PODCAST: The Geopolitics of America

The United States began as 13 rebellious colonies on the Eastern edge of the North American continent and in time it would emerge the global superpower. But in the 21st century she faces numerous challenges in maintaining its position
19th October 202234 min

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[00:00:00] Yusuf: Welcome to Geopolitical Horizon, the podcast from Geopolity. Now we want to continue our geopolitical series. Uh, we’ve done so far at quite a few countries. We’ve covered Russia, China, Britain. Have a look at them if you get a chance. Today, we’re going to discuss the US uh, the superpower of the world. Now, uh, to discuss this with us today, we’ve got Geopolity founder Adnan Khan. How are you keeping Adnan?

[00:00:36] Adnan: I’m good Yusuf I’m good. How are you?

[00:00:38] Yusuf: I’m very well, thank you. So, uh, let’s start at the beginning. Uh, what are the US imperatives, what are their constraints?

[00:00:47] Adnan: OK, so Yusuf in the case of America. You find the this country’s imperative are slightly different compared to the other countries than looked. Russia, Britain, China, their imperatives are actually fixed and they don’t really change much with time. In the case of America, their imperatives, so those things which are necessary for theie survival, they have changed over time relative to America’s expansion and America becoming a superpower. So the original United States of America was 13 colonies on the eastern side, the sliver of land on the eastern side in the American continent. These 13 colonies interestingly consisted of oppressed or discriminated religious individuals who came from the UK who came and settled in the Americas around 16o5. Oh. Eventually these 13 colonies would become the United States of America. They would rebel against the British monarchy and gain independence and established it own constitution. So at that point, they faced significant challenges. Um, their imperative was survival. You have a sliver of land the British could turn up in their ships anytime to conquer you. To your west. You’ve got the rest of the American continent. And unless you expanded, you’ve got no strategic depth. If the British turned up, you would need to fall back. The challenge they obviously faced was right on the eastern side of America, you’ve got large mountains. So the imperative at that time was strategic depth. That was to expand the territory they held, for any attack or invasion by Britain they could retreat and fight another day. So that’s what they, uh uh did. They would over time expand to the Center of America. Eventually, as we know, the United States of America went from the Atlantic on one side to the Pacific on the, uh, other side. They got very lucky in this process as well because in the middle of, uh, America, you’ve got the Mississippi River system, which as far as I can remember is the largest continuous farmland in the world. So what you have is plenty of rivers, plenty of land plenty of agriculture, which will support a large population. It would support trade. Sending goods via sea is the cheapest way to move goods around. So that’s how America achieved its first imperative.

Its second imperative then was is in order for America to expand there were already two obstacles they faced. One was the Mexicans in the south who that border with and the second when the Europeans turned up to both north and South America, in the south, you had the Aztec and the Inca Empires. In the north you had a large red Indian population. So if America was going to survive, uh, and I called America, here the Europeans who came as settler colonies, they would’ve to deal with this, these indigenous people. So what the United States America did, which we, you know, have been documented now, is they carried out a genocide. They carried out a massacre of the indigenous people via plunder and mass slaughter and also by bringing, uh, diseases from Europe as well. The second thing that remained was Mexico. Mexico to the South, its joined to America, theres a desert that joins them together, and over time, America. What was of America at the time would go to war with the Mexicans, and that’s how that border came to be as we know now. So the second imperative of dealing with any opposition on the continent that had been dealt with.

So the third imperative then came to be is you’ve got European powers who still wanna colonise the Americas. You’ve got the British, you’ve got the French, you’ve got the Spanish, you’ve got the Portuguese, the French still held some territories in uh, Canada. And Spanish and Portuguese still held some territories. So what the Americans did was they built a navy, Their view was if we could control the approaches via the ocean, then there’s no way the Europeans can actually get onto land and actually end the United States of America. So the development of America’s navy was the third imperative that they needed for survival, and that really led to America final and fourth, uh, uh, imperative.

Uh, America would expand its navy all the way to the Pacific. It will take over Hawaii and eventually the Philippines would actually become an American colony. And what America realized then was the only threat that could come to America now was a continental power in another part of the world. If a continental power was to emerge, it could marshal sufficient resources to challenge America. So America’s fourth imperative came, came to be america needs to control the oceans with the world’s largest navy and get involved in the affairs of the rest of the world to the point to ensure no nation or group of nations could turn into a continental power. Each time this happened, America would intervene. So in World War I, Germany tried to conquer the whole of Europe. So America intervened. In World War II you had Japan who tried to conquer a whole continent. America intervened during the Cold War you had the Soviet Union USSR the Eastern block, who tried to conquer the whole Eurasia, so America intervened. So that was America’s fourth imperative. So obviously the biggest constraint on all of this is if you’re gonna be a global power, you gotta have an economy that can sustain a global military. An economy that’s of global scope, and that’s been a very costly endeavor for America. I’m sure we’re gonna discuss this further. America seems to be having the same problems all empire have had in the past where the cost of maintaining a global presence becomes prohibitively expensive.

[00:06:34] Yusuf: Now, when we look at America today, it’s crazy to think that it started off, like you said, these 13 colonies, but now it’s grown to become a global power. The only global power to be honest. How did US transform from controlling the Amer, uh, the American land to now this global? 

[00:06:55] Adnan: So that’s a very good good question. Yusuf, because in the end of the 1700s or the beginning of the 1800s, and I would say even to the middle of the 1800s, if you anyone was to say that this territory on the other side of the world would become a superpower, they’ll laugh at you. If anything, Spain who controlled the most of, um, Mexico, uh, and parts of, uh, Latin America. And then eventually Mexico would become independent. The view was Mexico would become the power on the continent and potentially, uh, a global power. So how did this come to be? Uh, it was a combination of things. Um, it was in many ways, some of it was similar to what we saw about the European. It was through plunder, through looting. Through genocide of the indigenous people, but probably the one key thing was a stroke of luck that occurred in 1815. The United States of America was really just the 13 colonies on the eastern side of America, the central part of America’s was controlled by France, and in 1815. Napoleon was at war in Europe with all the powers on the continent, and Napoleon really couldn’t focus on any other parts of the French Empire. So what he did was he sold the middle portion of America to the United States of America in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase. Now, the amounts involved aren’t very important. It was a huge amount at the time, but what he sold was one of the most important and the most strategic farmlands you could ever purchase from, uh, anywhere. This area where the Mississippi River system is, it is what made America what it was. It made America self sufficient. It allowed America to move goods across the whole northern continent. It allowed people to spread throughout the whole of America and ensure there was sufficient food supply for them. So rather than having to fight for this territory, which is what they were doing, They were able to save their resources and actually get this on a plate for themselves. So what that really did is America, Canada, and Mexico are the only countries that have borders with both the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. So whoever became the power in North America had the potential to become a global power. They’ve got access to two seas. No country in the world apart from north American countries have access to both Pacific and the Atlantic. For the first 50 to 80 years of America’s existence, the view of most people was Mexico would become the power in the north of American continent, and they would go on to become a global power. But as we know, that didn’t happen. It was the United States through expansion, through genocide, and sheer luck that they would, uh, become the dominant power on the continent and then go on to become the global power.

[00:09:42] Yusuf: Now, there’s one thing about gaining global power you’ve seen a lot of nations do that in the past, but there’s another thing about maintaining it. What comes to mind is like the Mongols, they managed to take control of a lot of area in a short space of time, but they’d lost power very quickly. But that’s not really happened with the US it’s managed to maintain its power. How did it manage to do that?

[00:10:05] Adnan: So this again it happened in a number of ways. Um, you find that America landed a million troops in World War I on the European continent. In 1918, I think it was September, 1918 when the World War I finished a million American troops, got back on boats and went back to America. America didn’t stay to determine the post World War order. It went back into isolation. In fact, American public opinion about America’s role in the world historically has been one of. America shouldn’t get embroiled in international affairs the way the Europeans do. It’s very costly, and that’s not what America’s about. So after World War I, America went back to its continent and it didn’t really get involved in continental affairs. World War II America didn’t do the same thing again. World War II America had seen the oil wealth in the Middle East, and American politicians now were more united, that America should play a global role. So when World War II finished, the only power that was standing really was the Soviet Union who was standing on one leg. And then you had America who had partaken in World War II but not one bomb fell in the United States of America. So effectively, America led the establishment of a new global . We know that order today as the international liberal order, and what America did was it established a number of institutions that would come to dominate global affairs and touch every nation in the world. What helped America achieve this was the fact that you had the Soviet Union who was trying to establish an alternative order, so this international order you set up an institution for international law, the United Nations, and the aim behind the United Nations War to stop war as a way to deal with disputes between countries. So America established this institution. It used the victors of World War II to establish it, and obviously these five countries, as we know still have a right to veto in that institution. America then established an economic institution, which play a very important role in America’s dominance of the global economy at the time. It set up the general agreement of taxes and tariffs. Which was an agreement between all the members to reduce their tax and tariffs and act as one market. This would then evolve into the World Trade Organization eventually and during the Cold War countries that were part of America’s order, they prospered, they developed and they became more economically rich. So Germany, Japan, these countries compared to the Eastern block who didn’t really develop as much. So because most countries are now part of the world Trade organisation and America’s at the center of this organisation. America can cut you off from global trade if it’s not happy with you. It’s done that to North Korea, it’s done that to Iran. It makes it illegal for them to trade them. The other institution America set up was NATO. set up a security organisation and in effectly set to other countries you don’t need to develop your military, America security umbrella will provide you security. So today, Germany not not had the need to develop nuclear weapons, but America provides it with a nuclear. Umbrella. This also meant that these countries allowed America set up bases in their countries. So as a result, America has spread its military bases across the world, and that gives us, gives it a significant global power projection capabilities. The other two institutions America set up was the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund deals with global finance. The World Bank deals with development. These two institutions, America has the largest share and actually the constitution of these institutions, they were established taking into account American interests. So this liberal order, It touches everyone. Nobody can get, get around it. It’s a global order. It facilitates trade and America’s at the center it. So this order is what allowed America to go from just being a country in the North American continent to becoming the global superpower.

[00:13:55] Yusuf: You mentioned that if America wanted to, it can choose to cut off particular countries from if America wanted to, it could cut, uh, particular countries from global trade. How could it actually do that? What, what does America have that gives it power to do that?

[00:14:12] Adnan: So america gathered most of those countries in Bretton Woods and worlds in near Washington just before the World War II ended. And one of the key things agreed that Bretton Woods is that the US dollar would be the reserve currency. So what that means is forget gold being the currency of the world. Gold will be linked to the dollar, uh, and the dollar would facilitate global trade. So America’s local currency will be the currency the rest of the world will use to do international transactions. So any country in this order would have to sell their own goods and there own currency to get the dollar. America can print the dollar and use it for itself. And over the years, oil, international, commodities, financial markets, all of them are priced in the dollar. So what that means today Is America can sanction you and that will cut you off from global trade. And the way America does that is because the dollar is America’s domestic currency, they can make it illegal for anyone to use it. So at the moment, that’s effectively what they’ve done to Russia. It’s illegal for China, any country to trade with Russia using the dollar. Now you’d think if China’s trading with Russia, why they’re using the dollar. Why they’re not using their own currency. Well, Russia doesn’t trust the Chinese currency, and also there’s nothing Russia can do with the Chinese currency in its own country. And the same applies to China. You can’t use the Russian currency in your own country. Now, the currency you can use in other countries is the dollar. So when people pay China in dollars, China then uses the same dollars to purchase energy and purchase raw materials because the international system is priced in dollars. Because America underwrote, it means America’s local currency is way more important than every other currency. So all the world needs access to dollars to engage in global trade. It’s the lubricant that links together all these different countries, uh, around the world. So that’s why American can cut you off. To be honest with you, America has the most aircraft carriers in the world. It’s got the largest fleet of fighter jets around the world. It’s got the most military bases in the world, but none of these are America’s real nuclear option. America’s real nuclear option. It’s actually at the dollar it’s currency, and you’re seeing that with Russia now. You’ve seen that with North Korea, Iran, and Cuba in the past. America like that can cut you off, which is what they did to Russia overnight. They said, We are making it illegal for you to use our domestic currency. Which means even a third country who’s got no problem with America, they can’t use the dollar because it’s America’s domestic currency. Uh, and that’s how they, that’s why making your currency, the global currency places you in a very unique position compared to any other country.

[00:16:50] Yusuf: I’m guessing that’s part of the reason why America, even with being in so much debt, it still has a very strong economy, but, Is that sustainable?

[00:17:01] Adnan: So, I mean, there’s a number of, uh, implications when you have the global currency. Firstly, it means your currency has to be widely available. You are facilitating global trade, so you can’t just print the amount of currency your country needs. Everyone needs the dollar. Now, in any other scenario, this would lead to massive inflation. But because other countries need the American dollar, you don’t get inflation. You don’t get massive inflation in uh, America. So what that means is America can endlessly print money and it can use the money domestically, and because the whole world needs it, the money gets absorbed that it won’t lead to inflation. As you mentioned, what’s happened over the years is where America was an exporter, where America was an innovator. Today what you find America is debt is more than the economy. Its Current account is regularly in deficit is budget is regularly in deficit. American debt is going through the roof. Now you can keep printing your currency and the world needs it, but there’ll come a point where the debt is eating up so much of your budget, you’re gonna have a massive uh, problem. So there’s been talked for over two, three decades now, how sustainable is, uh, America’s economy and America, I mean, corporations have significant debt. Even domestic consumer debt is absolutely huge. So you are right. Uh, America’s debt or America’s economy, the economic model is not sustainable. And really the only thing that’s allowing it to continue is the fact that no one actually challenging the dollar. You’re seeing now some moves by Russia alongside China because Russia now has been effectively cut off from using the dollar. So now it’s trying to make some moves to establish another system. So you’re right, America’s economy. to be honest for a long time has been built upon a pack of cards, and when it falls, it’ll be so obvious that it fell, that at the time it looks really, really strong. The difference was is even Russia and China, they have no alternative to the dollar. Their own currencies are not strong enough or trusted enough to replace the dollar and for a long time people have seen problems with the dollar, but there’s no other currency that can replace it tahts trustworthy, so even the Euro thats actually a local currency is not really used much outside Europe. All the other currencies, the top 10, you find that they are local currencies. Nobody really uses them. The dollar, because of America’s privileged position after World War II is what allowed them to force it upon the uh, uh, rest of the world. So, you’re right, the American economy isn’t sustainable and it’s lurching on at the moment because no one else is there to replace it. Now, if the American economy is already facing these issues, these issues are only gonna get worse. They’re not gonna get better. Eventually, somebody will challenge it. All the countries that are owed debt by America. They seem to be confident that America can repay that debt. Any time there’s doubt, America can repay his. Why would you hold onto these dollars? They’ll become worthless. So, you know, there’s significant economic challenges coming up for America.

[00:19:50] Yusuf: There’s a lot of other challenges that America faces at the moment. If we look domestically recently, there was the whole issue on abortion. Will, will this have any impact on America’s global position? This, uh, these domestic problems that we are seeing.

[00:20:06] Adnan: So up until most recently, the American Dream, globalisation, free trade, freedom of speech, freedom of belief, These things appear to unify the American people to the point where the American dream was, we can be very different, we can be diverse, and we can all live together. This obviously has changed. Now we’ve seen the last decade or two, the differences in Americans emerging and these differences go beyond just politics, being Republican and Democrat. You’re looking at, uh, abortion, you’re looking at beliefs when it comes to conspiracies, the role of the government. These have actually become very, very divisive now to the point now where you even seeing some regions of America who are talking about succeeding. You see, this is such a popular idea now that congressmen have to talk about this. Even on the political front, you are seeing the divisions have got to the point where we may be reaching that point where how can America operate effectively abroad when there’s so many differences at home. So we’re seeing, for example, at the moment, Biden is trying to get a nuclear deal arranged with Iran and the opposition of Republicans are completely getting in the way. They are not allowing him to make a deal. They’re getting in the way. So the deal, uh, falls apart. The partisan differences now it’s getting in the way. That’s why we’ve had numerous lockdowns of the American government. So a lockdown is where, in the case of America, America keeps taking on more and more debt to keep the government running, but the debt has to be agreed by Congress, and the Congress don’t allow it, and the government has to close. It’s literally got no money to pay anybody. So these divisions are getting more and more deeper, and they’re going into other areas. They’re leading to differences in other areas of America as well. So for the moment, these differences have not impacted America’s global image. Sorry. They’ve not affected America’s global position. America’s image is definitely taking a hit. The fact that Donald Trump was using the Army to clamp down on Black Lives Matter. The fact that you had right wing groups demonstrating in America against the opposition. The fact that these people tried to take over Capitol Hill and do a coup, the fact that these people refused to accept that Biden won the election and the election was rigged. All of this makes America look like a declining power to most people, uh, in the world. I mean, all the polls show America’s credibility. I mean, America’s credibility took a big hit with the Iraq and Afghan wars. And now these internal divisions are making it even worse as well. And what you find you Yusuf the politicians just don’t care. They’re so partisan. They’re so fixated on their own political position that they don’t care that they get in the way of the ruling, uh, party so long as it benefits them personally. So to give a simply one example of this, when, um, Barack Obama became the, um, President of America, the Republicans got in the way of everything. And the way they viewed it, and this is something they revealed in the BBC documentary, when Obama was come to the end of his term, they basically said that George W Bush won two terms in power. And nobody talked about the Democrats. Democrats the weak it was all about George W. Bush. Then Obama, a black man, he ran for election and nobody talked about Republicans, like didn’t exist. He was really popular. He became the ruler. So their position was, we are gonna stand in the way of him being an effective ruler. We’re just gonna stand in the way and try and to undermine him. The fact that this impacts America’s position. The fact that undermines America, they didn’t care, but it was all about them being in power and Obama is the opposing party and we don’t want him in. That’s the level America’s politics has, uh, got to. And these sort of things in the long run will weaken your global position. Uh, if this gets to funding for the military, if this gets to America’s key relationships, America’s foreign policy will become muddled and they won’t be able to resource it. And that impact America’s global position.

[00:23:54] Yusuf: Yeah. You mentioned, um, that US isn’t in decline and I’m sure a lot of people share that view. Besides the points that you mentioned, what else has added to this?

[00:24:06] Adnan: So when we are talking about decline, I mean, I remember when I was quite young then. Cold War finished 1991. And the 1990s was the peace dividend. America was spreading the American dream. It was opening up the world to globalisation when the 21st century began. All the talk was how will the 21st century be the American century? America the dominant power, there’s such a big gap between America and the rest of the world. And then the neocons came to Power 2001, with George W Bush, and their view was, the best use of America’s primacy is to create regime change in unfavorable countries in the world. So their first experiment was Iraq and what a disaster that was. And as we know, the Afghan, uh, uh, uh, adventure was even worse. But these invasions there wasn’t just a military, uh, problem. What America did in both invasions, they trampled over everything that advocated for the, for the last decade human rights rule of law, competent governments, America trampled all over this, you know, Abu Gharib, you’ve got Guantanamo Bay, you’ve got the Patriot Act where people are being arrested for things they don’t know. You don’t even have a proper trial. You’ve got, um, drone attacks, you know, Someone’s guilty there’s no trial. You just kill them. All of these things have really undermined America’s position and what America’s now finding is where it could influence an outcome in the world now is finding it can’t. So you look at Sudan, the separation of Sudan was orchestrated by America. Look at that mess. Iraq and Afghanistan look at the mess in these countries, even the Europeans are pushing back against America aswell. America can’t influence events in the world like it used to. And that’s because even China and Russia, they don’t view America as the power it was in 2001. Today they view America as a much weaker nation and they’re prepared to stand up against it. And the interesting thing with this is all of this was America’s own doing. All of this was done by America. Tramping over their values. China and Russia haven’t become strong or got a bigger military than America and all these metrics, America’s still the biggest, but the difference there is, is the invasion of these two countries is actually completely undermined everything that America spent a century uh, creating. So all of these factors showed that America influenced the world it that influences in decline. It’s not what it used to be prior to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

[00:26:33] Yusuf: Now I’m hearing all this, but when I look at America and I see it as the world’s largest military It still tells me that the US will remain a global power for the foreseeable future. The rest of what you mentioned is almost like the small print when it, you compare it to how big their military is. Isn’t that right?

[00:26:54] Adnan: Yeah. So America has the the largest military we’ve had in history, 800 bases. No other country comes close to that. America has the largest air force in the world it’s got over 5,000 jets. It’s got a nuclear triad it could launch nuclear weapons from silos, from the air, from the sea. It’s got the largest navy in the world. That’s a lot of power, which proved all to be absolutely useless in the mountains of Afghanistan after 20 years. In Afghanistan it proved utterly useless. They were unable to defeat a rag tag slipper wearing band of militiamen in Afghanistan. In the end, they had to leave and we saw the withdrawal was like. In fact, America’s military is the largest and the most heavily funded, and that’s become a problem in itself. The amount of money that is going to the American military means that that money can’t go into infrastructure, it can’t go to education, all things that help you in the long run at this military. There’s a question how effective it is aswell.. I mean, when’s the last time America won a war? Uh, Hasn’t won one this century. We have to go quite far back. Probably 1991 when they invaded Iraq. First time around and if Iraq today is a victory, well it doesn’t look like a victory. So America is a large military absolutely. And it’s very costly. It’s actually weighing down on America’s position. So. This is the classic Roman Empire problem. You are so big, and to maintain your global position, all the money has to go there, which now means you’ve gotta neglect other areas, domestic areas, and this catches up with you eventually. And you’re seeing that already when it comes to education, innovation, infrastructure, these sorts of areas. And that’s why there’s all this talk of, you know, America seems to be having the same problems as the Roman, uh, empire had. So yes, America has a large military, but that military has proven to be very ineffective in the last two decades. But more importantly that to maintain that military is having an adverse effect on America’s economic capabilities for the long one.

[00:28:53] Yusuf: It’s an interesting time for you to mention Afghanistan, for us to do this podcast actually, because it’s been almost a year since the US lost Afghanistan and also we had the recent assassination of Al Qaeda’s leader. How, how did the US get to this point in terms of its relationship with Afghanistan?

[00:29:12] Adnan: So America lost in Afghanistan really for the same reason it lost in Vietnam. It entered a war, which is highly questionable did you even need to? And when it got involved in the war, it got complicated and it didn’t turn out the way they thought. So they had to invest more and more resources in it. Very quickly the reason for going to war changed from we’re going to war to chain the world to save the people. To, if we leave now it will undermine our position. And once you get to that position, what you’re doing now, you are gonna just stay in the war because leaving the war is bad. So actually what does the victory look like? Well, victory looks like as long as we stay and we don’t leave thats victory. So there’s actually a very interesting report, it was from a very niche, um, section of the American government, it’s called SEGAR. It was an institute that was set up to actually monitor the spending of funds in Afghanistan and interestingly, they published their report just before Kabul for last year, and in their project, which is called the lesson Learned project. What they concluded is Ev from the beginning until the end of the 20 year occupation, America lied at every turn. And the reason why they lied is by admitting to the problems they were having it will undermine America’s credibility. So the fact that America’s working on establishing a stable government, all of it was a lie. America was throwing loads of money at projects that were going into the pockets of corrupt people, but they just refused to admit it because it will look really, really bad at home. America tried to establish security services army in the end now we know most soldiers were ghost soldiers they didn’t even exist on paper. The getting rid of opium in the end, opium became widescale in the country, and this is exactly what they did in Vietnam. In Vietnam, it’s, we’ve got stuck here now. And leaving the country will just undermine our position, so we might as well actually just stay. In fact, Barak Obama in 2009 realized that the war unwinnable in Afghanistan, and that’s when they started talks with the Taliban which went on for about 10 years. When Donald Trump came in, he got the peace deal agreed, and then when Biden came in, he had the unfortunate job of implementing the peace deal. So, you know, honestly, there are people in America today their, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters probably died in the Afghan War. And unfortunately they didn’t die for values or whatever the American officials said. Really what they died for was a few people who had some ambitions on using Afghanistan as a front in Central Asia, and they believe the invasion and removal of the regime will achieve that. And in the end, they sent all the American army as cannon fodder and in the end they abandoned it anyway because they realised after 20 years, we can’t even physically win. So really, America and Afghanistan has a history of being the graveyard of empires. That should have been a historical point America should have looked at. But there were arrogant, they believed we could go in and we could defeat this country. And after 20 years, 20 years ago, they removed the Taliban and today they removed the government, they established and put the Taliban back into power.

[00:32:18] Yusuf: Uh, I’m gonna give you, um, the names of a few other countries and I just want you to quickly, I know you can talk about it for a long time, but just quickly, could you briefly talk about the relationship that America has with these countries? So first of all, uh, we have to talk about China.

[00:32:34] Adnan: So America views China as a potential rival, it is a country that is trying to compete with America in its own region, and if it does succeed in dominating its region, it will then challenge America other other parts the worlf. So naturally, America’s now started an economic war. It started a trade war. We’ve had the Democrat speaker go over to Taiwan. So China and America, the fundamental relationship is one of competition. Ther’re competitors, America has identified China as its future, well it’s current and future rival, who has capabilities to challenge it. So far as America’s concerned china today is basically the new Soviet Union.

[00:33:09] Yusuf: And what about uh, Russia?

[00:33:12] Adnan: So in the case of Russia, Russia is a country that collapsed after the collapse of Soviet Union. America then went in and built relations with all the former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe. In the Caucuses, in Central Asia, got many of them to join NATO as well. However, the return of the security services through Putin, they’ve managed to unify the country. And make it powerful again. As a result, Russia is trying to push back and get back some of the territories it loss during the 1990s. So here it’s pushing up against America, whether it’s Eastern Europe, Ukraine, in the caucuses in Central Asia. So Russia and America are rivals despite the fact that they can corporate in other parts of the world on individual, uh, issues. But Russia poses the biggest challenge to America in places like Eastern Europe, the Caucuses, Central Asia, and that’s where America and Russia are in direct competition.

[00:34:06] Yusuf: Talk about this last podcast, uh, with Britain, but if you can summarize for the audience, uh, Britain and America.

[00:34:13] Adnan: So, Britain is somewhere between a partner to a vassel state. It goes along with America everywhere. America has had to deal with the architecture Britain established in the Middle East and these sort of places. So America likes to talk about this special relationship and this is a way to keep Britain on its side, but there’s nothing much Britain can do to stop America. So that’s why Britain’s just concluded we are better of going along with America. Where we can, we complicate America’s plans if it goes against British interests and where we can’t, we will just go along with America and by being in a special relationship, they’ll get front seat.

[00:34:51] Yusuf: Is that the same in regards to Europe as well?

[00:34:53] Adnan: So Europe is a few additional things. In the case of Europe, you’ve got a continent that’s the same size of the American economy. Uh, and if this continent unifies whether through one power or collectively, they could potentially pose a challenge to America. So in that sense, Europe needs to have a relationship. America needs to have a relationship with Europe, you know, the trans-Atlantic relations that they have. The other thing is, is you’ve got a Russia who’s trying to historically expand his borders into the European Union. So America, it needs to protect. Europe from Russia. So in that sense, America has to remain engaged in Europe, otherwise Russia could overrun it. On the other hand, potentially historically, powers could emerge from this region. So from that perspective, America remains engaged in the region because, um, a power could emerge. And then you’ve got the Russian threat as well.

[00:35:39] Yusuf: Uh, just a couple more Adnan uh, what about Israel?

[00:35:42] Adnan: So israel is a forward base for America in the Middle East. It’s a position America inherited from the, uh, British. America is happy to fund it, to support it, so long as it achieves American interests, which it does. Successive israeli leaders have said Israel is the equivalent of two aircraft carriers for America in the Middle East. So America likes to color its relationship of one of a close friendship or value, the only democracy in the region. From a strategic perspective, uh, it serves America’s agenda rather than America having lots of bases and a big presence in the Middle East. Israel is the one that achieved that for it. The other aspect of this relationship is, is America doesn’t want to share the region with Israel. So America sees Israel within defined borders. We, we within clearly define borders, and these borders do not include the Gaza It doesn’t include the West Bank. It doesn’t include this other territory that Israel seems to be taking regularly aswell, And the reason why this is, is if Israel is much more larger than it is, then it could become independent. Doesn’t need America. So for America, Israel is a means to an end. Despite the fact that it doesn’t say that and it tries to make it out so there’s a special relationship from an Israeli side. They need a foreign patron. You are dominated by three, 400 million Muslims in the region. You’re a small country. You’re considered a colonial settler state, and their economy and the population is not large enough to survive on its own. So you’ve got a convergence of interests there, which America’s using to achieve its other goals,

[00:37:08] Yusuf: Japan. What about Japan

[00:37:10] Adnan: So in the case of, uh, Japan, America obviously defeated Japan in uh, World War ii, II what America realiSed after World War II was the Cold War was starting, and it needed countries to be the frontline against the Soviet Union. So rather than destroying Japan, it wanted to establish Japan as a successful capitalist nation. And that’s the relationship they have.

[00:37:32] Yusuf: What about, uh, Indian subcontinent, the likes of, uh, Pakistan and India?

[00:37:36] Adnan: Okay, so that’s an interesting one. Uh, America looked at South Asia as one area on the border with the eastern bloc the Soviet bloc. So America’s eyes from the beginning were actually on India as a large country, potentially could be a powerful country. The problem is the Indian founders, uh, Neru and Gandhi, they didn’t wanna be part of the Cold War. They didn’t even wanna take a position they wanted to remain neutral. They wanted to have cordial relations with. America and the Soviet Union and Neru, for example, he had grand plans to develop economic relations with Russia, which he did pursue. Uh, in the end. So America historically has been trying to woo and give concessions and win successive Indian leaders over which they struggled to do until the BJP really came to power in the late 1990s. As a result, they had to settle with Pakistan. So Pakistan became the Cold War Nation that America funded, and America supported against the Soviet bloc. Now the Pakistani founders were already reaching out to America even before partition. When partition happened Pakistan, all the main industries were in India, pakistan didn’t even get much of the leftover military of the British, and as a result, they thought the quickest way to develop for Pakistan was to join the Cold War so America could fund it and they could build its military. So over the years, Pakistan’s become, you know, the battered wife of, uh, America. Uh, America needs Pakistan for the region. However, she’s treated as, you know, the abused mistress in the relationship.

[00:39:14] Yusuf: And, um, what about the Middle East and particularly Saudi arabia?

[00:39:20] Adnan: So, the moment Saudi Arabia found oil and subsequently became the largest oil producer in the world, America needed oil and that’s where that relationship started. So the unsaid agreement is America will defend the monarchy, and so long as the monarchy keeps the oil flowing, and that’s been the central plank of the relationship. What Saudi does for America is it achieves its other interests in the region. So the Saudi monarchy has admitted they support for wahabies Their support for building mosques around the world in the past was because America asked it to do this in order to counter the spread of communism in other Muslim countries. Uh, in fact, Saudi has been a very useful tool for America in the region and beyond. Uh, and it continues with that today.

[00:40:01] Yusuf: Just, uh, one final question for you, Adnan just to finish off, what do you see as America’s key challenges going forward?

[00:40:09] Adnan: Okay, so I think America actually has some significant challenges coming up. Probably the best, uh, problem to start with. Would be, uh, his debt. The debt now is more than the economy, and that’s just an unsustainable position. And it makes you wonder the American economy is worth over $20 trillion. Where’s all that wealth going when the debt is more than $20 trillion? What it means that this leads to my second problem, is that most, that wealth is going into the hounds of a very small segment of the public. In fact, I’ve got a figure here, 90, actually, not 90%, 80% of America’s population, oh, sorry. 43% of America’s wealth is in the hands of just 4% of the population. If you were to look at a map of America, the top half of America, the top left, 1% would own that. Another 9% maybe 10% would own the top right hand side. YAnd ou know, Texas and Florida, that would be 90% of the rest of the population. And this is why you’ve got these domestic political divisions in America because there’s a massive wealth misdistribution in that country. If anything, despite America’s global problems is biggest challenges are actually within the American continent rather than actually, uh, uh, abroad. So the American debt. And, uh, the massive wealth distribution, that’s a big, big problem going forward. And the third, probably most important one is, you know, America is looking more and more like the Roman empire, its overstretched. It’s having to divert more and more money away from is domestic needs to fund its foreign adventures and it foreign adventures just benefit the 1% of the country. So all the signs are really pointing toward some sort of domestic implosion at some point in the future. America is such a large and powerful country that even this decline will probably be slow and over quite a long period. But America’s debt, the domestic political divisions, the wealth misdistribution, and the cost of empire, I think these are probably the key trends to watch going forward. These are the key things successive presidents are now gonna have to really deal with.

[00:42:20] Yusuf: Thank you for your time today, Adnan if you want to learn more about the issues we’ve raised today, please check out our website, www.thgeopolity.com. You can also learn more on other issues by accessing our website. Where you’ll find comprehensive insights, analysis articles, and deep dives. Thank you for listening.


One comment

  • Muhammad

    24th October 2022 at 3:32 pm

    That’s a nice podcast series and I am waiting for more such episodes. A few questions for you analysts.
    1-Do you see US war with China over Taiwan in coming years?
    2-What do u make sense of US relation with Saudia Arab. First they removed patriot missile defense last year and now US influence is fading there. What is the forseeable future for their relations?
    3-How long can it take for US power to wane?
    Also i want you to recommend some books/sites/articles etc to learn more about the globe/world affairs. I have read all the articles here on this site but my curiosity got no end. Just recommend me anything and everything
    Finally, I will request more articles on muslim world affairs.


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