In the decades after World War II, the United States created an international order whose centerpiece was the dominance of American military power.
However, a new study issued by the U.S. Department of Defense suggests that this order “may be collapsing,” with little hope of revival in the near term.
An AlterNet report on the study reveals that the Pentagon believes the United States can no longer consider itself an “unassailable” military giant, as it traditionally has been since the end of the Cold War.
“While the United States remains a global political, economic, and military giant, it no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,” the report states. “In brief, the status quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal ‘beat’ for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.”
Among other things, the study claims that global events are now happening at a much faster pace than ever before and with little warning, which challenges the DoD’s ability to respond in a timely fashion. What’s more, the Pentagon is having trouble responding to the ways that anti-American propaganda spreads rapidly across the internet, with no way to combat it in real time.
Even more alarmingly, according to the study, is that the United States itself has been plunged into a period of political instability thanks to constant connectivity in which people can choose to read only information that confirms their own beliefs and ideologies.
“The United States and its population are increasingly exposed to substantial harm and an erosion of security from individuals and small groups of motivated actors, leveraging the confluence of hyperconnectivity, fear, and increased vulnerability to sow disorder and uncertainty,” the report states. “This intensely disorienting and dislocating form of resistance to authority arrives via physical, virtual, and psychological violence and can create effects that appear substantially out of proportion to the origin and physical size or scale of the proximate hazard or threat.”
To combat this decline and preserve American dominance, writes AlterNet, the study “calls for the US government to invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through ‘strategic manipulation’ of public opinion, and a ‘wider and more flexible’ US military.”