In his 1863 Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” In another speech–Lyceum 1838– he emphasized that, given its size and geographical location far from foreign powers, the United States (very much similar to China’s privileged status today) could not be conquered from abroad but only from within. To preserve national unity and harmony, the sensible choice was to work together towards a common beneficial goal or to die by suicide from rebellious forces within its boundaries.
To paraphrase the biblical verse: “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword”(Matthew 26:52), we could say in a different manner: the country that willingly betrays its foundational principles in favor of false tenets will in time see the very nature of its society collapse. In the same context, Polonius, counselor to the king, tells Hamlet in Shakespeare’s drama: “To thine own self be true.”
That is an accepted axiom of political longevity. Human communities are subject to varying means of governance as well as the laws of physics (entropy). We are given birth (Declaration of Independence, 1776; Constitution in 1787), we reach an age of maturity and greatness, and then, in temporal segments since the War in Vietnam, we descend into senescence and eventual extinction as a dominant power. This is the pattern that major countries throughout history have followed.
According to historians and modern-day pundits (Cal Thomas, Martin Armstrong, John Glover and others), all empires or major political powers are condemned to a pre-ordained death cycle within 250 years of their onset. There are in the ancient world, notable exceptions: Persia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Carthage, et al. that survived longer.
America, in 2026 will be 250 years old (dating from the Declaration of Independence, 1776). There are many objections by historians to this time line of self-destruction—although Lincoln rightly predicted that our downfall would come from within the country and not from hostile foreign powers.
The Greek, Roman, Persian, and Egyptian empires have long since passed away into historical oblivion. Modern-day France (born in 1789 with the French Revolution) is a pale relic of the Napoleonic domination of Europe in the early nineteenth century. The prestige and economic prosperity it once enjoyed from its now defunct world-wide empire can no longer justify its aspirations to be a global power.
We are now, some 246 years after our birth as a nation, in a period of senescence. To the extent that we never sought international dominance, we are poorly situated to maintain our role as the world’s most powerful country in foreign and economic affairs.
Democracy is also a tired and fragile system of government; autocracy and oligarchy are becoming more and more attractive to the modern politician.
Centralized government lets you bypass the will of the people; it permits leaders to resolve complicated issues without having to seek the approval of the common weal. Dogmatism of this sort promotes single-party rule with its unfortunate consequences, as history has demonstrated time and again.
So the physicists say, our universe is condemned to extinction in the far, far distant future; if this is true and the earth’s immediate existence is compromised by global warming and other man-made abuses, we need to find alternative ways to escape the threat of planetary decline as predicted by scientists.
Our sacrificial attempts to purify the planet are mocked by foreign powers that pollute at will (China and India in particular with almost 2.7 billion inhabitants collectively) in an effort to pursue economic prosperity and political hegemony for their vast populations.
In Africa, animal species are disappearing as poor nations grant poachers free access to their sanctuaries to hunt elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns. Brazil does little to prosecute or deter farmers from destroying trees to create arable land in the Amazon.
We need to view interstellar space as the new frontier—a pathway to the stars or planets such as Mars where human communities can be created as an escape venue from the inevitable dying of our planet. It might be interesting to speculate about what Planet Earth will become one hundred or more years from now as millions of settlers leave our sphere to resettle on Mars—the new Wild West.
Will wars among the surviving countries on Earth be so devastating that life itself will be compromised? Will nations, in a desperate effort to preserve their viability, make peace or at least sign a truce, putting aside highly destructive weaponry for the sake of survival?
Unfortunately, we are genetic victims of our origins more than a million years ago. Waging war to preserve existence and national (or tribal) safety is engrained in our psychological nature. The military-industrial complex promotes international conflicts to keep its industries profitable. No era in human history has been without disastrous warfare and conflict. The future will not be an era of Pax Americana.
The military hierarchy rewards those who have served valiantly in combat. Without war, the officer corps becomes restless, knowing full well that only on the battle field could their promotions in rank be assured.
Intelligence agencies and law enforcement are being weaponized against dissenters. Democracy or a representative form of government is now an inconvenience more than a necessity.
Talk shows, movies, and media programs are rife with discussions about how slow and inept true democratic procedures are. In the eyes of current administrations, getting quick answers to thorny questions is more important than obtaining accurate results without rushing to conclusions.
The sanctuary cities and states (California) that welcome illegal immigrants act in willful contravention of federal laws. No one in Congress will impose legal sanctions on these “blue” states or cities.
What if America, overwhelmed by millions of unvetted immigrants, abandons its traditions and becomes a compilation of warring tribes and ethnic groups? As Lincoln predicted, suicide from inside will surely be a reality within a few decades.
America will continue to be a privileged geographical location, a massive presence in the Western world, but how can it once again become a player in the Eastern hemisphere? China is now the dominant force throughout this region. Any attempt to limit its military expansion within its sphere of influence would be met with strong resistance.
We are in a tenuous situation financially. The dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. However, according to current trends, China will eventually replace us as the major economic force in the world; as a result, they will demand that a basket of currencies, not the dollar, become the currency of world exchange. This assault on the American dollar, once it is replaced or no longer enjoys its privileged status, will have a disastrous effect on our economy. It will shift the equilibrium of political power throughout the world.
More than thirty trillion dollars in debt, the American economy cannot sustain its current rate of spending and the massive acquisition of debt. In due time, its bonds will be marketed at a discount. Social programs will not be able to be adequately funded; military expenditures will be reduced, economic incentives will be curtailed, etc. The long-anticipated recession will occur and Americans of all stripes will struggle to adjust their lifestyles.
An increasing percentage of the national debt will be interest payments to foreign investors, in particular to countries that have regularly acquired our debt: Canada, Great Britain, China, and Japan.
None of the current spending programs will be implemented effectively with a corresponding lack of adequate funding. The Treasury cannot keep on printing money (“funny money”) in an inflationary period. But it does.
Sooner or later, the national debt will bring about a collapse of our economic safety net: the belief in the so-called unshakeable strength and durability of the American economy.
The uninhibited allocation of recent funds (the “Inflation Reduction Act”) and student loan forgiveness strain the imagination. Much of the money set aside for infrastructure initiatives goes to programs that have nothing to do with roads or bridges.
For example, to encourage the purchase of more electric vehicles, the government has proposed offering a generous subsidy to consumers (~$7,500). It has been reported that car manufacturers will then raise the price of their vehicles in keeping with the amount of the buyer’s subsidy, thus indirectly rewarding manufacturers to produce more electric cars at very high prices, especially compared to comparable gas-powered vehicles.
As stated above, the growth of the Asian population in America, especially Chinese, will provide a fifth column of sorts to undermine American scientific achievements and eventually its world dominance in computer and technological innovation.
The Chinese are aggressively purchasing vast tracts of land for agricultural products and investing in American corporations that serve an economic or political purpose. G-5 and Tic-Toc are prime examples of this incursion. They have also invested in South American countries (Venezuela and others) in an effort to spread their influence throughout the world. The Chinese have heavily invested in Canada, Africa, and Mexico as well.
While we are obsessed with feminism, critical race theory, and woke-dominated issues, the Chinese are methodically implementing their long-term plan of global domination. We are not equipped to fight a land war in Asia, and our Navy is inferior to its Chinese counterpart.
We do not have a coherent plan of action if China invades Taiwan or attempts to take over some of the neighboring islands. The power vacuum created by weakness is always exploited in a political and military context.
All in all, there is nothing new in these comments. President Biden is compromised by his family’s connection with Chinese business interests (via his son Hunter and his brother). He is not respected in Asia. If Japan perceives it cannot be protected by American military power, it will seek other means of defense in acquiring atomic weapons and rapidly expanding its military capabilities. They will be tempted to enter into alliances with other major players in the Far Eastern zone to protect their interests.
If America does not show resolve to intervene on their behalf against Chinese aggression, Japan may demand that American troops be withdrawn from their territory. South Korea may follow a similar path of autonomy if the United States doesn’t express the will to protect its peninsula from military threats from the Chinese and North Koreans.
A destabilized Far East will not bode well for American influence in the area. It is foreseeable that major global corporations will side with the Chinese to preserve their massive economic presence on the Chinese mainland. American stockholders, for the most part, will remain silent and not challenge corporations who portray the Chinese as reasonable and sensible business partners.
If he could survey the current ruptures in the American political scene, Abraham Lincoln would be appalled by the tribalism and identity politics that have severely divided our nation. The coastal elites and the bureaucrats in the “Washington Swamp” are more and more convinced that the barriers of our Constitutional Republic can be breached with little or no opposition. We are entering by all measures a post-Constitutional phase of our governance.
Unless there is a political renaissance in the Republican Party, the Democrats will continue to exert an inordinate influence in the restructuring of America’s destiny. The more conservative enclaves in the South and mid-West will be displaced or repressed by regulations and laws that go against their interests.
How long will the “forgotten” millions who supported Trump stay silent?
Revolutions seldom come from frustrated and enraged workers or lower middle-class malcontents, but from those in positions of power who see their influence blocked or bypassed by political entities that work to enhance their own quest for power.
America’s decline, both globally and domestically, will be the subject of major concerns in the decades to come. Are we now on the cusp of a national and international fall from power as dictated by historical norms or can this trend be offset by a new policy of returning to the democratic principles of the past that were so successful in holding our nation together?
In the long run, what would Abraham Lincoln have said?
Could he have restored unity without a Civil War or military suppression of dissenting voices?