There is only one Economic Superpower
For globalisation to work, America must be the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. Facebook, Amazon and Twitter cannot flourish without McDonnell-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technology which is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
The US did not enter WW2 immediately, expecting a swift German victory. The US was deeply hostile to British Imperialism. The US emerged from WW2 as the economic victor with Germany divided, Japan occupied and the British Empire in terminal decline. The aftermath of war ensured politics and ideology were awarded pride of place in the conflict between capitalism and its enemies. The world was crying to be remade, instead it was to be destroyed starting with Korea, 1951-53; Vietnam 1945-75; Somalia 1991; Iraq 2003-2011 and Afghanistan 2021. The last three failed states courtesy of US military interference. China fought Vietnam after the US defeat in order to secure the US as their primary market for their manufactured goods.
The self sufficiency that characterised the US during WW2 came to an end. The US had to import oil. iron ore, bauxite, copper, manganese and nickel. The need for oil meant the US domination of parts of Latin America, the Middle East and Nigeria. Politics and economics became more intertwined. The interference in other countries was the simplest way to fight communism and protect the US economy. The US invaded 30 countries since 1945. The invasion of Panama and Grenada introduced US foreign policy to the world 'Send in the Marines'. The role of global policeman assumed by the US had a major impact domestically. All the defence monopolies were guaranteed automatic profit. The military industrial complex was established.
Vietnam's success in defeating the US encouraged liberation movements in Africa in particular Angola where Cuban regulars fought the South African Defence Force. Soviet supplied Cubans drove the SADF out of Angola. Meantime the US armed the Contras to make Nicaragua ungovernable. Gorbachev wanted to move from statism to social democracy, however he received no help from Ronald RayGun and Margaret NeutronBomb and so the Soviet Union failed and was revealed to have an economy the size of Belgium.
Culture, now proceeded to divide the world; Western, Japanese, Confucian, Islamic, Hindu, Slav-Orthodox, Latin American and African. Why? Only the West values 'individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty and the rule of law, democracy and free markets'. Islam is seen as the biggest threat because most of the world's oil is produced in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Add US military spending to NATO, Japan, South Korea and Israel then it represents 80% of the world total primarily to protect the US imperial legacy. There are 202 member states of the UN, there are US military bases in 100 of them.
Intolerance is not confined to Islam, the US is supersaturated with religion with 90% of the population believing in 'Gawd', 60% believe in angels. This is the world we live in, in contrast, to the lucid humanity and social compassion demanded by anti-globalisation protestors. 'Obliterate all political passions' cry the politicians of the globalised world - '700 intellectuals bow before an oil tanker'- Berthold Brecht.
There is a chronic mismatch between US Social Security legislation, dating back to the New Deal and the changing demographics of American society. At least 70 million baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will collect Social Security benefits followed 7 years later to collect Medicare benefits. By the time of their retirement the US will double the size of their elderly population but increase by only 15% the number of tax paying workers able to pay for their benefits.
This shortfall amounts to $45 trillion, (Gokhal and Smetters, Fiscal and Generational Imbalances, FDR Cleveland, 2002) which is 4x the country's annual output. America is sustained by inward investment from Asian countries buying US government bonds which support the US dollar. China and America are interdependent with a possible US dollar devaluation devastating East Asian banks. If China suffers deflation by the vagaries of American economic policy the future of the US dollar as the world's favourite currency will cease to be assured. Continued consuming on credit, reluctant to go to the front line, inclined to lose interest in protracted undertakings, does this reveals the US as a standing still giant?
All empires decline, the inevitable decline of the US will lead to a multi-polar world with countries vying for position as illustrated by George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984.
Source: The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, Tariq Ali, Verso, 2003