Letter to the Editor: American isolation will affect the world economy

Reader Eugene Clegg says if the U.S. pulls back from the world stage, many other countries will suffer.

A book titled “The End of the World is Just Beginning” was suggested by a friend and was an excellent read. It’s the author’s belief that our world as we know it is ending. The data driven evidence indicates that we are about to deglobalize.

The history of how we got here since 1945 is explained as a result of our winning WWII. The U.S. ended the war with the largest intact Navy. We have used that power he calls “The Order”, to prevent the usual petty wars in Europe and between nations in Africa, Asia, and S. America. We have prevented most piracy on the high seas, thus lowering insurance costs for ocean transport. In return, the nations of the world have been induced to trade and receive protections for free, instead of making war; hence, globalization.

Because they were able to make parts and products that suited their low cost labor, as well as have low tariff “just in time” markets for their products, they gave up being self sufficient in food and many other commodities. It became less costly to simply purchase the basics from those who produced it cheapest.

The author claims this is coming to an end. The U.S. is going to return to its usual isolationist philosophy just as it did after WWI. This will have catastrophic effects nations that no longer know how to be self sufficient. Since most of them have increased their populations since WWII, they will suffer from famines much as they have done throughout history. For instance, Yemen now has a population ten times what it had, Egypt is five times more populated as is most of Africa.

The only bright spot on this prediction is the triad that has nearly all of its own natural resources and only needs to return its manufacturing on shore, leaving China, Japan, India and others to their fate. This triad is Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We can trade without the need for ocean vessels and can produce as well as consume our own products, at albeit higher costs.

Is the author Peter Zeihan correct? Looking at the news we are seeing old rivalries returning to haunt world trade, such as Russia’s desire to regain its former satellites, including half of Poland, all of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia and Ukraine. We see China opening up old border disputes with India, the Philippines, Russia, and Japan. We see the Houthis disrupting shipping in the Red Sea forcing trade to go around the tip of S. Africa once again. We see the U.K. pulling away from Europe, and Germany being the central power again in Europe.

Will the low cost and availability of auto, aircraft, computer, cell phone parts, and minerals, all become more expensive? What about the fact that we have increased greenhouse gasses seven times since WWII? What he does not include is the coming effects of AI. Will this paradigm shift invention throw his predictions off?

Eugene Clegg