assigned, to then proceed on a “seek and destroy” mission against said person, the way is for a series of “accidents” to happen to which the causes are “unknown”. That way, nobody gets “blamed” and there can be no “punishment” given.
Natural disasters are the simplest, and one of the most effective examples of this.
Fire in Gatlinburg, TN
Consider the 2016 wildfires in Appalachia, that burned from Alabama all the way to West Virginia. There were several people who were arrested with starting some of the fires, but the majority of the fire was either “unknown” or left to “natural causes.” It caused a tremendous amount of damage, cost a lot of money, and brought chaos all around the eastern US. It effectively shut down the highways and some cities for several days.
Likewise, look out west to the wildfires in California. Those speak for themselves, especially when the city of Los Angeles almost caught on fire were it not for some quick work by the US Department of the Interior.
There are also major fault lines in the USA, with not the San Andreas, but the New Madrid fault Zone that is effectively the Mississippi River being a fault line. If there were an earthquake in either, but especially the New Madrid, and depending on the severity and since it centerpoint is in southern Illinois, there is the possibility it could split the country in half.
There is also another issue, which is the supervolcano in Wyoming that is located at Yellowstone National Park. That is one of the largest in the world, and if it were to explode, as it is overdue to explode, it would cause damage untold to the USA.
To think that the volcano just showed massive fissures with magma a few days ago.
The point is that the USA has a series of natural weaknesses that, if “edged” properly by outside, small means, when ignited would bring about a natural catastrophe or series of catastrophes that would shut down, demoralized, and handicap the USA for a long time.
To these natural disaster issues are also the social and cultural problems, which simply are the result of overdependence on modern conveniences.
Owing to the laws of the society, what is natural to Americans and assumed- certain standards of service in a restaurant, the availability of certain products, and the shipping channels that make the movement of goods safe, easy, fast, and comparably cheap- have precipitated the overriding presumptuous behavior found among many people. When people want their (insert item here), they want it NOW and they better have it or else they will go somewhere else.
But what happens if there is no “somewhere else” because of a supply chain disruption caused by no reason other than a “natural” event, like a blizzard or a snowstorm?
In 2011, I was working in a restaurant when a major snowstorm hit. The restaurant was one of a few businesses that did not lose power, but was unable to re-stock quickly due to supply chain interruptions, and would take at least several days before we were able to receive goods “normally” again.
Within hours, the restaurant ran out of all food and most drinks except for coffee, which we kept serving plain for hundreds of people. Many people were without power, and so they crowded into the restaurant, setting up their computers, printers, and offices on the floor. Space was a premium, and near fistfights broke out over access to the wall sockets, which were overloaded. It looked like a refugee camp from a third world country, yet it was in a first-world area of a modern metropolitan sprawl.
This was just one of many stories for what was a larger than average storm.
What would have happened if it was more serious?
There would have been riots. People would have died. Property would have been looted and burned.
These two phenomenae- disasters of an uncontrollable nature and social chaos stemming from disruptions caused by said disasters- are the greatest internal weakness the USA faces. Assist the former in taking place and the latter will follow if timed correctly.
As far as the culture is concerned, Americans are generally indifferent to their actions or to the world’s problems because their bellies are full and they have their electronic screens on for entertainment. Interrupt- not take away- either of these two, and it is the beginning of chaos.
The people’s actions will disrupt any foreign activities because if control cannot be maintained at home, how can a foreign excursion be entertained. The common soldier will be more concerned about his wife/family/girlfriend/children that he cannot be with to help before fighting some enemy, and it will interrupt his ability to think clearly, make sound decisions, and stay alive. This will affect everybody up to the most powerful people.
Americans, while resilient, have yet to experience the true hardships of many people in the rest of the world. Again, this is not a matter of who is “better”, but a matter of fact. The USA has not experienced ever, for example, the kinds of mass starvation and wholesale destruction or social disorder that people in Eastern Europe have, whether it is in Siberia or Poland or the Balkans. It is something that nobody should have to go through ever, but the fact that these people have “weathered” such horrors even as of recent living memory provides a history against which they can measure themselves, draw inspiration from, as well as knowledge for how to survive and thrive in hard times. Americans do not have this, and so if they were to go through such hard times they would do so as a first time experience, which would mean a LOT of people would suffer and die.
I don’t want or wish this for anybody, including myself. However, this is a reality that all in the USA must face. We are very dependent on a carefully constructed set of blocks, and if a block should be removed it would not collapse the tower, but make a big mess that would be time consuming, labor intensive, and frustrating to repair.
Padre Pio once said that the saying of the Mass is more important than even if the sun should extinguish itself, as nothing can be sustained without Christ and His sacrifice. This is a very profound statement, difficult to comprehend, and yet so poignant, for it is the little things on which man depends for his sustenance.
While man cannot be independent of God, he can be in his material sense proportionately less dependent on systems of support, however convenient, useful, and good, that surround him.
Consider your own dependencies, your own personal life, and ask if you could withstand a prolonged period of suffering, maybe up to a year.
Most people could not without a LOT of uncomfortable changes. I speak for myself as well.
The point here is that these weaknesses I have pointed out here are visible for anybody to see and is essentially public information. If the USA chooses to enter into a major global conflict, then one must not expect those who are on the opposing side to sit quietly. This is not “terrorists” or “fourth generation warfare,” but actual governments with organized militaries and plans. They study the USA as the USA studies them, and it is not an exaggeration to think that they are not aware of what I noted above.
Ultimately, there is little the average man can do to stop such a conflict. However, by knowing and anticipating for such a scenario, he will be better able to survive should a disruption happen.
It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, understanding how global conflicts may play out at home and how to respond may be the difference between life and death.