Summary of the Article: “Geography determines destiny” without exception – unless stupidity creeps into the decision-maker’s minds.
In all seriousness though, what this good read fails to mention is the strategic need for the US’ apparent stupidity: ensuring the continued demand for dollars around the world. The need for other countries to borrow dollars to buy oil (the “petrodollar recycling system“) and protect their foreign reserve accounts from speculative raids has allowed the US to go into astronomical amounts of debt and not have to pay it off. The US doubled-down on its status as the purported “leader of the free world” in the mid-seventies and their is no going back now that they have run up an amount of debt that could never and will never be payed back.
The irony of the situation is that the US uses debt as its primary way to control other nations aside from military force but does not feel obliged to pay its own. The tragedy of the situation is that the transition away from this system is what will determine a large portion of the how world nations are made up in the coming century (as well as the fate of earth’s biosphere for the next 100,000 years), yet very few people understand it in a country that claims for itself the label ‘democracy’.
Most important for determining destiny is not just geography but the systemic movement of oil and money (be it in cash form or bits in electrical computer networks) on top of the earth. Oil comes from underneath the earth though and nations have their borders to look after, which are determined by oceans, mountains and other geographical barriers, (together of course with competing militaries and unruly subjects). Geopolitics brings international politics to mind and the ‘flows’ of oil and money that course through nations borders deserve to be included.
Someone or some body of people will have to persuade the US to not to unleash its war machine on other nations when the petrodollar system collapses, so that oil can be decoupled from money and renewable forms of energy (including less of it) can abound. Nations will not be able to transition away from fossil fuels when they cannot control their own money supply and have a imperial behemoth breathing down their neck. The chief barrier to the protection of a threatened biosphere is United States global hegemony. Perhaps an internal war machine to the US’ borders will apply the necessary pressure to ease the transition, or perhaps it will come from without. Then again, perhaps it will continue, but as far as I can tell, if the US prevails, you can kiss much of the life on this planet goodbye.
More on geopolitics from Michael Hudson: