In this post, I will paint a more detailed picture of what I think the future of the USA will be like in this century. I will again compare the USA to the Abbasid Caliphate because I think that this is fitting and because I had already done so before. In addition, my knowledge of the history of Islamic Civilization isn’t bad. I can, of course, compare the USA to other similar great powers that existed in history, like the Zhou Empire of Sinic Civilization or the Heian Empire of Japanese Civilization, but most people have never heard of the Zhou dynasty or of the Heian period. I can’t compare the USA to just any great power that existed in the past because the USA exists at a certain stage in the history of Western Civilization. Therefore, the USA has certain features that most other great powers of the past didn’t have. First of all, the USA is not what I would call a military (post-expansion) empire. Almost all of the great powers of the past that people are familiar with are military empires, like the Roman Empire or the Ming Empire. Military empires arise in the history of a civilization after it has entered the Age of Conflict. The Age of Conflict is usually the longest stage in the history of a civilization. The last military empire that appears in the life of a civilization is called the universal empire. In the Age of Conflict of a civilization, expansion gradually slows, the civilization gradually loses its vigor, and irrationality appears. The four indicators of expansion in an Age of Expansion (population, geographic area, production, and knowledge) are affected in the Age of Conflict. These four kinds of expansion slow down in the Age of Conflict. In the Age of Conflict, a civilization acquires little, if any, new territory for settlement. Significant scientific progress also ceases. This can clearly be seen in the history of Russian Civilization in the 20th century. In the Age of Expansion of Russian Civilization, which lasted from 1,500 to 1,900, the Russian Empire acquired new territories and settled them with Russians, who obviously had Russian culture. For example, Russians moved to the eastern part of European Russia and to Siberia and founded new cities there. In the 20th century, when Russian Civilization entered the Age of Conflict and when the Soviet Union emerged, the Russians founded almost no new cities and there was little expansion of geographic area, though the cities that had already existed grew in population. For example, the Soviet Union did add Eastern Europe to its empire after defeating Nazi Germany, but, obviously, the countries of Eastern Europe didn’t get settled by Russians and Russian culture wasn’t imposed on them. So, a state like Hungary didn’t become a Russian state and Russian culture wasn’t imposed on the Hungarians. In Islamic Civilization, the Age of Expansion began under the Rashidun Caliphate in 632, after the death of Muhammad, continued under the Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid Caliphate, and came to an end in 861, although sings of weakness in the Abbasid Caliphate began to appear even in 833. The Age of Conflict that began in Islamic Civilization in 861 got interrupted for several decades by the emergence of the Seljuk Empire in 1051. The Seljuk Empire was the first military (post-expansion) empire of Islamic Civilization, and Seljuk conquests and political domination brought stability, successes, and significant economic growth to much of Islamic Civilization for several decades. The Seljuk Turks ruled their empire from their capital of Isfahan, in what is today Iran. The Seljuk Empire existed about as long as the Soviet Union, which was the first military (post-expansion) empire of Russian Civilization. Since the core of Islamic Civilization was located in Western Arabia, peripheral areas of the civilization, which were added during the Age of Expansion, became wealthier and more powerful than Western Arabia as the civilization continued to expand. Therefore, peripheral areas like Spain, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia later became more prosperous and progressive than the core or semi-peripheral areas like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Whatever scientific progress took place in Islamic Civilization by the end of the Abbasid Caliphate and afterwards, took place mostly in Iran, Central Asia, and Spain. The Turks, who began to dominate Islamic Civilization with their military empires after the fracture of the Abbasid Caliphate, also came from fully peripheral Central Asia.
The following is an entry about Baghdad in ‘Encyclopedia of the World’ (in Colour) by Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, published in 1978. “Capital of Iraq since 1921, on the Tigris River. The sprawling city (population 2,969,000) extends to 15 miles (24 km) along both banks of the historic Tigris. Industry is largely confined to bazaar crafts, such as textiles, metals and foodstuffs. The old part of the town lies on the right bank around a large mosque. On the left bank is the modern section, with parks and broad avenues. Baghdad was founded in the 8th century by the caliphs (Moslem rulers) as a natural crossing point of the Mesopotamian plain, where the Tigris and the Euphrates approach to within 20 miles (32 km) of each other. Under the caliph Harun-al-Rashid (786-809), Baghdad was the centre of the far-flung Moslem world. It was the home of scholars and artists, and a city of great wealth with two million inhabitants. Its glory is reflected in the stories of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’. The city was sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century, and occupied by the Turks from 1638 to 1917. It did not regain importance until modern times.”
So, what about the United States? The USA has come to dominate Western Civilization politically and economically after the British Empire ceased to dominate Western Civilization. The agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution first took place in England in the 18th century. Because of these two revolutions, a new, third, Age of Expansion began in the history of Western Civilization, and it lasted from 1770 to 1929. England is a part of the core of Western Civilization, and England, with its empire, dominated Western Civilization politically and economically while this expansion was taking place. The third Age of Conflict in the history of Western Civilization began as early as 1893 in the core area and this was about the time when the British Empire began to go into decline. Still, it took several decades and two big wars in Europe for the British Empire to fracture and to get replaced by the USA as the dominant power in the West. Even as late as 1913, the British Empire remained as the dominant economic power in the West and in the world. In 1913, the GDP of the British Empire made up 21.1% of global GDP. In that same year, the GDP of the United States made up 19.1% of global GDP. The GDP of the Russian Empire made up 9.8% of global GDP. In 1870, however, when British domination was even more obvious, the GDP of the British Empire made up 24.1% of global GDP. In that same year, the GDP of the USA made up 8.9% of global GDP. The GDP of the Russian Empire made up 7.6% of global GDP. The political, cultural, and economic center of the British Empire was obviously the capital London. The USA began to dominate Western Civilization in the middle of the 20th century. In 1950, the GDP of the USA made up 27.3% of global GDP. In that same year, the GDP of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe made up 13.1% of global GDP. The GDP of the United Kingdom, which was no longer a great power, made up 6.5% of global GDP. In 1973, when the USA was about to go into decline, the GDP of the USA made up 22% of global GDP. In that same year, the GDP of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe made up 12.8% of global GDP. The GDP of Japan made up 7.7% of global GDP. The GDP of China made up 4.6% of global GDP. The GDP of the United Kingdom made up 4.2% of global GDP in that year. When it comes to the whole of Western Civilization, its GDP made up about 60% of global GDP in that year. So, according to these statistics, Western Civilization is about five times wealthier than Russian Civilization. These two civilizations, Western and Russian, are currently the only living civilizations in the world, and both of them are in the Age of Conflict. Although the seat of the United States government is in Washington, I think that the cultural, economic, and even political center of the USA is New York City. Let’s not forget that Wall Street is located in New York City. The East Coast of the United States, where New York City is located, is one of the peripheral areas of Western Civilization. Therefore, by the middle of the 20th century, the center of power of Western Civilization moved from the core area, which is located in Western Europe, to a peripheral area, the East Coast of the United States. American conquests and political domination brought stability, successes, and significant economic growth to Western Civilization for several decades after World War II. However, it’s again important to point out that the USA is not a military (post-expansion) empire. It’s an expansionist empire, just like the British Empire was. That is, the USA began to dominate Western Civilization at a time when expansion wasn’t quite over. Therefore, the military doesn’t play a very important role in the USA, the USA doesn’t have a large standing army, the Americans don’t build many monuments and statues of their famous leaders, and the Americans don’t engage in the conquest of other areas of Western Civilization and outside of this civilization. The imperialism that the USA engages in around the world isn’t mostly about conquest but about controlling natural resources, which are vital for Western industry, and about making it safe for Western capital to continue to operate globally. Therefore, the Americans find it sufficient to overthrow or strangle hostile or unfriendly foreign governments instead of conquering them. Naturally, this kind of imperialism also involves eliminating other great powers in the world that can pose a threat to Western capital or to the interests of the USA. This is a policy that the USA continues to pursue to this day. Therefore, since the Soviet Union posed a threat to Western capital for a few decades after World War II, the USA and other states in the West engaged in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and brainwashed the masses in the West in order to make them hate Russians and “communism”. Although the decline of the USA began as early as the 1970s, the USA continues to exist for the time being. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought a respite for the USA and for the rest of the West in the 1990s, but the social degradation and the slowing of economic growth that began in the 1970s still continued. When the Abbasid Caliphate began to go into decline, weak or incompetent caliphs began to appear. Similarly, when the USA began to go into decline, weak presidents began to appear. The first weak president was Jimmy Carter, then came Ronald Reagan, then came George H. W. Bush, then came Bill Clinton, and, in 2001, the first incompetent president, George W. Bush, appeared. When the Abbasid Caliphate was in decline, fully peripheral areas of Islamic Civilization, like Central Asia, were already wealthier and more progressive than areas like Iraq, Syria, or Western Arabia. Similarly, since the middle of the 20th century, the Western and the Southern states of the USA have been getting wealthier and more progressive than the states on the East Coast. These Western and Southern states of the USA are fully peripheral areas of Western Civilization. So, states like California, Texas, Florida, and Washington are now the wealthiest, or some of the wealthiest, states in the USA. Another way of putting this is that industrial capitalism isn’t as institutionalized in these states as it is in the Eastern states of the USA or in Western Europe. I think that in the coming decades, as the decline of the USA continues, the USA will lose its hold on Western Civilization and even on some of the states of the USA. I think that the first states that will break away from the USA will be some of the Western and Southern states. This will happen because the government in Washington and the oligarchy that’s based in New York City will continue to get weaker and more incompetent. At least this is how the picture of the future looks to me at this time. Later, if the current Age of Conflict in Western Civilization continues, military (post-expansion) empires will come to dominate Western Civilization one after the other, like how the Seljuk Empire and the Ottoman Empire came to dominate Islamic Civilization after the fracture of the Abbasid Caliphate. I think that the capital and the center of at least one of these empires will be one of the cities in the West or the South of what is now the USA. This empire will attempt to conquer and to dominate not only North America but also other areas of Western Civilization, such as Australia, Western Europe, and possibly South America. Because of the immense wealth, power, and span of Western Civilization, any empire that comes to dominate this civilization in the future will also probably dominate the world, similar to how the British Empire did in the past and to how the USA has done since the middle of the 20th century. Theoretically, an empire that will dominate Western Civilization in the future can appear anywhere on the territory of this civilization. It’s very unlikely that it will appear in Western Europe, although local empires, like Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, will almost certainly appear in this area in the future. It’s also possible, but also unlikely, that such an empire will appear in Australia or in Canada. These areas of Western Civilization are so much smaller in population than the USA, however, that I don’t see them dominating Western Civilization in the future. The most likely place where a new empire will appear in the future is in what is today the USA. But any power with an effective army will have a chance to dominate Western Civilization politically and economically in the future. This is how it always is in the Age of Conflict of a civilization. For example, the Mongols, who weren’t even Chinese and who weren’t civilized people, were able to conquer the territory of Chinese Civilization and to create the Yuan Empire (1,276 to 1,368) only because Genghis Khan was able to create a highly effective army. This army was of such terrifying power that the Mongols were able to conquer not only China but also most of Asia.
Of course, the picture that I’ve painted in this post will change entirely if Western Civilization enters a new, fourth, Age of Expansion in the future. If a new instrument of expansion will appear in Western Civilization, I think that it will have to appear in the core area of the civilization. Feudalism, which was the first instrument of expansion, appeared mainly in France. France is a part of the core of Western Civilization. Commercial capitalism, which was the second instrument of expansion, appeared mainly in Northern Italy. Northern Italy is also a part of the core. Industrial capitalism, which was the third instrument of expansion, appeared mainly in England. England too is a part of the core. At this time, I don’t see any dynamic changes taking place anywhere in the core of Western Civilization. It’s still possible that a new instrument of expansion will appear, but I think that this is unlikely.