Some Arab leaders are betting on a major change in U.S. foreign policy following the upcoming elections. The best bet in the election, Hillary Clinton, is close to the Gulf and Turkey, and the common denominator of all the candidates — Sanders to a lesser degree — is friendship for Israel and hostility for Iran. That is, they are all distanced from current policy. However, despite this, future U.S. foreign policy will not favor one side over another; rather, it will most likely be based on greater isolationism, or “Mafiaism,” and stronger economic protectionism. This is becoming clear in the political rhetoric from all the candidates, not just Trump. As for the cause of this, it goes back to two fundamental variables that appeared in the United States over the last 10 years. One of them is positive — the decreasing reliance upon imported energy; the other one is negative — the massive increase in the national debt.
The National Debt and Energy
The national debt reached a turning point when it became greater than the gross domestic product for the first time since World War II. At the same time, the growth rate in the last 10 years dropped to its lowest levels, and indeed, it is possible that the U.S. will enter a phase of economic decline next year. For the first time in 70 years, the national debt will be at its highest levels at the end of an “economic growth cycle” (which usually lasts six to eight years). What does this mean? What is its impact on U.S. foreign policy? Simply, the next administration will not be able to pay down the interest on the debt with its revenue, even if it raises taxes to the extent that it absorbs all economic growth. The presidential candidates are fully aware of this. So, how come they are talking about lowering taxes on corporations instead of raising them, thus raising the debt ceiling next March? Does this mean that the candidates think nothing of their people, or that the new president (whoever it is!) has a hidden agenda, which is exactly what happened after the election of George W. Bush? The answer is absolutely yes, meaning that the promises in the political rhetoric (of all the candidates) suppose a new political strategy, especially since about $8 trillion of the debt is held abroad, and most of it is the hands of nations deemed hostile or unfriendly to America.
What will be the plan of the most powerful and most indebted country on earth? There are some differences between the candidates regarding their priorities; however, all agree on some of the issues. One is a complement to Obama’s policy. The other is new and will change the rules of the game, so that the United States will solve its problems at the expense of the world, once again, through:
- Nondirect military intervention as much as possible
- Substituting intervention with sanctions and encirclement
- Raising the debt ceiling as a result of lowering taxes and forcing friendly nations, subjected to the United States militarily, to carry a greater portion of additional debts (Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Arab Gulf)
- Charging foreign military expenses (American bases) to those host countries themselves
All of this must coincide with some economic protectionism, of which we are now seeing the seeds in Obama’s decision to subsidize the steel sector, and in the hostile statements toward China, which are at the least paving the way for and justifying this protectionism ahead of time. This will lead to deficit reduction in the balance of payments and will raise American growth subsequently.
This would not have been, nor will be, possible if not for the reduction in American reliance on imported energy — the United States has proven during the last seven years that it can increase its production to 5 million barrels per day. It has become the country that decides the upper and lower limits for the price per barrel of oil, the swing state. Consequently, the United States has put the Gulf States in a weaker position militarily and financially (blackmailing Gulf States with the 9/11 report). This also applies to Israel, whose strategic position has weakened, where the antiballistic missile base planned for construction will be under direct American control for the first time.
This new strategy based on greater isolationism can only be achieved by mobilizing American nationalist sentiment, creating a Cold War atmosphere with Russia and China, in addition to putting pressure on friendly nations possessing large savings (the result of trade surpluses with America) for not selling American treasury notes, but increasing their purchase with worse terms. Hence, we can understand the hostile tone of the American election toward the rest of the world and the preparation of American and world public opinion for the rules of a new game. Militarily, this began a while ago with a “refocusing.” Economically, we will see the all of the new rules shortly. This is the new game:
- Less liberalism: It is ironic that the one that will weaken liberalism is the most liberal nation and not its opponents.
- More “Mafiaism,” which is anything based on “kickbacks for protection.” America will transform from a military state into a police state for the world (intelligence, eavesdropping, economic strangulation, kickbacks, etc.).
The fact is that the American economic situation has reached a point where, going forward, the administration will not be able to deal with the crisis except at the expense of the rest of the world (without a large invasion by its armies). The most important of its tools in the Middle East is preserving the balance of power, so it will not permit any side to win or lose (protection in exchange for payment from the weak and economic sanctions and pressures on the strong), which facilitates the siphoning off of a portion of Gulf surpluses by the United States.