In the comments below, contrariandutchman writes:
War between major powers seems unlikely as all the major powers have serious internal stability issues, major demographic problems and mostly both. China faces demographic collapse end may well fragment into another warring states period, that will rather distract from any designs against the outside world.
A strong argument. I suggest, advocatus diaboli, another interpretation: That sounds an awful lot like the start of World War I to me.
Around 1914, Britain was coping with massive changes to its Parliamentary system. H.H. Asquith, the People’s champion, “played a central role in the design and passage of major liberal legislation and a reduction of the power of the House of Lords.” Wilhelm II forced von Bismarck out in 1890 and went it alone, with predictable results. And as for the French, what Republic are they on now? Six, seven? Russian radicals shot their one competent (by Imperial Russian standards) minister, Pyotr Stolypin, in 1911, leaving Nicholas II to the mercy of Rasputin and, far worse, himself. Serious internal stability issues indeed!
Demographically the situation was little better, though in this case the problems were over the horizon, in the colonies. J.A. Hobson’s criticism of imperialism was both basically right, and hugely influential. Colonies didn’t even cover their costs of administration, and as for defense, their position was ridiculous and the expense damnable, as a wise man once said about something similar. The situation in the colonies was bound to get you into a war sooner or later… but so would decolonization, except faster.
That being the case, the bottom line for all belligerents in World War I seemed to be: Fight now, risking everything while we’re relatively weak, or fight later, when we’ve declined absolutely. The British knew their empire was a huge drain on resources, and anyway a tiny little island couldn’t possibly compete with that rising industrial giant, Germany. Germany knew she had a world-class land army, but was starved of sea access, and no amount of crash dreadnought-building would enable her to catch up to the Royal Navy. Russia had a crappy land army and no sea access, plus a recent stinging defeat staining her escutcheon. France was France, and all of them combined couldn’t match up to the rising industrial, economic, and military power of the United States.
So they fought, striking while the iron was hot.
I certainly wouldn’t put it past China to try it, whoever wins in November. If Trump, can he be sure that his generals will follow his orders to defend, say, Taiwan or Japan? If Biden, will he even know what’s happening enough to grovel to Beijing? Nor does it even have to start as a direct US-China engagement — China could wipe the floor with India any time she chooses, and there’s lots of tension with resurgent Russia in Central Asia. “Americans losing to Chinese while fighting on Russia’s behalf” would be ironic, but certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
I’d watch Japan and India. Both are real, actual countries, with at least a few grownups in their governments, and uninfected — insofar as any First World nation can be — with the SJW toxoplasma. The Japanese have been stealthily but steadily rearming here these past few years, and since their demographics are even worse they’re really going to have to kick it into overdrive here soon.Loading Likes...