A TRIPOLAR WORLD
  Karl Arnold Belser
6 August 2018



I am closely following what is happening in the world today as a result of president Trump's America First policy. So I reread Peter Zeihan's book The Accidental Superpower which seems to show the course the US is following.

In short, Zeihan's book shows that the United States in conjunction with Canada and Mexico, its dominant trading partners, are essentially self sufficient . These nations even have a flat demographic distribution instead of a declining one (i.e. few young people)compared to all other parts of the world except Africa. The north American continent is protected by two oceans and has abundant resources of every kind.

Zeihan suggests that  the US should stop being the world's policeman. The US agreed to protect the recovery of various other nations after World War II at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The US fostered free trade (low tariffs) between nations and safe sea lanes. These nations have now recovered and are essentially free riders at US expense.

 It appears that the Trump administration is implementing  an American withdrawal economically and politically from the rest of the world. China is implementing a similar activity in unifying economically the nations in the region within India and Australia.
This is the Belt and Road initiative. The US is clearly in economic war with China that it will probably loose if the US does not change its behavior.

The book Global Economic History: A very Short Introduction shows that the key to economic success is good infrastructure, enough young people to pay for the cost of social welfare, lots of natural resources,and a good geographical situation. The US has all of these characteristics. In this situation the regions should use tariffs to allow growth in the internal  economy. This is exactly what Trump is doing. America First means isolation of America from the other problems in the world. It may even mean withdrawing from NATO because the US is bearing much of the heavy financial load with no particular advantage to the US.

Beyond Zeihan's book, what happens if the US succeeds in withdrawing? Who could threaten the United States? The answer is - any nation with atomic bombs and missiles to deliver them to the US. The two nations with this capability today are Russia and China. Therefore it does not surprise me that Trump is working out some sort of agreement with these two nations. This is the tripolar world that I think is evolving. Michael Klare gives an excellent overview of this world situation in his essay in the Hulffington Post Trump's Grand Strategy to Create a Tripolar World.  See also 
Tomdispatch.com.

The first thing that has to happen is to eliminate all other nations that might develop nuclear weapons and long range missiles. The two threats here are North Korea and Iran. neither country has missiles that can deliver a bomb to the US or anywhere else.

The US doesn't really care if North Korea has an atomic bomb just as long as it can't deliver it to the US. China on the other hand will definitely not want nuclear weapons on its borders. And if China allows North Korea to have bombs then Japan and others would probably insist on having weapons too. This would not be good for China. Hence I think that China will be very motivated in neutralizing the North Korean threat.

Iran  is another story because its threat is backed by religion. The US strategy here appears to be to induce economic collapse in Iran. If Iran continues to support global terrorism in the name of Islam they will certainly commit suicide internally. I suspect that the US might have to declare war on Iran in order to get them to get rid of their threat. If it does declare war it certainly doesn't want Russia to interfere. Hence Russia is a pivotal player.

Russia is essentially land locked because it doesn't have clear access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific is too far away. Further Russia is demographically challenged. It has only about 140 million people and this population is old and not growing. In a few decades it will not be able to be a world power. So what Russia needs is people and sea access.. I don't think that Russia can conquer territory to solve this problem. More than likely it needs to unify with some or all of the European countries. I don't know how this can happen presently, but if NATO disappears and Europe is over run with immigrants it might consider such a merger. This type of merger would be especially necessary if the US and China each became independent super powers. Europe would have to respond in kind.

Based on this discussion I think that a tripolar world is very likely. I am astounded that the US media does not see this big picture. Instead they are focused on calling Trump a stupid, greedy, sexist, racist, unpatriotic person. Its astounding. It is social proof and political correctness gone wild.
 
Last updated August 6, 2018
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