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Decline of the US Navy makes collapse of primacy inevitable

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Decline of the US Navy makes collapse of primacy inevitable
Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, "America’s Elegant Decline", The Atlantic, November 2007, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/11/america-8217-s-elegant-decline/6344/

A great navy is like oxygen: You notice it only when it is gone. But the strength of a nation’s sea presence, more than any other indicator, has throughout history often been the best barometer of that nation’s power and prospects. “Those far-distant storm-beaten ships upon which [Napoleon’s] Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the dominion of the world,” Mahan wrote, describing how the British Royal Navy had checked Napoleon’s ambitions. In our day, carrier strike groups, floating in international waters only a few miles off enemy territory, require no visas or exit strategies. Despite the quagmire of Iraq, we remain the greatest outside power in the Middle East because of our ability to pro­ject destructive fire from warships in the Indian Ocean and its tributary waters such as the Persian Gulf. Our sea power allows us to lose a limited war on land without catastrophic consequences. The Navy, together with the Air Force, constitutes our insurance policy. The Navy also plays a crucial role as the bus driver for most of the Army’s equipment, whenever the Army deploys overseas. Click here to find out more! Army units can’t forward-deploy anywhere in significant numbers without a national debate. Not so the Navy. Forget the cliché about the essence of the Navy being tradition; I’ve spent enough time with junior officers and enlisted sailors on Pacific deployments to know that the essence of our Navy is operations: disaster relief, tracking Chinese subs, guarding sea-lanes, and so forth. American sailors don’t care what the mission is, as long as there is one, and the farther forward the better. The seminal event for the U.S. Navy was John Paul Jones’s interdiction of the British during the Revolutionary War—which occurred off Yorkshire, on the other side of the Atlantic. During the quasi-war that President John Adams waged against France from 1798 to 1800, U.S. warships protected American merchant vessels off what is today Indonesia. American warships operated off North Africa in the First Barbary War of 1801 to 1805. The War of 1812 found the Navy as far down the globe as the coast of Brazil and as far up as the North Cape of Scandinavia. Peter Swartz, an expert at the Center for Naval Analyses, observes that because operating thousands of miles from home ports is so ingrained in U.S. naval tradition, no one thinks it odd that even the Coast Guard has ships in service from Greenland to South America. Great navies help preserve international stability. When the British navy began to decline, the vacuum it left behind helped engender the competition among major powers that led to World War I. After the U.S. Navy was forced to depart Subic Bay in the Philippines in 1992, piracy quintupled in the Southeast Asian archipelago—which includes one of the world’s busiest waterways, the Strait of Malacca. In an age when 90 percent of global commerce travels by sea, and 95 percent of our imports and exports from outside North America do the same (even as that trade volume is set to double by 2020), and when 75 percent of the world’s population is clustered within 200 miles of the sea, the relative decline of our Navy is a big, dangerous fact to which our elites appear blind. The End of the Mahanian Century? The best way to understand the tenuousness of our grip on “hard,” military power (to say nothing of “soft,” diplomatic power) is to understand our situation at sea. This requires an acquaintance with two books published a century ago: Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783, which was written in 1890, and Julian S. Corbett’s Some Principles of Maritime Strategy, which came out in 1911. Few books have had more influence on military policy than Mahan’s. It affected the thinking of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—as well as that of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II—and it helped prompt the naval buildup before World War I. Mahan showed that because the sea is the great “commons” of civilization, naval power—to protect merchant fleets—had always been the determining factor in European political struggles. The strength of his argument lay less in its originality than in its comprehensiveness, achieved by numerous examples. He pointed out that there were no great sea battles in the Second Punic War, because Rome’s mastery of the Mediterranean was a deciding factor in Carthage’s defeat. He noted that George Washington partly attributed America’s victory in its war for independence to France’s control of the seas—even as several decades earlier France had lost the Seven Years’ War partly because of its neglect of sea power. Mahan believed in concentrating national naval forces in search of the decisive battle: For him, success was about sinking the other fleet. Mahan’s aggressive sensibility perfectly matched the temperament of Theodore Roosevelt. As a result, it was in the quiet years before World War I that America became a great sea power—and consequently a Great Power. Julian Corbett, a British historian, did not so much disagree with Mahan as offer a subtler approach, placing greater emphasis on doing more with less. Corbett asserted that just because one nation has lost control of the sea, another nation has not necessarily gained it. A naval coalition that may appear weak and dispersed can, if properly constituted, have “a reality of strength.” He called this a “fleet in being”—a collection of ships that can quickly coalesce into a unified fleet when necessary. This fleet-in-being wouldn’t need to dominate or sink other fleets; it could be effective by seizing bases and policing choke points. Such a deceptively able fleet, Corbett argued, should pursue an “active and vigorous life” in the conduct of limited defense, by, for example, carrying out harassing operations. As it happened, Corbett’s book came out after the British Royal Navy had reduced its worldwide presence by leveraging the growing sea power of its allies Japan and the United States. A hundred years later, the Mahanian Century has ended. The period of 1890 to 1989 was about dominance: controlling vast oceanic spaces by making sure your national navy had more ships than those of your competitors. This era reached its zenith in 1945, when the U.S. Navy and its vast fleet of supply ships numbered 6,700. With no peer competitor in sight, the president and Congress moved quickly to cut that Navy, along with the standing Army, considerably. By 1950, the United States had only 634 ships. The drawdown helped set the stage for the “Revolt of the Admirals,” when a group of officers warned the nation of calamities ahead. (Indeed, two decades later the Soviet navy would be a near-peer competitor.) But in a 1954 article in Proceedings, the journal of the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, a young Harvard academic named Samuel P. Huntington told the Navy not to feel sorry for itself: The resources which a service is able to obtain in a democratic society are a function of the public support of that service. The service has the responsibility to develop this necessary support, and it can only do this if it possesses a strategic concept which clearly formulates its relationship to the national security. Huntington recommended that the Navy emphasize its ability to support ground troops from the sea: Any battles with the Soviet Union were likely to be on land, so the Navy needed to play up the job it could do in a war with a great land power. The Navy took Huntington’s advice, and it worked: For the remainder of the Cold War, the Navy was able to hold the line at roughly 600 ships, in part by arguing for its importance in supporting a ground war against the Soviet Union and its allies—it would be the Navy’s job to get soldiers to the fight, and to soften up the battlefield with offshore firepower. Still, the fewer vessels you have, the riskier each deployment, because a ship can’t be in two places at once. Due to the rapid increase in ship-borne trade, globalization favors large navies that protect trade and tanker routes. Additionally, while the United States remains a great naval power, it is no longer a maritime power; that is, we don’t have much of a merchant fleet left to support our warships in an emergency. We’ve been priced out of the shipbuilding market by cheap-labor countries in Asia. All of this puts us in a precarious position. History shows that powerful competitor navies can easily emerge out of nowhere in just a few decades. The vast majority of American ships that saw combat in World War II had not even been planned before the spring of 1941. The Indian navy, which may soon be the third-largest in the world, was not on many people’s radar screens at the close of the Cold War. Nor, for that matter, was the now- expanding Chinese submarine fleet. Robert Work told me that he believes the eventual incorporation of Taiwan into China will have the effect that the Battle of Wounded Knee had on the United States: It will psychologically close an era of national consolidation for the Chinese, thereby dramatically redirecting their military energies outward, beyond their coastal waters. Tellingly, whereas the U.S. Navy pays homage to Mahan by naming buildings after him, the Chinese avidly read him; the Chinese are the Mahanians now. Then there is the Japanese navy, which now operates 117 warships, including 16 submarines. In a sense, we’re back to 1890, when a spark of naval competition among rising powers like Japan, Germany, and the United States left Britain unable to maintain its relative advantage.
Decline Inevitable: Europe
European growth causes US hegemonic collapse
Parag Khanna is a senior research fellow in the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation, "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony", New York Times, 1/27/08, www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/magazine/27world-t.html?pagewanted=all

And Europe’s influence grows at America’s expense. While America fumbles at nation-building, Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream. Africa wants a real African Union like the E.U.; we offer no equivalent. Activists in the Middle East want parliamentary democracy like Europe’s, not American-style presidential strongman rule. Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past. More broadly, America controls legacy institutions few seem to want — like the International Monetary Fund — while Europe excels at building new and sophisticated ones modeled on itself. The U.S. has a hard time getting its way even when it dominates summit meetings — consider the ill-fated Free Trade Area of the Americas — let alone when it’s not even invited, as with the new East Asian Community, the region’s answer to America’s Apec.

No Primacy
Multipolarity Now

Robert D. Kaplan ( a national correspondent for the Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security) 12/17/08 “ A Gentler Hegemony” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/16/AR2008121602480.html

Of course we are entering a more multipolar world. The only economic growth over the next year or two will come from developing nations, notably India and China. But there are other realities, too. We should not underestimate the diplomatic and moral leverage created by the combination of the world's most expeditionary military and a new president who will boast high approval ratings at home and around the world. No power but the United States has the wherewithal to orchestrate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and our intervention in Iraq has not changed that fact. Everyone hates the word, but the United States is still a hegemon of sorts, able to pivotally influence the world from a position of moral strength. Yet American hegemony post-Iraq will be as changed as Britain's was after the Indian Mutiny. It will be a more benign and temperate version of what transpired in recent years. Henceforth, we will shape coalitions rather than act on our own. For that, after all, is the essence of a long and elegant decline: to pass responsibility on to like-minded others as their own capacities rise.
No Primacy
Dysfunctional political system.

Fareed Zakaria, Ph.D. from Harvard University, honorary degrees from Brown, the University of Miami, and Oberlin College, Trustee of Yale University, 2008, Foreign Affairs, “The Future of American Power: How America Can Survive the Rise of the Rest,” http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/63394/fareed-zakaria/the-future-of-american-power?page=show cp

The United States has been and can continue to be the world's most important source of new ideas, big and small, technical and creative, economic and political. (If it were truly innovative, it could generate new ideas to produce new kinds of energy.) But to do that, it has to make some significant changes. The United States has a history of worrying that it is losing its edge. Today's is at least the fourth wave of such concern since World War II. The first was in the late 1950s, a result of the Soviet Union's launching of the Sputnik satellite. The second was in the early 1970s, when high oil prices and slow growth convinced Americans that Western Europe and Saudi Arabia were the powers of the future. The third one arrived in the mid-1980s, when most experts believed that Japan would be the technologically and economically dominant superpower of the future. The concern in each of these cases was well founded, the projections intelligent. But none of the feared scenarios came to pass. The reason is that the U.S. system proved to be flexible, resourceful, and resilient, able to correct its mistakes and shift its attention. A focus on U.S. economic decline ended up preventing it.

The problem today is that the U.S. political system seems to have lost its ability to fix its ailments. The economic problems in the United States today are real, but by and large they are not the product of deep inefficiencies within the U.S. economy, nor are they reflections of cultural decay. They are the consequences of specific government policies. Different policies could quickly and relatively easily move the United States onto a far more stable footing. A set of sensible reforms could be enacted tomorrow to trim wasteful spending and subsidies, increase savings, expand training in science and technology, secure pensions, create a workable immigration process, and achieve significant efficiencies in the use of energy. Policy experts do not have wide disagreements on most of these issues, and none of the proposed measures would require sacrifices reminiscent of wartime hardship, only modest adjustments of existing arrangements. And yet, because of politics, they appear impossible. The U.S. political system has lost the ability to accept some pain now for great gain later on.

As it enters the twenty-first century, the United States is not fundamentally a weak economy or a decadent society. But it has developed a highly dysfunctional politics. What was an antiquated and overly rigid political system to begin with (now about 225 years old) has been captured by money, special interests, a sensationalist media, and ideological attack groups. The result is ceaseless, virulent debate about trivia -- politics as theater -- and very little substance, compromise, or action. A can-do country is now saddled with a do-nothing political process, designed for partisan battle rather than problem solving.

It is clever contrarianism to be in favor of sharp party politics and against worthy calls for bipartisanship. Some political scientists have long wished that U.S. political parties were more like European ones -- ideologically pure and tightly disciplined. But Europe's parliamentary systems work well with partisan parties. In them, the executive branch always controls the legislative branch, and so the party in power can implement its agenda easily. The U.S. system, by contrast, is one of shared power, overlapping functions, and checks and balances. Progress requires broad coalitions between the two major parties and politicians who will cross the aisle. That is why James Madison distrusted political parties, lumping them together with all kinds of "factions" and considering them a grave danger to the young American republic.

Progress on any major problem -- health care, Social Security, tax reform -- will require compromise from both sides. It requires a longer-term perspective. And that has become politically deadly. Those who advocate sensible solutions and compromise legislation find themselves being marginalized by their party's leadership, losing funds from special-interest groups, and being constantly attacked by their "side" on television and radio. The system provides greater incentives to stand firm and go back and tell your team that you refused to bow to the enemy. It is great for fundraising, but it is terrible for governing.
No Primacy
US primacy is over.
1. History proves.

Samuel A. Adamson, second-year MAIA candidate at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center and undergraduate degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, 10, Bolgona Journal of International Affairs, “Supreme Effort: A Lesson in British Decline” cp

When, in 1988, Jeffrey E. Garten asked the question “Is American Decline Inevitable?” one cannot help but draw the immediate conclusion, “Yes.” If ever history has presented one notably convincing and consistent model, it is that of the rise and fall of empires. Take, for example, A Study in History — the twelve volume magnum opus of historian Arnold J. Toynbee, detailing the growth, flowering and decline of over 20 major civilizations, ranging from the Egyptian, Andean and Sinic to the Mexican, Yucatec and Babylonic. It is of interest (in the context of Garten’s argument) to note that Toynbee himself remarks that, “Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.”2 His assertion may include a certain degree of hyperbole, but the general sentiment is one that deserves recognition and, indeed, has been the subject of growing attention in recent years.
2. Overstretch.

Samuel A. Adamson, second-year MAIA candidate at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center and undergraduate degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, 10, Bolgona Journal of International Affairs, “Supreme Effort: A Lesson in British Decline” cp

Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Paul Kennedy was drawing attention to the relative decline of the United States. In his seminal work The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Kennedy presents the thesis that due to the incessant fluctuations in relative strength between nations (resulting from technological, political, economic innovations, etc.), the power and influence of “leading nations” never remain constant. Consequently, such nations find themselves in a position where they are no longer able to fulfill the commitments they made at times of relatively greater prosperity, and the resulting misallocation of national resources leads to the beginning of decline. Kennedy labels this syndrome, “imperial overstretch” and, making reference to its extensive international obligations (“whose mere listing leaves one breathless”), identifies the United States as a possible sufferer, concluding that “the fundamental grand-strategical dilemma remains: the United States today has roughly the same massive array of military obligations across the globe as it had a quarter of a century ago, when its shares of world GNP, manufacturing production, military spending, and armed forced personnel were so much larger than they are now.”3

Even in a post-Soviet world, there is a continued use of the word “overstretch” with reference to the United States and its relative decline. Today, the contrastive subject is a rising China rather than a crumbling USSR, financial crises and trillion dollar wars are cited as evidence for American “overstretch.” Notably, Robert A. Pape of the University of Chicago makes extensive use of statistical data to paint a compelling portrait of a global power experiencing a significant loss in international influence and in particular identifies the beginning of a new and precipitous decline post-2000.

No Primacy

No grand strategy – expert consensus.

Walter A. McDougall, Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Fellow at FPRI, 10, Orbis, “Can the United States Do Grand Strategy?” accessed via ScienceDirect cp

If it was crazy, perhaps the second quotation suggests a good reason why.Strategic planning for American foreign policy is dead, dying, or moribund. This, at least, has been the assessment of several commentators and policy-makers in recent years. Michèle Flournoy and Shawn Brimley observed in 2006, “For a country that continues to enjoy an unrivaled global position, it is both remarkable and disturbing that the United States has no truly effective strategy planning process for national security.” At an academic conference in 2007, a former director of the State Department's policy planning staff complained that “six years after 9/11, we still don’t have a grand strategy”. . . . [And] Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass argues that the United States has “squandered” its post-cold war opportunity, concluding, “Historians will not judge the United States well for how it has used these twenty years.”

That lament introduces a new Brookings Institution volume, edited by Daniel Drexner, on the forgotten art of grand strategy.5
AT: Ikenberry, Mastanduno, and Wohlforth
They conclude collapse of hegemony is inevitable.

G. John Ikenberry, Michael Mastanduno and William C. Wohlforth, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, professor of government and associate dean for social sciences at Dartmouth College, and professor of government at Dartmouth College, 2009, World Politics, “Unipolarity, State Behavior, and Systemic Consequences,” accessed via Project MUSE cp

In the remainder of this introduction, we develop a framework for analyzing unipolarity and highlight the arguments of the articles that follow. The individual contributions develop hypotheses and explore the impact of unipolarity on the behavior of the dominant state, on the reactions of other states, and on the properties of the international system. Collectively, we find that unipolarity does have a profound impact on international politics. International relations under conditions of unipolarity force us to rethink conventional and received understandings about the operation of the balance of power, the meaning of alliance partnerships, the logic of international economic cooperation, the relationship between power and legitimacy, and the behavior of satisfied and revisionist states. A unipolar distribution of capabilities will eventually give way to other distributions. The argument advanced here is not that unipolarity will last indefinitely but rather that as long as it does last, it will constitute a critical factor in understanding patterns of foreign policy and world politics.

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