It would require a much larger military presence than it does now On the one

It would require a much larger military presence than

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become much more difficult for the United States. It would require a much larger military presence than it does now. On the one hand, it might become necessary for the United States to reinstate the draft (which would possibly meet with violent resistance from draftees, as it did during the Vietnam War). On the other hand, America’s all-volunteer army might find it had more than enough volunteers with the national unemployment rate in excess of 20 percent. The army might have to be employed to keep order at home, given that mass unemployment would inevitably lead to a sharp spike in crime. Only after the Middle East oil was secured would the country know how much more of its global military presence it could afford to maintain. If international trade had broken down, would there be any reason for the United States to keep a military presence in Asia when there was no obvious way to finance that presence? In a global depression, the U nited S tates’ allies in Asia would most likely be unwilling or unable to finance America’s military bases there or to pay for the upkeep of the U.S. Pacific fleet. Nor would the United States have the strength to force them to pay for U.S. protection. Retreat from Asia might become unavoidable. And Europe? What would a cost–benefit analysis conclude about the wisdom of the United States maintaining military bases there? What valued added does Europe provide to the United States? Necessity may mean Europe will have to defend itself . Should a New Great Depression put an end to the Pax Americana, the world would become a much more dangerous place . When the Great Depression began, Japan was the rising industrial power in Asia. It invaded Manchuria in 1931 and conquered much of the rest of Asia in the early 1940s. Would China, Asia’s new rising power, behave the same way in the event of a new global economic collapse? Possibly. China is the only nuclear power in Asia east of India (other than North Korea, which is largely a Chinese satellite state). However, in this disaster scenario, it is not certain that China would survive in its current configuration. Its economy would be in ruins. Most of its factories and banks would be closed. Unemployment could exceed 30 percent. There would most likely be starvation both in the cities and in the countryside. The Communist Party could lose its grip on power, in which case the country could break apart, as it has numerous times in the past. It was less than 100 years ago that China’s provinces, ruled by warlords, were at war with one another. United or divided, China’s nuclear arsenal would make it Asia’s undisputed superpower if the United States were to withdraw from the region. From Korea and Japan in the North to New Zealand in the South to Burma in the West, all of Asia would be at China’s mercy . And hunger among China’s population of 1.3 billion people could necessitate territorial expansion into Southeast Asia. In fact, the central government might not be able to prevent mass migration southward, even if it wanted to. In Europe, severe economic hardship would revive the centuries-old struggle
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