After more than eight years of publishing since leaving grad school in 2013 – first a 310-page book, and then 140 essays – my train of thought and stream of consciousness which has persisted for more than eight years now comes down to a two-word concept known as “internal balancing.” But this isn’t a total surprise. Nor is anything really random. As Albert Einstein famously said, God doesn’t play with dice.
I discussed “internal balancing” in my book, titled “Is the West in Decline? A Study of ‘World Order’ and ‘U.S. Relative Decline’” which I published in January 2018. At this particular juncture of American history, “internal balancing” wins out against proponents of “external balancing” for perhaps two reasons. For one, the international system has been defined by a strategic context known as “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD) since the early years of the Cold War. Thus, if you are two major powers in the international system, pushing the envelope against one another operationally or tactically at this point would be futile because of the strategic context. The second reason is that Northeast Asia – in other words, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan – all have nuclear breakout capabilities. Thus, from a nuclear deterrence perspective, Northeast Asia is essentially in a power equilibrium because of the nuclear deterrence dimension, even if you mitigate America’s presence and focus in that part of the world.
Why my train of thought and stream of consciousness happen to come down to “internal balancing” in America is not just out of a love for America. It is also because it is the most current of current events, and I am obliged to address current events for my readers because I run an international affairs blog. But also, for us Americans, there is also nowhere else to go other than America when shit hits the fan. Thus, if we do not address the most acute and pertinent issues of our time as Americans, there is virtually nowhere else for Americans to go once things go downhill from an economic, political, and social perspective. As Americans, we will not be welcomed anywhere else. Nor will we fit in anywhere else. I can attest to this, because I have travelled to many countries, and an American can never really adopt another identity or make another place home, even if they tried. Although America is the only truly global state, Americans cannot diminish a global identity for a limited identity anywhere else, no matter how hard we try.
Others can become Americans. An immigrant from Nigeria or Sudan can become an American within a matter of time. But an American can never become Qatari or Emirati or Chinese, no matter how hard they try. Thus, if you’re a Jew in America and all you’re concerned about is Israel in the back of your mind (I won’t name names), or if you’re an Afghan-American and all you care about is Afghanistan, then that means you’re narrow-minded and ignorant. I’ve spoken to a young American Jew at a restaurant in Washington who has lived in Israel, and he told me he couldn’t come back to the United States soon enough because his situation in Israel was miserable. I appreciated his candor and truthfulness more than anything else.
Also, now that the cash cow in Afghanistan is gone, I don’t see many Afghan-Americans going to Afghanistan out of love for that place. Thus, in the postmodern age that we are living in now, people’s true colors are starting to come out. Coronavirus has abased some, and has elevated others. I am fortunate to be one of those who has been able to elevate himself despite this global crisis. Much of the good fortune is the result of a sincere dedication to truth and faith, but pragmatically, it is also because you shouldn’t shit where you eat and sleep. I was able to overcome my anger and frustration to a large extent through reading and writing over the course of the last eight years. But there are swaths of people in this country who don’t have the type of belief and faith that I have.
Nor are many people as dedicated as I am to philosophy, science, and truth. Thus, if there isn’t a systemic recognition in the United States of the economic, political, and social crisis that may arise as a result of anger, discontent, and frustration – and if individuals like Joe Manchin or Kirsten Sinema don’t overcome their egos – then everything may end in an economic, political, and social crisis in the United States over the course of the next three years. Overall, three years is an entire lifetime in politics and government. Things can happen in an instant. Thus, as I’ve said on a number of occasions, everything in the international system – including the domestic situation in the United States – is in a constant state of flux. It’s perhaps better to do nothing and to shut off your mind and your mouth than to be in government and do damage like many have done and continue to do. Thus, I have brought more than eight years of hard work down to just two words.