The East and the Rest

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The U.S. is rapidly liquidating its position as the world’s foremost superpower.


As the world teetered on the cusp of nuclear Armageddon in early 1961, President John F. Kennedy famously declared in his inaugural address, “Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” Now, the prospect of nuclear warfare—or World War III, as many pundits have termed it—looms just as large as it did all those decades ago. In fact, it’s at its highest since Truman dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or Stalin tested the first hydrogen bomb some four years later, unleashing a never-ending arms race that, despite moments of détente, continues to the present day.

The difference between the Truman and Kennedy eras and today is, rather than actively trying to circumvent the prospect of nuclear war, the U.S. under the Biden regime appears to be maniacally courting that very outcome, flipping the conventional 20th-century wisdom regarding mutual assured destruction on its head. Rather than playing the part of sober realists in an exercise of realpolitik, our leadership has pursued a suicidal approach, actively egging on Putin over the annexation of Kiev. As politicians advocate for the destruction of our national heritage at home—symbolized in the toppling of statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, and Teddy Roosevelt—overseas they agitate with equally nihilistic fervor for grafting the failed nation-building template onto Eastern Europe.


Putin, and Xi Jinping of China to a lesser extent, are only now beginning to acclimate themselves to this newfound thinking from Washington. Forget McNamara or Kissinger, or even Rumsfeld or Cheney. The Biden regime’s demeanor is more comparable to that of a congenital schizophrenic with the emotional volatility of a schoolgirl. This has caused frustration for both superpowers, but Russia in particular, which now sees that the general rules of warfare, perfected over centuries from Clausewitz to Patton, seemingly no longer apply—at least with respect to current U.S. leadership.

Instead, the United States will sign blank checks with reckless abandon, ship military equipment and materiel with hardly a care in the world as to whose hands it ends up in, and even, perhaps, frame the enemy for acts of industrial sabotage. All the while, our nuclear codes are in the possession of a man who has clearly lost his mental faculties, but whose handlers ravenously beat the war drum.

Empire on the Rise

While America buries itself ever deeper in fantasy, Eastern competitors are not letting the moment go to waste. China, in particular, is gestating a nascent empire, creating mini-oriental colonies deep within the hearts of their competitors to the West, including in Africa, Europe, and, of course, the United States.


It has become commonplace to see significant numbers of Asian students on the campuses of our most prestigious universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT. Many of these students were born overseas and intend to return to their native lands either upon graduation or soon afterwards, bringing the knowledge and resources they obtained to give a greater competitive boost to their home countries. Meanwhile, it is a rare sight to observe Americans at any one of China’s (or Russia’s, or India’s, or Saudi Arabia’s) top universities. To the extent any attend them, they typically stay for a semester or two and virtually never absorb the important skill sets—particularly expertise in Eastern languages—that would make their stays worthwhile from an American geostrategic perspective. By contrast, many Asian international students who study law at Yale or business at Wharton or engineering at MIT almost invariably acquire skill sets—particularly a working proficiency in the English tongue—that are essential to the long-term success of a generational world empire.

Imbibing the self-loathing bromides of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi, our generals allocate precious time and resources to figuring out all sorts of novel ways to trans more troops or make the military a more inclusive space for breastfeeding fathers. In China, by sharp contrast, there has been a renaissance in the study of the Western classics—namely, the canon that includes Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, and Shakespeare. As Biden’s Department of Education investigates how the study of math perpetuates structural racism and conjures up novel excuses to dumb down the hard sciences, China is tutoring its next generation in the teachings of Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. Its leadership is refreshingly indifferent to the “problematic biases” of those great minds, recognizing the inherent value their lessons offer for preserving and strengthening the hegemony they are building throughout the Eastern world.

There are many metrics for gauging the East’s superiority over the West, but I’d like to home in on two. First is architecture, specifically tallying the locations of the world’s tallest buildings. Of the top 35 tallest skyscrapers in the world, only seven are in the United States: numbers seven (One World Trade Center, New York), 15 (Central Park Tower, New York), 26 (Willis Tower, Chicago), 29 (111 West 57th Street, New York), 30 (One Vanderbilt, New York), 31 (432 Park Avenue, New York), and 33 (Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago). Most of these structures occupy the bottom half of the list—and all but two are in New York City (the two Chicago towers are older buildings—the Willis Tower dates to 1973).

The rest of the buildings on that list are dispersed across the Eastern world, with China hosting the lion’s share. Five of the top ten buildings in the world (numbers three, five, and eight-ten) are located in China. The Burj Khalifa, which ranks first, is located in the UAE. Rounding out the top ten are Malaysia (two), Saudi Arabia (four), and South Korea (six). The lone representative from the United States, the aforementioned One World Trade Center, ranks a middling seventh. However, without its massive, 300-foot spire, One WTC would fail to make the cut for the tallest building in New York City. And if one is looking toward the future, the results are even bleaker. Virtually all supertall building projects currently under construction are based out of China, or the East at the very least. The U.S. doesn’t have any projects in the top 20—and just one in the top 50.

Relatedly, China has also made significant efforts to acquire valuable Western properties and real estate. Once-historic landmarks like the Plaza Hotel and Waldorf Astoria are now soundly in Eastern hands. Also, hundreds of thousands of acres in arable land are being snatched up by Chinese investors, who might then use it to build labs conducting gain-of-function research, akin to the one in Wuhan that unleashed the COVID bioweapon upon the world.

The second metric, which is even more distressing, is how far the United States has fallen behind Eastern competitors in developing state-of-the-art military technology. Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an extensive study on how the U.S. has for decades neglected its missile defense program, instead rerouting appropriations to winless escapades in the Middle East—and now Eastern Europe—which has placed us at a significant competitive disadvantage. China, Russia, and even smaller powers like Iran and North Korea, now possess (or are on the brink of possessing) hypersonic missiles that can easily level the international playing field, despite our country’s superior wealth (a lead that has also considerably narrowed in recent decades), producing an equilibrium among powers not seen since at least before the breakout of World War I. Rather than investing in these missile systems, or at the very least hedging our losses by fortifying our own infrastructure and borders, we have proceeded to accelerate our decline, doubling down on the insanities that drove us into a decades-long nation-building crusade overseas.

The Chinese Century

All this is to say: America First is not only a political slogan, but an all-important dogma that the United States must internalize if it has any chance of remaining a superpower in a world now boasting fierce competition from the East, and China specifically. With the incompetence of Washington (and active cheerleading by the likes of Bill Gates), consider the not-so-distant possibility of China flouting our laws and tapping into our vast natural resources—particularly our massive oil reserves. One can easily imagine a scenario in which China purchases a critical share of Texas land, or perhaps even oil-rich land in upstate New York, and then begins drilling without care for the cultic matrix of self-imposed climate regulations that make such feats impossible for U.S. investors and government actors.

It is no secret that the United States is currently sitting on a goldmine in resources. But our leadership class, which has internalized the fanatical dogmas of climate alarmism, has refused to tap into those reserves. By contrast, Saudi Arabia’s leaders do not forsake the general welfare of their body politic and worship ridiculous false idols such as Mother Earth. They follow Russia’s lead, which exploits European superstitions about climate Armageddon not only for an easy buck but creating greater dependency between Europe and their sphere of influence. They have made strategic inroads with Germany and Poland, which now heavily depend on Russia for their oil supplies and which has only accelerated since the start of the Ukraine War.

In the numbers game, the East is beating the West, and it is not even close. As the United States fails to perform the most basic duties of a sovereign nation—controlling its borders, keeping its cities clean, and improving its crumbling infrastructure—China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia have taken the rational course of strengthening their native populations, expanding their borders, and tapping into their natural resources. The end result will be a 21st century that thoroughly belongs to the East—and China in particular.


This article was published by the American Mind and is reproduced with permission

Image Credit: Shutterstock


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