British naval power dominated the world's oceans during the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th. Then the American colossus boldly stepped into the gap for the balance of the 20th century. But just as Britain's dominance at sea rapidly declined due to new fiscal realities after World War II, so does American military power face a new and dismal economic reality.
If wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and military intervention in Libya and Yemen weren't enough, the United States faces serious challenges from Chinese military ambitions in the Pacific. Previously some deemed this vast ocean as practically an American lake. Yet recently a Chinese official suggested that China should control the Pacific west of Hawaii.
China is also making rapid gains in advanced military technology. Several years ago it showed it could shoot down satellites orbiting the earth. It has recently conducted test flights of its first stealth fighter jet and is launching its first aircraft carrier this summer. It's building new submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles. China's advanced anti-ship missiles are a clear threat to U.S. naval forces in the Pacific, including aircraft carriers.
Why has the Republic of China found it necessary to increase its missiles targeted at Taiwan from 1,328 to 1,410, as recently reported? What is the mentality at work here? War with China may never happen, but hostility clearly remains and even increases.
Ironically, Americans are themselves financing these threats through massive imports of Chinese-made goods and staggering deficit spending made possible by the Chinese buying American debt!
U.S. military spending under threat
As these threats grow, what is happening to the U.S. military?
The British newsmagazine The Economist recently observed: "Amid all the agonising over America's ballooning debt, the once sacrosanct defence budget, which represents half of all discretionary federal spending, is no longer off limits. Even some Republicans . . . concede that defence has to be 'on the table' if a serious assault on trillion-dollar annual deficits is to be launched" ("Threatening a Sacred Cow," Feb. 12, 2011).
In May, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a warning about coming cuts. The Associated Press reported from Washington, "In a parting shot by one of the longest serving Pentagon chiefs, Robert Gates on Tuesday warned that shrinking defense budgets will mean a smaller military and a diminished American role in the world" ("Gates: Big Cuts Will Shrink U.S. Influence," May 25, 2011).
Secretary Gates noted that "a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things" (ibid.).
Severe cuts in U.S. military spending will not make Chinese and Iranian challenges go away—not to mention the still-simmering Iraqi conflict, the hot war in Afghanistan, the uncertain Libyan dilemma and our ongoing worries about Pakistan.
America and Britain reaching a crossroads
Financially both Britain and America find themselves at a disturbing crossroads.
Throughout much of the 20th century Britain was able to aid and abet American efforts to face down the world-ruling ambitions of powerful dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Tojo. More recently Anglo-American joint efforts have concentrated on coping with conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.
Repeatedly Britain has been the United States' strongest ally. However, recent developments have called into question the ability of the United Kingdom to continue in that role indefinitely.
The UK's military cuts have been severe. Yet British Defence Secretary Dr. Liam Fox notes that "it is easy to forget that Britain remains the world's fifth biggest economy, with the world's fourth biggest defence budget . . . An island nation like Britain, with so many interests in so many parts of the world—92 per cent of trade moving by sea, [with] around 10 per cent of our citizens living abroad—is inevitably going to be affected by global instability" ("Holding the Line Against a Future Full of Uncertainties," The Sunday Telegraph, Feb. 27, 2011).
Still the severity of these cuts must be addressed. Wrote Daily Mail defense columnist Ian Drury: "Scrapping the RAF's [Royal Air Force's] £4.1 billion fleet of new Nimrod spy planes will weaken Britain's defences by leaving a 'massive' security gap, leading military figures and MPs have warned . . . Defence Secretary Liam Fox admitted in November  that getting rid of the Nimrods was a 'calculated risk.' But ministers were determined to press on, claiming it will save the cash-strapped MoD [Ministry of Defence] £2 billion over the next ten years" ("Axing New Nimrods Is a Huge Risk Say Top Brass," Jan. 23, 2011).
When sheer lack of funds dictates military preparedness, American and British defenses will be gravely compromised.
Armaments are only part of the American picture
World and national affairs magazines are currently debating the question of American decline. Is it an uncomfortable reality or only a temporary mirage? Observers seem to be divided about 50-50. Yet all freely acknowledge the serious nature of national challenges on both domestic and foreign fronts.
America cannot effectively separate the prospect of serious military cuts with the general decline of its national condition. Ultimately, everything stands or falls together.
As it stands today, American military strength still dominates every other nation by large margins. But if—as recent trends indicate—that military gap were substantially bridged in the future, we would have a far different story on our hands. America's vulnerability to enemies would become painfully apparent.
By then it may be too late to turn to God and seek the help of our Creator. Remember the words of God through the prophet Ezekiel: "'When a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,' says the Lord God" (Ezekiel 14:14 Ezekiel 14:14Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, said the Lord GOD.
American King James Version×; compare Jeremiah 15:1 Jeremiah 15:1Then said the LORD to me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.
American King James Version×).
There will come a point of no return. Inevitably a tipping point will arrive.
The all-important biblical background
The United States and Britain cannot escape history. Surprisingly, the Bible and history reveal that their respective national DNAs reach back to the patriarch Joseph in the book of Genesis.
The God of Israel marked off a special responsibility for the British and American peoples toward the time of the end. Their military and economic might was foretold in Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. Their cultural influence enabled the two nations to take the message of the Bible to the entire world.
But overall, how have they performed? Have they fulfilled what God wanted them to do? The enormous material gifts bestowed on the two nations by the Creator puts them in a position of great responsibility, requiring a very high standard of moral conduct. Yet the last 50 years have seen ever-increasing degrees of moral failure.
In just the last 10 years the United States has witnessed a 25 percent hike in unmarried couples living together. People no longer honor the God-given marriage institution. Instead we carelessly tolerate "alternative lifestyles," including homosexual marriage, contrary to clear biblical teaching.
The Ten Commandments are going out of style in America and Britain. A recent survey published by USA Today shows that nearly half the American populace hardly ever even opens a Bible. The current situation in Britain and its partner countries in the Commonwealth of Nations reflects similar symptoms of serious national decline.
A proverb of King Solomon states, "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord" (Proverbs 21:31 Proverbs 21:31The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
American King James Version×). Cut off from the help of our Creator whom we have rejected, even military strength cannot and will not save us.
If we continue to allow our morals to drift into the proverbial cesspit, our national downfall is certain. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."