Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May God be with us

After the announcement of Mr. Trump to leave the nuclear deal with Iran, we may prepare for a new world (dis)order.

When we look at the int'l politics in the modernity of earlier civilizations, we see that they share overall characteristics. But there are no fixed rules for the details of the historical developments of such modernities. These details depend partly on coincidences and the balance of power between the leading countries. As long as there is a balancing of the power of the big countries, the most important conflicts are between these. But the level and frequency of the conflicts can not be predicted from a comparison with other civilizations. Each civilization has its own path determined by coincidences and by the characteristics of the civilization.

But there is one common trend in all modernities: The disrespect for written and unwritten rules rises as the period progresses. This often causes the conflicts no matter their frequency to become more and more brutal as a modernity approaches its end.

If one power has won hegemony before the end of a modernity, the important conflicts shift to be in internal politics in this leading country. This happened
for Rome with the victory  - 202 at Zama over Cartage.
And in old China in - 260 when Qin defeated Zhao in the extremely bloody Battle of Changping.

In other cases the decisive victory of one country coincides with the end of modernity.  This was the case in the Oriental civilization when the Seljuks defeated the Byzantine Empire at Manzikert in 1071. For us, the Western civilization (including most of the present world) the situation is somewhere between  the Roman after Zama and the Chinese before Changping.  America is dominant, but not as much as Rome was. Therefore the important conflicts of the last decades of our modernity until around 2070 - 2100 will be both internal in the United States and international. The declining US policies and the rise of China may partially reduce the weight of America.

With the rapid political decline in the present decades the rest of our own late modernity could be a much more tumultuous process than the time since 1945. Thus an outline of the modernity of the West could look roughly like this, at least in the more developed parts of its world:
1789 - 1815 Chaotic war-torn start.
1815 - 1914 Relative stability.
1914  - 1945 Increasingly violent wars.
1945 - 2015 Relative stability.
2015 -  ca. 2080 Conflicts and wars on the field and in cyberspace.
Ca. 2080 Final death of democracy (except on the very local level) and total hegemony of one or two powers.

Thus the  last decades of our modernity will be not as it for a long time looked, a peaceful increasing dominance of the World by the United States, but a time of conflict and violence.

So what must we be prepared to meet in the next decades. I and many others have already mentioned numerous trends. Here I will only repeat some of the most important.

- Middle East tensions and conflicts. This volatile region will destabilize further and may ignite into a major war. Iran is not as easily subdued as Iraq. Generally the anti-Western feelings will increase dramatically in the Middle East. As many have pointed out, a nuclear arms race may start in the region. Why not deliver  US nuclear bombs to Saudi Arabia?

- The World will see escalations, conflicts and wars.

- American disrespect for allies will reach new levels. Leaders like Macron and Merkel are treated like leaders of banana republics. In the best case flattered with apparent respect, but in reality completely ignored and despised. Their appeasement will not help.

- Disrespect for treaties.

- Trade will be used as a weapon. This will of course happen as a part of trade wars about imports and exports and technological knowledge.  Trade sanctions will also be increasingly used as political pressure. We see Trump threatening companies from countries dealing with Iran.

- Forcing even close allies to introduce sanctions on countries disliked by the United States once more shows the extreme arrogant treatment of even friends. These will increasingly be forced to follow US policies.

- Trade limitations will also be increasingly used over tax questions. The Americans may begin to punish countries demanding tax from US companies like Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

Generally not least Europe is extremely dependent on IT -services provided from the United States. This leaves them open to political pressure, which under present and future arrogant and oppressive US governments could turn such countries into mere puppets. An interdict on the services of big IT firms could cripple Europe and remove the rest of the independence of such countries. Europe should use own and Chinese companies to achieve a better balance between providers.

Thus the ill-considered, but arrogant US policies like those of the present US president can increase the control over dependent countries. However at the same time the erratic nature of the policies counteracts their effectiveness in the world as a whole. And what is worse, because of the declined policies all over the world, the next decades risk being filled with conflict and suffering. The United States as a dominant world power and its present president are to a large extent responsible for limiting this development.

 Politics and decisions are based on moods and sentiments instead of on the indispensable detailed knowledge and  overview of the matter under consideration. A simple truth about the matter is decided on the basis of moods. And the response to this simplified picture of a situation is then decided from moods. A world as ours filled with such complexity and destructive potentials cannot be handled this way.

Fortunately the new conditions do not automatically entail rule by ignorants. Wise leaders are also possible in the new political reality as we saw exemplified in Julius Caesar.

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