• m-theory
    1.1k
    I am inviting you to speculate on what impact it would have on global politics if the United States did not exist?
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Why my favorite Bolshevik paints store, of course!
  • m-theory
    1.1k

    If I interpreted from your post that you intend to imply that if the US did not exist some other power would emerge to exert similar influence over global politics, would you say I understand the point you wanted to make?
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    "Did not exist" means "ceased to exist" or "never existed in the first place"?

    If "never existed in the first place", then

    The history of the British empire would have been different -- it would be much enlarged. the B.E. would have had a much larger share of the great soil and mineral resources located in the North American colonies. Assuming that the B.E. expanded elsewhere as it did, it would have been much more powerful in the 20th century -- perhaps sufficiently powerful to suppress Germany--avoiding WWI and WWII.

    On the other hand, whether the American Colonies under B.E. management would have been as successful in exploiting the resources is hard to say. How industrialized would the American Colonies have become? It doesn't seem like it would make sense to haul Mesabi range iron ore and Appalachian coal all the way to England to be smelted and made into finished goods. Perhaps the B.E. would have spun cotton into cloth in the southern American Colonies. Perhaps not.

    The French Revolution would probably have occurred anyway. The B.E. might not have been able to prevent the Russian Revolution. Whether France would have sold it's large swath of North America to the B.E. is hard to say. The B.E. would probably have just taken it in due time.

    The Native Americans might have fared better. Maybe, maybe not. Mexico might have preserved its northern territories.

    We would be living under Pax Brittanica rather than the Pax Americana. Britain wasn't all that kind to its colonies, and it might not have been all that kind to its North American colonies.

    Brexit would be something the Europeans were thinking of, rather than the other way around.

    Queen Elizabeth would still have grown old on the throne, if the whole waste of the royal rat trap hadn't been thrown out by now.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    M-theory, I'm surprised you didn't catch that... SWP. Socialist Workers Party -- the Trotskyists.
  • m-theory
    1.1k

    I am trying to imagine how the world would be different without a ww1 and 2.
    Didn't these two wars lead to a lot of technological progress?
  • Banno
    17.8k
    The French Revolution would probably have occurred anyway. The B.E. might not have been able to prevent the Russian Revolution. Whether France would have sold it's large swath of North America to the B.E. is hard to say. The B.E. would probably have just taken it in due time.Bitter Crank

    The Brits, with the added resources of the US, would have invaded France, either to put down the revolution or to suppress the Corsican upstart. North America from Florida up would be British. In response to Britannia, Germany might have been united earlier, or there may have been a larger Prussian empire; Spain might well have become a world power again.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    I am trying to imagine how the world would be different without a ww1 and 2.
    Didn't these two wars lead to a lot of technological progress
    m-theory

    You are probably thinking of stuff like... developing the several technologies invented or ramped up to manufacture two kinds of atomic weapons, computational devices to speed up decoding German codes and to calculate artillery trajectories, antibiotics, radar, poison gases (like ricin, mustard gas, Zyklon B and other fine products), the jet engine, ballistic missiles...

    War was the occasion to press on diligently where peace was not quite so pressing. All of these things could have happened without either war, just as Teflon (non-stick pans) didn't require a moon-shot or digital photography (invented to solve the problem of retrieving photographs from spy satellites) didn't require the cold war.

    Dynamite and TNT were invented quite apart from warfare. Nitroglycerin was invented in the 1840s as a headache remedy and TNT was first a yellow dye -- not too warlike. Figuring out how to make "dynamite" was Nobel's achievement.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    The United States didn't amount to much when the French Revolution happened and Napoleon got going. In our two-bit war of 1812 (while Napoleon at the gates of Moscow) we were lucky we didn't become a B.E. possession again.

    Ahh, Spain... Why and how would Spain have become a world power again? I can't remember... was Spain's throne still part of the Hapsburg Family Holdings at the time of Napoleon?
  • m-theory
    1.1k
    Good points.
    I suppose you are right competition itself would continue to drive technological progress even if warfare was not there for motivation.
    At least it did with the cold war, even though the technology was not being used for warfare there was still a pressing drive to not fall behind less it come to warfare.

    I wonder about the other option you mentioned.
    What if the US ceased to exist, suppose the bottom just fell out on the economy and there was no reset button.
    Do you think it would drag the rest of the world down with it, or would some other actor step in and assume the role of superpower?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    An even shittier place.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    What if the US ceased to exist, suppose the bottom just fell out on the economy and there was no reset button.
    Do you think it would drag the rest of the world down with it, or would some other actor step in and assume the role of superpower?
    m-theory

    It's difficult to imagine conditions that would flat-out bankrupt the United States and not torpedo the rest of the world economy at the same time.

    But, suppose such a thing happened...

    The world would lose a major food supplier (corn, wheat, soybeans, meat, etc.)

    The U.S. is the largest importer, just a little ahead of the European Union. If the US went belly up, the world would lose a 2.3 trillion dollar customer. We all import around $18 trillion, so losing the US share of buying wouldn't be the end of the world economy, from that perspective, but it would definitely be noticed.

    The world would lose its biggest arms supplier -- which might or might not be a good thing, depending. No doubt the slack would be taken up quickly.

    The US has been a consistent and long time innovator, but the rest of the world is perfectly capable of coming up with bright ideas. Given enough money, at least a moderate level of freedom, and ideas will start bubbling up.

    The world would lose a great deal of pollution.

    Europe, India, China, Brasil, Israel, South Africa, and some other small countries have capable people who can create new things.
  • m-theory
    1.1k

    The reason I posed the question is because I saw an interview with Milo Yiannopoulos and he basically said thank god for the US because the world would be extremely unstable without the US in the role of world police.
    But I don't know if that should necessarily be true and if it should be true why.
    Thought I would get some other opinions on it, so yeah thanks for responding to the question.

    If you care to maybe you could offer your opinion on that particular point.
    Does the US make the world more politically stable such that without the US there would be more war and overall oppression of the world population?

    Of course if you are tired of carrying the conversation that is fine you don't have to respond to that question and I still appreciate you sharing your thoughts so far.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    Maybe your doomsday scenario (of the US going flat out broke) will be rehearsed in what's left of the United Kingdom after Scotland, Northern Island, Wales, Cornwall, and SE England leave.

    It has become necessary to ration eggplants and zucchinis, aubergines and courgettes over there, because of bad weather. But it's a foretaste of things to come.

    They are also rationing iceberg lettuce. Oddly enough, the "iceberg" lettuce were spoiled by being frozen. You would think that would be good for iceberg lettuce, but it's not. There is no need to eat iceberg lettuce anyway. It doesn't taste all that great and it's not very nutritious. Eat more Kale. Kale tastes just as bad as iceberg lettuce, it's more frost resistant, and it's notoriously nutritious.

    I move we do away with both kale and quinoa.
  • m-theory
    1.1k

    Never had kale but I like iceberg lettuce, especially on sandwiches, so if kale is just as bad maybe I should try it.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    Does the US make the world more politically stable such that without the US there would be more war and overall oppression of the world population?m-theory

    In the world that has existed since... what, the 1600s? 1700s? there have been enough reasonably large national powers that having a dominant power has (perhaps) been useful. The British, French, Spanish, Russians, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Austrians, Portuguese, Arabs, Indians, etc. have all had competing and not entirely compatible interests. It seems like it has been useful to have a sufficiently dominant power to mediate, restrain, and stomp on, if necessary.

    The United States was not always this player. It used to be the British Empire. We will not always play this role, and my guess is that China will take over. China will probably not be any worse than us, though they will certainly have different policy preferences. It just doesn't seem possible that a country with a billion plus people, a large dynamic economy, and something of a command economy won't eventually wish to be top cop.

    Be sure to take this with several grains of salt.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    If you're going to get adventurous, try romaine long before you try kale.
  • m-theory
    1.1k

    I think I agree with this view and thanks again for carrying my thread.

    Milo did concede that others would assume the role but he said it would be less stable for the world and more of a threat to democracy.
    He did not explain why that should be so and I was hoping to here some one flush that point out.

    Maybe some one else can come along and speak to that point by Milo.
  • Chany
    352
    Historical speculation on alternate histories beyond very immediate and obvious effects carries approximately the same weight as my friends and I arguing over which comic book character would win in a fight. In fact, the predictions about fighting comic book characters would probably be more accurate as there is a much more tightly controlled environment within fiction than in reality.

    We cannot say to any degree of certainty that democracy would be worse or better off or that the world would be more or less stable because we have no way of knowing how global history would have played out. Going into the 20th century, the U.S. started playing a major role in global affairs. We cannot even speculate whether Britian would be able to supress Germany in WW1 or WW2 because the world landscape would be so different. Take, for instance, whether the world would be overrun by Marxists. There might not habe even been Marxists because Marx might not even have been born, his would-be grandfather killed by a German whose family would have normally moved to the U.S.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    I don't think anybody had suggested that you should either buy or sell stock on the basis of this thread, but like you and your comic-book-buddies, it is amusing to think about "what if" scenarios.
  • Wosret
    3.4k
    It would be a shorter drive to Mexico.
  • Chany
    352


    Perhaps I should note that there is nothing wrong with doing historical speculation. I was more replying towards people like @m-theory brought up, who make claims about how things would have been better or worse if event x had not happened.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.9k
    Right. There is "no course of history" to alter. The "course" of history wanders all over the place all the time.
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