Alexandre Adler, whom we would listen to for long hours without the slightest weariness, evaporated in the course of his words, thought and fascinating projections… takes us beyond time and borders to bring us his vision of the geopolitical outlook regarding the United States.
In his opinion, America, in front of the difficulties it is currently experiencing, is capable of questioning itself again and again. It is a nation of engineers that still remains, as far as technology is concerned, capable of inventing and, from the political point of view, replacing a ruling base that would not do the trick. None of the foundations of the American power is really broached in a decisive way. It still possesses today a considerable technological advantage, a tangible demographic dynamic plus a unified political and financial power with trained elites. Even the military instrument proved to be less bad than we could have feared, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq where America, stands out at last from these matters, generally in trouble indeed, but not defeated militarily speaking, as it could have been in Vietnam.
But the United States no longer have the resources of the worldwide power such as they had designed it before. The weight of the military commitments, of their infrastructures, are simply unbearable for a country in which the various and varied commitments of the domestic policy exclude the idea that America be transformed into a war economy. It would be the only one to do so anyway, as China rejects this strategy. China is carrying out an asymmetric defense. The Chinese are interested in whatever is likely to save money regarding defense, for example the fight against the hackers or the planting of missiles based on earth in order to forbid certain vessels from coming too close to their coasts. According to Alexandre Adler, America realizes that it no longer has the means – with the current budget deficits – to keep up this army. Moreover, the frank cuttings have begun and this is just a beginning. In fact with a limited military budget, America is also obliged to think of a weaker strategic role. And then a reason probably stronger of this American mutation is that after the death of Oussama Ben Laden, which is also the other big symbol of the year 2011 with its loss of the triple A, America no longer has a major opponent. This statement may appear particularly questionable because today we are within an ace of a “shooting war” with Iran, a threat on the Straits of Hormuz and a democratic revolution in the Arab world which turns to be the Islamic revolution. But even if that causes a lot of opponents, one must not trust the appearances, America has lost all of its major opponents.
Therefore, China may certainly become a major power before the United States, but the United States do not have the military resources to stop it as this is based on its productivity, its domestic market, some durable factors, and not on a particularly aggressive military policy. India can be concerned about the Chinese military power, but for the United States, this is not a key priority. The end of North Korea which will happen, according to Alexander Adler, more quickly than expected, will eliminate the last factor of real military disruption in Asia. There remains the Middle East that reposes on a powder magazine along with explosive contradictions, except that it all resembles not a stabilization, but a deep transformation of the very bases of the situation. One thing is sure: the Islamic fundamentalism that is taking over the power on an important part of the Arabic world and probably in Pakistan is not an Islamic fundamentalism that offers itself the United States as its main opponent. Today, the objective of the Islamic fundamentalists’ forces is to reduce the power of Bashar al-Assad, as he is the ally of the Iranians. So, according to Alexandre Adler, the Americans do not wish to put the Middle East to fire and blood. Saudi Arabia, with king Abdullah’s retirement due to health problems, equally evolves towards a way back to its fundamental Islamists. Pakistan is witnessing the end of the Bhutto dynasty. The king of Morocco who is a strong ally of the West took an Islamist Prime Minister. Tunisia is now ruled by the Islamists… Today, the Americans do not necessarily like the Islamists, but they no longer perceive them as strategic opponents, all the more that the Muslim Brothers are today strongly opposed to an Iranian hegemony based on the passage of Iran to the nuclear stage.
So, today, if the Egyptian Muslim Brothers adopt a moderate code of conduct, if the Iranian crisis finds a solution without a generalized conflict, there is no more threat that allows a President of the United States to display a military arsenal guaranteeing democracies. America rediscovers then isolationism in order to concentrate on its recovery.