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Will the BRICS Invade the United States?

Thu 28 Dec 2023 ▪ 13 min of reading ▪ by Satosh
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The United States finds itself at a strategic crossroads today. Facing the rise of China and the BRICS, the military potential of the United States is nevertheless declining. As military conflicts multiply across the globe, are we witnessing the end of the American military superpower and the death of liberal democracy?

US military power under threat

The United States Spread Democracy

Why did democracy move from a marginal form of government in 1944 to a system governing half the world by 2010?

Is it because democracy was more economically advantageous? Is it because people demanded more democracy as they became wealthier? Maybe.

But it might also be a fortunate outcome of American power. American war production crushed the fascist empires during World War II (including by saving the USSR), defended the “free world” during the Cold War and held “rogue states” in check thereafter.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was right: America was truly the arsenal of democracy.

The United States and Its Industrial Supremacy After 1945

The United States are by far the largest military producer, building twice as many large ships than all other combatants combined, and at least twice as many aircraft as any other combatant.

The powerful American automotive, aeronautical, and naval industries took a while to ramp up their war production, but when they did, nothing on the planet could match them.

This industrial dominance continued during the Cold War, bolstered by the arrival of Germany and Japan – two other major manufacturing nations – among the United States’ allies.

The Soviets could threaten the West with their nuclear arsenal, but when it came to war production, the free world could outpace the communist world.

China Can Produce Far More Weapons Than the United States

For the first time since the pre-war period, the situation has changed.

The rise of China as a manufacturing power matching the United States and all of Europe combined has always been a major challenge.

But the total decay of the United States’ defense industrial base since the early 2000s has made this challenge much less difficult to meet.

The potential for military production now firmly lies with autocratic powers.

If the United States can produce only 1/9th of the artillery shells that they could produce in 1995, and China can produce 200 times more ships than the United States, the arsenal of democracy that existed during World War II and the Cold War has vanished.

Many commentators are coming to realize the same thing.

Would the United States Lose the World War?

The United States is on the brink of a world war that they could lose. Serious conflicts require the attention of the United States in two of the three most strategically important regions of the world.

The United States has already fought wars on multiple fronts. But in past conflicts, they were always able to outproduce their adversaries. This is no longer the case today.

The Chinese navy is already larger than that of the United States in terms of the number of ships, and it grows every four years by the equivalent of the entire French navy (about 130 ships, according to the French navy’s chief of staff).

By comparison, the American navy plans an increase of 75 ships over the next decade.

Defending the United States’ allies will not be possible if the United States does not put its defense industrial base in order.

Since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the total US defense production has increased by only 10%, even as this war demonstrates the huge consumption of military munitions in a major conflict.

The End of the American Military

The Pentagon recently published its annual report on the military developments of China, and its conclusions are clear: the American military is struggling to keep up.

While the Chinese navy is expected to increase its capabilities by nearly 20% within 5 years, the American naval construction plan anticipates it will continue to shrink.

The US fleet will shrink to 285 ships in 2025 and remain below its current size of 290 ships in 2030, because retirements continue to outpace the building of new ships.

The American submarine fleet is expected to have only 57 vessels in 2030.

Year after year, the American navy remains faced with increasingly uncertain budgets.

The Arsenal of Democracies Is in Mortal Danger

It is important to clarify that the expression “Arsenal of democracy” does not refer to the size of the existing American military forces, nor to military spending.

It refers to the potential for military production, that is, the amount of military equipment the US could produce in the event of a lengthy conventional war against a major power like China.

While people who bemoan the withering of the defense industrial base talk about reductions in military budgets, the deeper problem is the deindustrialization of the United States.

Over the last two decades, an increasingly smaller portion of the American economy has been devoted to the manufacturing of tangible goods, while the Chinese economy has remained more industrial than that of any major US ally.

The Deindustrialization of the United States

Manufacturing isn’t the only thing needed for a strong military: software, logistics, and other elements are also useful.

But the bulk of the economic output needed to conduct a war is composed of weapons and material supplies.

For years, American experts dismissed the importance of the manufacturing industry, arguing that service industries, such as healthcare and education, were more important sources for jobs.

Whether that is true or not, the military importance of the manufacturing industry was completely overlooked.

It’s clear that if you’re in Poland or South Korea, the power and protection of the United States matter a lot to you.

But many Americans naturally feel protected by oceans on either side, and can afford to ignore what’s happening in countries like Ukraine and Taiwan.

The Fear of a United States Invasion

One of the major hurdles Franklin D. Roosevelt had to overcome in his efforts to stop the Axis was the prevailing isolationism at the time among the American populace.

The idea that America should stay out of foreign conflicts and sit back serenely behind its two oceans was incredibly widespread, and Roosevelt’s administration made efforts to convince its people otherwise.

In a series of films titled “Why We Fight”, the government asserted that once the Nazis and the Japanese empire had subdued all their enemies on their own territory, they would eventually invade and conquer the United States. Roosevelt explicitly made this argument:

“If Great Britain falls, the Axis powers would control the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the high seas. It’s no exaggeration to say that we all, in all the Americas, would live under the threat of a gun – a gun loaded with explosive bullets, both economic and military. We would enter a new and terrible era in which the whole world, including our continent, would be governed by threats of brute force.

Today, it’s unlikely that China and Russia have any interest in physically conquering the territory of the United States. There simply isn’t much economic or political benefit to doing so.

However, it’s likely that if the United States stood idly by and let China and Russia become the masters of all Eurasia, they would have the capacity to weaken and impoverish America without explicitly conquering it.

An Invasion of Europe Would Impact the United States

One way to achieve this would be to disrupt US trade. The United States is an exceptionally self-sufficient economy, but that’s a very relative statement – they still crucially depend on products from abroad.

The US could learn to make their own semiconductors, electronics, and car parts, but self-sourcing all critical metals in North America would be extremely difficult.

Besides, cutting off the United States from global trade in manufactured goods would be incredibly disruptive.

The United States imports goods and services worth $2.073 trillion every year, less than one-fifth of which comes from China.

If you think post-pandemic inflation has been painful, imagine the inflation if the United States were unable to purchase products from Europe, Japan, Korea, etc.

China and Russia would have every reason to weaken the American economy as much as possible and in as permanent a fashion as possible, simply because it would eliminate the United States as a potential threat.

None of America’s rivals would forget how the Arsenal of democracy has held them at bay for many decades; they would both want to ensure that a reinvigorated America could never threaten them again.

They would seek to eliminate American power not because they hate the American Constitution, but simply because it would neutralize a long-term potential threat.

The revenge of China and Russia

The United States was hesitant about whether to weaken Russia after the Cold War and ultimately decided against it. China and Russia would not be so kind after scoring a decisive victory in the coming decades.

Isolationism would also expose the United States to encirclement by Chinese and Russian military bases, just as the United States and its allies sought to contain the communist powers during the Cold War, but probably with much more ruthlessness.

By mastering Eurasia, China and Russia would take steps to ensure that American isolationism moved from voluntary to compulsory, guaranteeing that the United States would never again be able to project power to defend their own security outside their borders.

In other words, the United States would be caged. If terrorists attacked, the United States would be unable to retaliate abroad; if China decided it needed to own Hawaii, there would be no way to prevent it short of nuclear war.

Even worse, if the United States remained inactive, it would be difficult to maintain their own form of democratic government.

If China and Russia decided that the United States, disarmed and economically isolated, needed to be run by their puppet dictator, how effectively could the United States resist such pressure?

The United States Militarily Threatened

In other words, the United States wouldn’t need to be explicitly conquered by Chinese and Russians on the ground to suffer severe negative consequences.

Roosevelt explained that the world had gotten smaller since the invention of the airplane. Today, in the age of the internet, cheap spaceflights, and long-range hypersonic missiles, oceans are but a slender defense.

It is therefore vital to maintain a robust system of global alliances, capable of withstanding domination and conquest by China and Russia.

Without it, the future of the United States will be much darker.

Declining military spending as a % of GDP

And the United States’ military production potential, which Roosevelt called the arsenal of democracy, is essential for the maintenantce of this system.

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Chaque jour, j’essaie d’enrichir mes connaissances sur cette révolution qui permettra à l’humanité d’avancer dans sa conquête de liberté.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.