America is unprepared to fight a war on three fronts

The democratic world is sleepwalking once again towards military disaster

In our short-attention-span world, we seem to only be able to comprehend one war at a time. But our moment has thrown up conflicts across the globe: Israel versus Hamas, Russians versus Ukrainians, or Chinese democrats versus the Communist Party. But these disparate battles are in fact part of one whole – a struggle to dominate the future. Air Freight China

America is unprepared to fight a war on three fronts

The new wider war includes attempts by great powers, notably China, to secure natural resources by securing alliances with authoritarian regimes around the world. In exchange, China provides goods, including military items, to authoritarian regimes in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. 

This de-facto alliance, a modern version of the World War Two “pact of steel”, is truly global in scope. It extends from Ukraine to the shutting off of the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthis, and even Venezuelan plans to conquer much of oil-rich Guyana. Rather than Francis Fukuyama’s end of history, we are seeing Samuel Huntington’s bleak vision in his 2011 book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”.

The wider war pits on one side the revanchist powers – China, Russia, Islamist, Latin American and African countries – who feel they have been wronged by the West and liberal capitalism. On the other side are the West and non-European allies like Japan, South Korea and perhaps most importantly Modi-led India.

The West’s leaders, as in the 1930s, seem more interested in diplomatic maneuvering than confronting a real and present danger. They view the appeasement of Iran as pragmatic, but the creation of a trade deal with Great Britain as marginal. It’s not far from the mark to describe US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, as Tablet recently did, as “Neville Chamberlain with an iPad.”

The historical parallels are troubling. One has to doubt the West’s resolve not only in the Ukrainian and Israel-Hamas hot wars, but also in future conflicts: watch the US Navy respond to the Houthi attempts to shut down Red Sea shipping with meager half-measures. I shudder to think how pusillanimous the likely response to a potential future Chinese invasion of Taiwan, or further Russian steps to recover other parts of its lost empire, may be.  

Winning the wider war depends on three things – a strong industrial base, military preparedness, and internal morale. Right now, the West seems determined to weaken its manufacturing industries, for example through electric vehicle mandates which will help Beijing. The Middle Kingdom retains an almost monopoly position on the EV battery supply chain – 80 per cent of the world’s raw material refining, 77 per cent of the world’s cell capacity and 60 per cent of the world’s component manufacturing. They produce more than four times the batteries as the United States, and control critical raw materials required for manufacture. China is also cultivating emerging vassal states in Africa and Central Asia as well as Latin America to meet their resource demand.

China is well on its way towards becoming the leading global superpower by 2050, regardless of internal challenges like youth unemployment and a distended demographic pyramid. Since the 1960s, the US and the EU have seen their share of value-added manufacturing drop from 65 per cent to barely half that today. Climate policies are a gift that keeps giving as Westerners struggle with unreliable renewables, while China goes on a coal-plant building spree and emits more greenhouse gases than all developed countries put together.    

Western defenses are an even greater concern. The humiliating retreat of the US from Afghanistan emboldened both China and Russia. Europe’s militaries are pathetic and becoming even more so. The UK, with Europe’s strongest military, has only 150 tanks while Germany has enough ammunition for two days of battle. Even the US is having trouble keeping its allies supplied. A recent study by Cynthia Cook of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies found that even before the Hamas attack, the need to supply Ukraine with weapons “triggered concerns as to whether there are sufficient residual inventories for training and to execute war plans”. 

Many US military goods are now produced in China. This dependence could worsen if China chooses to invade Taiwan, a country many American industries count on for key components. One Taiwanese company, TSMC, supplies Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, AMD and Nvidia, among other “Big Tech” corporations. It also produces the semiconductors used in F-35 fighter jets.   

The Western world’s material issues provide enough of a challenge. But our spiritual degradation may prove fatal. Many young people in Europe and America have been primed, sometimes from grade school, to follow the essentially anti-Western “oppressor” and “colonialist” narrative. A  recent report from the Future of Democracy at the University of Cambridge, found support for democracy in the West falling most among 18–34-year-olds.  

America is unprepared to fight a war on three fronts

China Shipping Company List The democratic world is sleepwalking towards disaster yet again. Just as we need them most, it’s nigh-on impossible to find anyone in the West who resembles Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman or even Nixon or Reagan. The EU bureaucracy certainly is no substitute for De Gaulle. The West cannot win, or even stay relevant, in the “clash of civilisations” if it does not believe in itself, and continues to neglect the physical means to protect its interests.