When Worlds Collide

But while America’s “Monroe Doctrine” covers a space that in the coming years will comprise of about 20 percent of global GDP along with one-third of the world’s oil supply, one-fourth of the world’s natural gas supply, about 15 percent of the world’s coal supply, one-fourth of the world’s nuclear energy supply, a little more than one-third of the world’s hydroelectricity supply, and about one-fourth of the world’s renewable energy supply, China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) – which is perhaps the Chinese equivalent of the American “Monroe Doctrine” – covers a space that comprises of about 70 percent of global GDP and approximately three-fourths of global energy supply. Thus, one can contend that the geopolitical advantage and geopolitical edge is with China in the coming years, although the likelihood is that the geopolitical back-and-forth and the geopolitical competition between the United States and China will reach a state of equilibrium in the coming years. 

This eventual or anticipated geopolitical equilibrium between the two opposite poles of the international system will also reflect what is essentially the divide and the rift between the “old world” on one hand and the “new world” on the other hand. The “new world” was initially perceived by its founders as a “promised land” which would eventually shape the “old world” in its image. Whether the “new world” has succeeded in its mission of shaping the “old world” in its own image is a subject of discussion and debate. But what has definitely occurred is a diffusion of knowledge and technological capabilities away from the “new world” and towards the “old world” which in turn has enabled the eventual or anticipated state of equilibrium between the two worlds to take shape and to manifest. 

As Henry Kissinger stated, America’s connection with the “old world” hinges upon a spiritual connection that is largely of a political and social nature. Without the spiritual connection between America and the “old world” that is based on good-natured and friendly political and social ties, the economic and geo-strategic ties between America and the “old world” could fray. In the past, American leaders and key figures in the American national security apparatus demonstrated in certain instances that America had the individuals and the know-how to maintain such a spiritual connection with the old world, especially during the infamous “Cold War” and with the founding of the “United Nations” (UN) which brought Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin together. Whether America is up to the task of establishing and maintaining a spiritual connection with the “old world” today after decades of global hegemony which essentially destroyed and severed this spiritual connection with the old world remains to be seen. 

And as Zbigniew Brzezinski argued, America’s ability to exercise influence as a global power “requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment, and patriotic gratification.” But as Brzezinski also argued: “Yet the dominant culture of [America] has become increasingly fixated on mass entertainment that has been heavily dominated by personally hedonistic and socially escapist themes.” Brzezinski added that the “cumulative effect” of political and social decay in America “has made it increasingly difficult to mobilize the needed political consensus on behalf of sustained, and also occasionally costly, American leadership abroad.” 

In sum, rather than being able to foster and generate the spiritual connection which would uphold and sustain American global leadership over the long run, America is very much on a course which has already severed such a spiritual connection and in turn is on a course whereby two worlds could be colliding as opposed to coming together. 

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