What Defines the Most “Powerful” Nation?

What defines the world’s most “powerful” nation?

I would think that most people, regardless of their nationality, would say equal parts economic and military power. That makes sense. Or does it?

I think it depends upon how you define power. The United States of America has a great deal of military power, but it is potential power, not applied power. What do I mean? A nation, any nation, only has military power if it has the will to use it. Aircraft, ships and armored vehicles are only power if they are used. Otherwise they are quickly devalued assets that advancing technology will write off in a few short years. I do not mean to imply that a nation must continuously “flex its muscle” to remain powerful, but a nation with a large stockpile of weaponry that its leadership has forsworn to use under almost any circumstance would not be considered a militarily powerful nation.

Do not view this as an attack on our current President. Yes, he is a hapless fool. That’s actually the kindest thing I could say about him, but in this case, he mirrors the will – or complete lack of will – of the American people. Americans, it is said, are “war weary”. Really? On December 31, 2013, exactly 3, 285,090 men and women served in the United States military, including all branches, both active duty and reserve. That is 1% of the population of the United States.

With 1% doing all the work, how did the citizenry get so “war weary”?

Let’s face it: very few Americans know anyone who has been deployed in a combat zone, not to mention anyone wounded or killed. And yet Americans seem to be wrung out by the titanic struggle they have been engaged in the last thirteen years to defend our nation against further attacks from Islamist terrorists. Oh, excuse me – they are just “terrorists” now, since we have been told they have nothing to do with Islam.

“No boots on the ground!” I can see Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi grinning as he hears these words. He knows that there is a chance he might be defeated, but never by the Americans. Is the Islamic State a serious threat to the United States? Maybe; maybe not. We just don’t seem to care. But let’s move on.

“America is an economic powerhouse!” We are like a college freshman with Daddy’s credit card (China). Big stereo? No problemo! New rims for the Neon? Got it covered! While we were distributing Obama phones and housing half of Central America, our Chinese “trading partners” (I can’t even type that without snorting) managed to surpass us as the world’s largest economy, and built a blue water navy from scratch at the same time. It is said by those in the know that China has a detailed plan to militarily and economically reduce Japan to the power footprint of Bhutan. Many Western think-tank geniuses cackle over that. Many don’t. I give Japan about twelve weeks. The United States will “apply sanctions” against China.

“No nation will move against America, because we can ruin them financially in a few days”. Put down the opium pipe, my friend, and look at the calendar. Whoops! It’s not 1964 anymore. There is going to be a national vote in Switzerland in a few days to determine whether or not the Swiss go back on the gold standard. Everyone following that one says the vote will be “Jah, Oui, Si! Just wait to see how long the European monetary system holds up then. The US will lag behind about 10 days.

As mad as he made us, Jonathan Gruber was right on target.

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