Right or wrong, for good or bad, the United States is losing it’s status as pre-eminent global power-projector. One-part internal rot and one part failed excursions afforded the rise of a series of emergent forces, state and non-state alike. Pax Americana fading, the stunted nationlooks to make herself great again — indeed President Trump has said as much.
And emerging heavy–weight (China, Russia, India) and middle–weight (Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil) nations, increasingly belligerent, defy the status quo like no time since before the Peace of Westphalia; each delineating their version of how the world should look.
Hurtling headlong into a novel multipolarity brings many an incident and altercation to bear. How we manoeuvre through and around these interchanges will shape the Kingdom to come. One expects rather division of the globe into regions, each with a dominant power — the United States in the Americas, China in Asia, Russia in Eurasia, Israel in the Middle East, etc.
Much of this world order will be determined by how the waning empire reacts to new challengers; how new challengers bridge-up to imperial authority. To that end it seems likely America will bear some of the coming insult, relegating her to regional power status rather than the retention of global hegemony.
How might that happen to an otherwise universally formidable nation? Two immediate responses come to mind: economic and military. But the former rests heavily on the latter such that military power determines the ultimate outcome. (Of course one cannot have military power without economic success. The two are interwoven). How then might American military authority be challenged?
The nuclear threat against America, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, stands large before us. No longer something to be dismissed out of hand, for the first time in living memory many Americans ought genuinely to consider contingency plans against a nuclear strike scenario. Indeed both coasts—centred in New York and LA—emerge prime as targets.
In spite of news that should assuage our fears¹, we recall 1 Thessalonians 5:3:
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
John Bolton thinks North Korea is trying to “sucker the U.S. into relaxing sanctions”:
The only thing they’re trying to do is get us to abandon the pressure that we’re putting on them and hopefully forswear the possible use of military force, which nobody wants but nobody wants North Korea with nuclear weapons, either. That’s what this is about.³
That sounds not too far off the mark. But, in responding to the North Korean nuclear threat, the U.S is running out of options. As powerful as the U.S. is—and it is powerful—it is by no means impenetrable :
The US has a total of 44 interceptors stationed in Alaska and California that could be used if North Korea shot at America, experts tell me. In May, the US had its biggest success yet when it tested the missile defense system under realistic conditions: Rockets launched from California destroyed the incoming mock ICBM in midair.
While much of biblical eschatology is written in the style of a synecdoche—”global” references pointing rather to the epicentre of Israel, and the surrounding Middle East—one cannot escape the reality of reverberations across the globe. As part of the Armageddon Protocol, a nuclear strike on America—indeed within the space of a couple of years—is not out of the question.
Don’t be alarmist: sure. Be optimistic? Great. But also be realistic. Residents’ contingency plans should be considered.