Pax Americana is Over


Philip Mahoney , Staff Writer

The average lifespan of an empire has often been counted as roughly two hundred fifty years — history is full of great empires, such as the Romans, the many Chinese dynasties, and the British Empire, upon which the sun was said to never set. Eventually they were all cast into dried ink and stored away on pale parchment deep in the annals of history. 


The Romans were defeated by threats from all around: reckless monetary policy opened the way for their decline, with inflation completely debasing the value of their currency. This unfortunate event happened to coincide with a weak military that left little fear in the hearts of their enemies. Old and ineffective geriatrics steered the Roman empire toward ruin, and the eternal city’s immortality eventually extinguished. The United States has lasted for 246 years, approaching the average age, and many share a fear that the nation’s peak is behind us and the beginning of the fall is near.


In the most recent episode of foreign policy escalations, reminiscent of our Cold War struggles of yesteryear, our communist friends were caught sending a surveillance balloon that managed to traverse the entire continental United States undeterred, despite our supposedly first-rate arsenal. President Biden and our Department of Defense, who were either too naive, or perhaps too fearful of angering our adversaries in Beijing, elected not to shoot the balloon down until it had already spent a week floating across the entire country conveniently flying over several military airbases and missile installations (not exactly typical of a ‘meteorological mission’).


Unfortunately, this is just the latest chapter in an all too familiar and pathetic display of American weakness. The uncomfortable truth, in regard to our position internationally, is that we appear more akin to a paper tiger than a firm projection of strength and resolve. The decline of the West’s influence appears to be exacerbated by the current political trajectories, the energy crisis, and the outsourcing of critical industry components thanks to unfair trade deals. 


Let us also recount that under our current administration, the withdrawal from Afghanistan was completely botched — for all the world to see. Gas prices remain at a seven year high, Mr. Biden’s restrictions on oil and natural gas producers simply enabled Russia’s monopoly of energy in Europe, and supply chain bottlenecks still continue to plague the United States — which has contributed to the inflation crisis. It would have been inconceivable to prior generations of Americans that the nation would be forced to import goods and services from other countries, such as Mexico and Russia, in order to solve a supply chain crisis — and yet, setting a new precedent, foreign shipments of baby formula arrived on American soil marking the end of Pax Americana.


It is no surprise that in the midst of all these crises, our adversaries are growing naturally more ambitious and cunning. Chinese president Xi Jinping cemented his foothold on the world’s most populous nation by shattering term limits and entering his third, with the communist politburo rallied firmly around his vision. Emboldened by his electoral success, Xi has begun to poke and prowl at American interests in the Pacific, threatening Taiwan, provoking the West with the Chinese Navy, and of course — the balloon. 


As if the stars could not be more perfectly aligned for the ‘Secretary General’ Mr. Jinping, a majority of the American weapons shipments sent to aid the brave Ukrainian resistance fighters happen to be originally intended for Taiwan, leaving the nation dangerously unequipped and almost abandoned by their protectors in Washington. To make matters worse for Taiwan, President Obama ended our famed ‘two war’ doctrine almost a decade ago, which stated that it was the goal of our armed forces to be capable of fighting a war in two different theatres of the world at once (think WWII).  


The Chinese have already doubled their efforts to rival the United States in all facets; entertainment, military, economic, and geopolitical. The Pentagon publishes an annual report on the Chinese military and recently estimated that China is on pace to have roughly 1500 nuclear warheads ready by 2035, while the United States and Russia remain limited to that exact number as per the terms of the New START treaty (that Russia has now decided to abandon). America simply does not have the arsenal, at the present time, to finance a war in Ukraine and wage one in Taiwan — and this raises a question: are we prepared for potential conflict with China? 


The obvious answer is no, and the reasons for this are quite plentiful. Our munitions production, stockpiles, and strategic oil reserves have been bled dry for the past few years. It is a shambolic display from Mr. Biden, that he would syphon from the Strategic Oil Reserve, typically saved for wartime emergencies, to attempt to sway gas prices ahead of his upcoming midterm elections. It is inexcusable for our Commander in Chief to engage in an attempt to save face while jeopardizing our national security interests. 


Even worse, is that the devious minds that dictate the doings of the military industrial complex seem only to have just awakened – by moving some manufacturing plants to the United States. Lockheed Martin remains completely backordered up to 2028, and despite incredible increases to our defence budget, our fighter repertoire remains pitifully outdated. The most common fighter in our arsenal, the F16, endured its first test flight under President Richard Nixon. It entered service under Jimmy Carter –  roughly around the same time Tom Brady was born. The navy has only four shipyards, perfect targets for a tactical nuclear device, and if these were taken out it would utterly destroy the naval production capacity of the United States for at least a decade. 


What made the United States unmatched in its rise to superpower status during WWII has quickly been eroded as a result of diminished manufacturing capacity and general apathy towards armament. Mr. Biden can continue to threaten a response to Chinese aggression, militarily, diplomatically, or economically, and yet the inconvenient truth for his administration remains that America is still recovering from supply shortages. This country is in for the rudest of awakenings if we believe that despite being plagued with empty grocery shelves for the last two years, we will be able to outproduce the world’s largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods. If Mr. Biden wants to keep poking the stick at the tiger, he had  better be prepared with some claws to fight back.