By Edmond Pope and Kerry Patton
For decades, it was expected that global nuclear war would decide the fate of the Soviet Union and the US—this was the Cold War. Tensions were high as both nations competed in the nuclear arms race.
Who would have ever expected the truest of wars between today’s Russia and the United States would not be one of nuclear might. but one that has evolved into an all-out economic debacle?
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, we now know that Moscow would likely have utilized not only a nuclear arsenal along with conventional military might, but also various new strains of biological weapons secretly developed and stored in violation of an international treaty agreed to in the 1970s.
Soviet scientists had engineered several biological agents highly resistant to any known antidotes, and such an attack would have resulted in far more devastating results than a mere nuclear exchange.
Dirty bombs would have been released deep inside the US homeland, key infrastructure would have been destroyed by means of sabotage, and manmade disease induced by biological weapons would have run rampant. The Cold War would have been the epitome of all-out war if it had happened.
These strikes would have been nothing though. Did we ever hear a chorus indicating that it might be economic collapse or moral apathy that could spell the end?
The Soviet Union literally came apart because of economic malfeasance. This is truly how the United States evaded an all-out war against the former Soviet Union. We defeated them economically.
A closed society in today’s world cannot remain economically competitive or militarily strong under such conditions. In hindsight, it appears that the financial and administrative decline took close to 20 years to spell the end.
Soviet leaders essentially served as the living example for Thomas Friedman’s definition of what not to do in his definition of globalization, while at the same time committing an estimated 30 to 40 percent of their GDP to the military.
China, on the other hand, has astutely modified the economy to a mix that includes a globally competitive state with internal state socialism that exploits the peoples’ labor and talent to the advantage of the state.
The Chinese model is facing increased pressure as the populace grows restless with their meager rewards. Only time will tell if the PRC can survive.
Can radical change and economic collapse come to our own shores? The simple answer is that such an outlook is inevitable if we do not provide the national leadership to effectively manage our economy.
At present, our national debt is a threat that can no longer be ignored. As we watch various EU nations suffer the negative consequences of deficit spending, we ignore the very real threat our own economy is facing.
We have grown complacent on the backs of our military and industrial successes during WWII and the subsequent years.
Our significantly increased outlays to various entitlement programs must be modified if we are to survive and maintain a prosperous middle class--otherwise we might end up like the old Soviet proverb. We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.
Further cuts in our military budget, currently accounting for approximately 5 percent of US GDP, could not account for the deficits even if we zeroed our DoD budget.
Current administration leaders are on the wrong track. Their “solutions” have not worked. In fact, the organizer-in-chief and his ilk have merely pushed us closer to what has happened in Russia—along with Argentina, Greece, Spain, Italy, others.
There are certainly many differences in our underlying economy and government from that of the former Soviet Union. However, the consequences of ignoring the growing deficit will give us something in common with the Soviet Union--a grim chapter in the history books and a very serious reduction in our standard of living.
Related at The US Report
About the authors
Edmond Pope, a retired US Navy Captain, has written the book TORPEDOED about his imprisonment in Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the year 2000 and has written numerous articles as well of a geo-political nature. Some of Pope's more recent articles are published at Emmitsburg News Journal.