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The Collapse Of The American Empire, Part I: Demographics

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D. Ray

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Feb 22, 2024, 7:25:28 AMFeb 22
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As much as neo-conservative/Zionist ideologues like Robert Kagan write
about the exceptional inevitability of the American world order, there is a
general sinking feeling among the people of the United States that this
country does not have a future.

Is this impression justified? Students of imperial decline can examine
historical observations and parallels to decide.

Admittedly, utilizing historicism to try and predict geopolitical
developments in the short and medium term is an imperfect science, often
taking the form of prejudiced soothsaying or intuitive assertions.

Part of the problem is an overreliance on ancient history, particularly
Rome, as a reference point for understanding the rise and fall of empire.
The lack of specific data regarding the developments that culminated in
Rome’s downfall has led to subsequent commentators to fill in the blanks
through the ideological prisms of their time. For example, 18th-century
British historian Edward Gibbon singled out the Roman elite’s behavioral
decadence as the catalyst for its downfall. Individual moral purity was a
strong fixation for Protestant Englishmen like Gibbons during his time, but
this theory can be challenged by information revealing widescale moral
excesses among Roman rulers during the lead up and fruition of the empire’s
2nd Century AD territorial peak, e.g., the infamously obscene Caligula or
Nero. Today, narratives blaming climate change for Rome’s decline, a 21st
century obsession, have gained a foothold.

A more direct comparison with the downfall of the Soviet Union, where
detailed information is available, is more useful in seeking to investigate
the malaise and long-term viability of the America empire. The United
States of 2024 shares several demographic trends with the Soviet Union of
the 1970s — “the era of stagnation” — that ultimately led to the vast
Eurasian superpower’s implosion in 1991.

When examining the short to medium term (10 to 30 years) prognosis of the
American empire, we will also contrast it with its major adversaries:
primarily Russia and China, and, supplementally (more so in later
articles), Iran.

This author stresses that it is under no impression that either Russia,
China, or Iran can defeat the American empire on their own. All three
countries have different advantages over the United States in their
world-historical struggle against neo-liberal unipolarity, but also
disadvantages as individual contenders, suggesting that a future without
Pax Americana could be a pre-WWII one limited to natural spheres of
influence rather than a recreation of Washington’s ambitious efforts for
world domination. If the three powers coordinate and unite — as China and
Russia’s “no limits” partnership or the two powers’ multi-year pacts with
Iran suggest they have — the Washington-led, post-war liberal world order
may go down sooner than we expect.

Russia and China remain behind America on a wide array of metrics, but what
is impossible to deny is that they are starting to catch up while the
United States is broadly at an inflection point. In 2021, Xi Jinping made
this point in his address, affirming that “time and momentum” were on
China’s side.

One logical point to make is that, generally speaking, life for ordinary
Russian and Chinese people is objectively getting better, while things are
getting demonstrably worse in America. This alone can create divergences in
national morale during a great power competition.

The economic, military, soft power, political, and other factors pointing
to the coming failure and geopolitical neutralization of the US and its
ideology on the world stage will be explored in future articles.

Part I: Demographics

One of the first symptoms of a nation’s decline is a breakdown in social
and human health. Often small changes in data related to population
well-being speaks to an underwater iceberg of more significant and
systematic problems within a people.

At the hump of the USSR’s “Brezhnev stagnation” in the mid to late 1970s,
demographers began speculating about the health of the once seemingly
omnipotent empire after discovering that the nation’s rates of infant
mortality were beginning to rise. Though this increase was minor — only a
few percentage points — it broke a cycle of decades of rapid gains in the
survivability of Soviet infants since the end of World War II.

This was perplexing to mainstream observers at the time, as the Soviet
Union was, financially, enjoying relative prosperity due to a global oil
export boom triggered by the Arab League’s 1973 oil embargo. The USSR under
Leonid Brezhnev (who ruled from 1964-1982) planned its economy to become a
military peer of the United States (especially in the realm of nuclear
weapons), was industrially powerful, and matched or led its rivals in the
world in various cutting-edge fields, such as aerospace.

Yet despite the superficial success of the system, the USSR’s most
important asset, its people, began showing signs of decay and misery.

Today in the United States, we are seeing similar patterns.

In the Soviet context, Central Asian Minorities within the multi-ethnic
Soviet space, who benefited from special economic, social and legal
privileges (before America, the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union created the
first nation to practice official racial discriminate against its own
ethnic majority citizens, as detailed in Terry Martin’s 2001 book The
Affirmative Action Empire), grew at much faster rates than the less fertile
Slavic population during the 1960s and 70s. By 1979, ethnic Russians
declined to barely 52% of the Soviet population.

As Robert D. Putnam’s 2000 book Bowling Alone has shown, multiculturalism/
multiracialism is strongly correlated with alienation and distrust. As in
the USSR in its period of downturn, America’s racial makeup has radically
changed in the last 50 years, with white people now making up less than 58%
of the population.

Besides the national problems created by racial and cultural alienation,
changes in demographics lead to changes to a society overall. Nations
naturally begin taking on the character of the home countries of the new
people who populate them, which in the American context means falling
behind peripheries of its empire, such as Western Europe, in critical
sectors. This is another commonality with the 1970s USSR, where the Soviet
homeland itself was racked with dysfunction and living standards were
falling behind ethnically/racially homogenous Warsaw Pact protectorates
such as Hungary or East Germany. It may be possible for non-white,
non-Asian nations to achieve success, but this would require illiberal
governance, ethno-cultural cohesion and enforced discipline that thoroughly
multi-racial countries (like America or Brazil) appear to lack.

Predictably, it is no coincidence that the United States is facing falling
living standards and social degradation, including among the once
prosperous white majority, which place it at a grave disadvantage against
geopolitical competitors.

In 2022, the Center for Disease Control reported that American infant
mortality rose 3% for the first time in decades, from 5.44 infant deaths
per 1,000 live births the previous year to 5.60. In 2023, no ground was
made up in tackling this problem: the same figure was reported.

Comparatively, Russia’s infant mortality is now lower. In 2023, there were
4.807 deaths per 1,000 live births, a 3.8% decline from 2022. This is a
remarkable feat of the Vladimir Putin government. In 2003, early in Putin’s
reign, Russia suffered an alarming 16.156 deaths per 1,000 live births,
while the United States had an infant mortality rate of 6.85 at this time.

On the Chinese front, their massive population lags behind the US with 8.4
infants dying per 1,000 births. We can consult with Xi Jinping’s quote
about “momentum” here. China has seen this statistic consistently falling
by over 3% every year, as America suffers the inverse, suggesting that like
Russia they can be forecasted to overcome this hurdle.

Much of this rise in infant mortality correlates with the increase in
America’s minority population. Blacks and Amerindians in particular have
high rates of infant mortality due to neglectful activities such as drug
use, alcoholism, abuse, as well as overburdened or poorly administered
minority-run health care services. At the same time, the infant mortality
rate is going up for white mothers as well, suggesting that these symptoms
of deterioration are harming the white American community as well.

This withering of fundamental life measures is part of a broader trend.
From 2019 to 2023, US life expectancy fell from 79 years to now 76. This
figure is more at home among developing nations than those we consider
advanced. Among developed US liberal peers, Germany’s current life
expectancy is 82 years, UK 82, France 83, and so on.

Following a modest increase from 2022 to 2023, Chinese life expectancy now
surpasses that of Americans, at 77 years, a historic first for China.
Russia, which is fighting a brutal war in Ukraine, still saw an increase in
life expectancy from 2022 to 2023: 72 to 73.

Returning to 2003 numbers, the American life expectancy was 77, while
China’s was 73 and Russia’s 65.

When comparing Soviet data during the era of stagnation, we again see a
similarity with the US. The politburo began internally ringing alarm bells
when they discovered that life expectancy suddenly fell in a form similar
to the US, from 69.5 in 1971 to 67.9 in 1978, a fact publicly disclosed to
much controversy during Perestroika and Glasnost.

America’s dwindling life expectancy and rising infant mortality, as in the
case of the Soviet Union, is being fueled by an explosion in substance
abuse, obesity, suicide, institutional failures, and other informal
measures of nihilism and despair rooted in anomie.

In the year 2023, there were a whopping 112,000 drug overdose deaths,
primarily among the young.

This dwarfs Russia, which itself is seen to have a drug problem. During a
recent surge in drug overdoses in 2021, the nation with slightly more than
half the US population suffered 7,316 fatal ODs, driven in part by boredom
or loneliness during COVID.

In China, with its population of 1.4 billion and with its historic crisis
of opium addiction in the rearview mirror, the rate of drug-related deaths
is approximately 49,000 per year.

In the realm of suicide, Russia has long had the reputation of being a
world leader in this category, but the US has now quietly surpassed it.

In 2021, Russia suffered 10.7 self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 people. In
the same year, the United States’ rate jumped to 14.04 per 100,000.

By comparison, in the year 2000, Russians committed suicide at the rate of
39 deaths per 100k, so their new figures are a massive leap forward when
tackling the issue.

In America, we are suffering an astonishing step backwards. In 2000,
Americans were 40% less likely to kill themselves, with the rate of 10.4
per 100,000.

For China, suicide rates have declined from 10.88 to 5.25 between 2010 and
2021.

In the world of serious mental illness, the United States is also one
upping its rivals.

In 2022, approximately 5% of Americans suffered from severe mental
disorders, such as psychosis or schizophrenia, while 1 out of 5 US citizens
are being medically treated for milder forms like clinical depression.

In Russia, around 8.8% of citizens are diagnosed with clinical depression.
Only 0.3% of Russians are schizophrenics. This is another sharp statistical
decrease from the recent Russian past.

It will come to nobody’s surprise that Americans are the most obese in the
world, a key co-morbidity accelerating these demographic problems. This
does not require number crunching.

What may surprise some, however, is that citizens of the 1970s and 80s
Soviet Union were also unusually overweight.

Soviet citizens began gaining weight during the Brezhnev era due to the
wider availability of food compared to the past.

In one medical study commissioned by the Soviet state during Perestroika,
it was found that 30% of citizens were overweight and 2/3s were sedentary,
despite ample opportunities for engaging in exercise and sports. This
clashed with the Soviet Union’s vaunted efforts to become internationally
known as an athletic superpower.

This was one fact the Soviet regime could not hide in the 1970s. To tackle
the obesity epidemic, the government sought technocratic solutions, which
led to research discovering many special diets and treatments popularized
today such as intermittent fasting.

Contrary to Cold War propaganda from both sides connecting obesity with
capitalism, Soviet citizens were fatter than Americans. In 1975, only 20%
of Americans were considered overweight.

Soviet data released during Glasnost and Perestroika from the 1970s and 80s
also found huge increases in deaths due to alcoholism, increases in
narcotics related fatalities, and ballooning suicide rates. This social
crisis continued to intensify into the 1980s, hitting its zenith under the
post-collapse presidency of Boris Yeltsin, where the life expectancy for a
Russian male was reduced to a grim 57 years.

The prerequisite for any attempt to manage a world empire is naturally the
well-being and happiness of its people. Americans are more obese, high,
alienated, mentally ill and dying of preventable causes at higher rates
than the citizens of countries seeking to depose the US world order. It is
a matter of time until this differential is made irrefutably apparent in
the global balance of power.

Economists may point to America’s GDP growth, a matter we will explore in a
future article, as evidence of imperial stability. But liberal economists
lack an analysis of power in their outlook, and in the realm of military,
technological, soft power, or other forms of international competition,
this derives from a people’s general health, ability, and faith that their
leaders are making their lives better. This has long been lost in the
America of 2024, and the gravity of the situation is no longer possible to
ignore.

Just as Russians became disenchanted with the Soviet system, the American
people (especially the white people) have given up on America.

<https://littoria.substack.com/p/the-collapse-of-the-american-empire>

<https://archive.ph/vU6Oc>


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