The U.S. is without a doubt the most powerful country in the world, and if you look at the size of the U.S. economy, it is way ahead of the rest of the world. For example, Japan’s economy is worth 4.9 trillion dollars, while the U.S. economy is worth over 20 times that amount. China’s economy is worth 17.7 trillion dollars, but the US is so far ahead that its 22.99 trillion-dollar economy is bigger than both of these economies put together. The US military budget is so huge that it’s more than the military budgets of the next nine countries put together. And most importantly, America’s Army is so strong now that it protects more than 65 countries and has 700 bases all over the world. How did a single country become so rich and powerful? What was the geopolitical strategy that made them so successful?
At the same time, the British Empire was falling apart. Finally, what can you read to help you understand what power means in the world of geopolitics?
This story goes back to the 1940s, and by then, three things had happened. First, World War I had happened, and all of the major Empires had put all of their resources into fighting. Second, the British Empire’s debt went from 0.62 billion pounds in 1913 to 7.8 billion pounds in 1930, which is from 25 percent of its GDP to 130 percent of its GDP. Third, just like the British Empire, all of the other Empires were fighting against each other. The United States did not join the war until it was almost over. Before that, it was more of a war merchant than a war participant. This means that all of the big empires were fighting and putting all of their people and resources into war. The US put all of its money and people into becoming a major supplier of cotton, wheat, brass, rubber, cars, machinery, and many other goods. As a result, the US had one of the biggest economic booms in the world. From just $2.4 billion in 1930 to $6.2 billion in 1917, the value of all U.S. exports went up. Also, the export of metals, machines, and cars went from 480 million dollars in 1913 to $1.6 billion in 1916. The same thing happened with food exports, which went from 190 million to 510 million dollars. During World War II, the GDP per person in most other countries fell sharply, while the GDP per person in the U.S. went up sharply. Crossing $10,000 per person because, once again, they were War Merchants until the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the war wasn’t fought on their land. All in all, they made money off of two of the most expensive wars in history by making a business out of them.
The U.S. made so much money that when the rest of the world’s economies collapsed, it had 75 percent of the world’s free gold. Its gold reserves went from just 2,000 tonnes in 1910 to almost 20,000 tonnes in 1914. Does this mean that the U.S. became a superpower because of gold? No, not really. The money that the U.S. made was used to pay for some very important strategies, and these strategies turned the U.S. into a superpower.
Three things make a country very powerful. The first is how much other countries depend on you for their resources. The second is how little you depend on other countries for your most important resources. Finally, if there is a military conflict, what alliances will go to war with you and make you the strongest contender?
First of all, the US built the most powerful military in the world with the most advanced technology ever seen by humans. With this military power, they made the rest of the world very dependent on their military protection. It might surprise you to learn that the US has 750 military bases in 80 countries and territories around the world. No other country in history has had such a strong presence in the world.
The first kind of base they set up was in places like Germany, Japan, and Italy. They had lost the World War, and the United States was there to protect them and stop another uprising, so Japan became their foothold in Asia. Germany acted as a foothold in Europe, and Italy did the same thing in the Mediterranean Sea. On top of that, the U.S. and other countries set up the IMF and World Bank so that they could lend money to other countries around the world and have an economic hold on those countries.
Second, they set up military bases in places like Afghanistan, saying it was to stop terrorism, but in reality, it was to keep the Soviets and other powers from taking control.
Third, it seemed like the CIA intelligence had such a strong grip on the potentially Rich Nations that they could get rid of a leader they didn’t like and replace them with one who would follow U.S. rules. This is why they were able to get rid of Muhammad Musa: he was about to take over Iran’s oil industry. If he did that, he could get oil worth billions of dollars and sell weapons worth billions of dollars to the new government.
Fourth, they kept China from taking over countries like Taiwan so that another superpower wouldn’t take over. In this case, China would control the semiconductor industry and the natural resources in the South China Sea if it took over Taiwan.
So, by protecting key points, they were able to stop rival powers from growing and taking control, and it also helped them export. The US was wealthy enough to be able to lend money to small businesses and help them grow. This is where the idea of the “America’s Dream” came from, which says that no matter your age, gender, caste, creed, or race, you can achieve your goals.
If you have the right business sense, the U.S. economy will make you a legend. If you look at how things turned out, you’ll see that this was true. Businesses in the U.S. did so well that the country became the biggest exporter of food, beverages, crude oil, civilian aircraft, and aircraft engines. Even now, it is the world’s center for technology. This was the first part of what made the U.S. a superpower: economic influence outside the U.S. and economic growth inside the U.S. The second part is how much the U.S. depends on the rest of the world for its resources and how it protects itself from those risks.
First of all, countries like Taiwan and Saudi Arabia get security from the U.S., so their dependence on the U.S. is almost like a barter. In 1945, Franklin Roosevelt met with the Saudi king, and while the U.S. promised to keep the Saudis safe, the Saudis agreed to sell oil in US dollars. So, everyone still has U.S. dollars because they can be used to buy oil, the most valuable good of the last 100 years.
Second, as it has grown its military, the United States has done a great job of putting its bases near some of the most important places on the map. The strategic placement of U.S. military bases around the world is a good example of the same thing. The Indian Ocean is the most important part of the world because 80% of all maritime trade goes through just three narrow choke points. The Strait of Hormuz, the state of Malacca, and the Strait of Babel-Mandeep are the names of these places.
We call these places “choke points” because if you block them, a lot of world trade will stop. If you look at where they are, you’ll see that the state of homage is a straight line between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Women. The state of Malacca is this spot between the Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. Between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti, and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, there is a straight line called the Babel Mandeep.
This trade connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Eden. Besides these three choke points, there are four more: the Mozambique Channel, the Swiss Canal, the Sunda Strait, and Lombok Street. If you look at where American military bases are located, you will see that they are all very close to each other.
One of these choke points is the Strait of Hummers. To establish control over the Strait of Babel Munde and the Swiss Canal, the US has military bases in Baron. The U.S. has a base in Djibouti and, more importantly, one of the most important allies in the area in the form of Mighty Israel. They also have bases in Greece and Turkey, as well as an air base in Greece, to take advantage of the state of Malacca Sundar State in the state of Lombok.
The U.S. has a base in Singapore, and if you look closely at the details of where the U.S. has bases, you’ll see that it also has a base in Diego Garcia near the Mozambique Channel. This is how the U.S. keeps an eye on the most important trade routes so that it can use its military power to stop rivals from trading. Because of this, the world depends more on the United States for defense than the United States depends on the world.
The third point is about strategic alliances during times of war. In 1949, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were among the 12 countries that helped start NATO. Norway, Portugal, and the UK. And the US did this mostly to counter the growing power of the Soviet Union. The basic rule of NATO is that if one of the NATO countries is attacked, all the other NATO countries are supposed to send their military to protect that country.
They made the United Nations, which has 193 member states. The United States is still the biggest donor to the UN in 2020. It gave more than 11 billion dollars, which was 20 percent of the UN’s annual budget. Because of this, the UN can put sanctions on countries that the U.S. doesn’t like very easily.
Lastly, we have the dollarization of the world. This is done by making money off of two of the most expensive wars in world history, by using its resources to build the most powerful military bases in the world, by using its military resources to get access to the most valuable resources in the world, and by taking control of the most important choke points in the world.
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