Seven Lucks Of The
United States

By Der Voron

Here are America's main lucky breaks, shown in chronological order.
Luck No 1: Respectively, North America, Mexico, and most of South America, were colonies of Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal. (Florida and California were once Spain's colonies in North America.) With the exception of Canada, which was a part of British Empire until 1945, here is what happened after the colonies became independent:
Former British colonies united into one country (United States); and Former Spanish colonies did not unite into one country.
Perhaps this contributed to the independence gained by the former Spanish colonies. But this would also have made competition with the former British colonies (i.e., United States) harder, because they not only competed with the United States, but also with each other. Also, the United States could exploit frictions between the politically divided Latin American countries.
An example of this division could be observed in the destructive war between Paraguay, and a coalition of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. This conflict lasted from 1860 to 1870, and resulted in the complete destruction of Paraguay. Equally, this prolonged war damaged the economies of Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It seems to me that it was easier for the Latin Americans to call inhabitants of the United States "gringos", than it was for them to unite into one country. With the possible exception of Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the language issue wouldn't have presented a problem for them. All the rest spoke Spanish. In any case, the Portuguese language is closely related to Spanish.
Luck No 2: Lasting from 1861 to 1865, the US Civil War cost about one million lives, out of an approximate total of 60 million. But, somewhat fortuitously for Americans, and for unknown reasons, the most powerful countries of Europe -- (then) Great Britain, France, and the Russian Empire --didn't seize the initiative. None of them used this self-destructive war as an opportunity to try taking control over the United States. By simply supporting both sides (North and South), this self-destructive conflict could have been perpetuated, perhaps extending it as far as ten years. After that, these three countries could easily have shared a severely weakened United States between themselves.
If someone doubts that the Civil War was destructive, here are some numbers about the Russian Civil war of 1918-1921:
5 million dead of 180 million population. In other words, if Russia's population were 60mn then there would be about 1.650 million dead in this war (1/3). This is a number comparable to the dead count in America's Civil War...
Luck No 3: Right after the civil war, and seemingly like a gift to America, the Russian Empire sold Alaska (1.5 million sq. km.) to the US in 1867. Indeed, they sold Alaska to the US for a knock-down price, approximately equal to just one week's US budget at the time. This remarkable deal came complete with all towns and settlements that Russians could build in Alaska.
Luck No 4: Western European countries, the most powerful economy rivals to the US, destroyed themselves in World War I (1914-1918). Further to the carnage of the actual conflict, the post-war flu epidemic killed approximately 36 million more Europeans. Russia, whose economy had not been significantly worse than that of the United States prior to 1914, had been turned into a slave country by the Communist regime that followed the Bolshevik uprising of 1917. Indeed, the Soviet Union removed itself from involvement in world economic competition.
Luck No 5: West and East European countries "successfully" continued destroying themselves in World War II (1939-1945), by the end of which the United States had about 40% of the world's economy in its own hands. As a matter of fact, the US controlled 40% of the world economy, yet only had about 5% of the world's population. Great Britain lost almost all of its fleet, drowned down by German submarines, and thus become unable to control its dominions (Canada, Australia and what is now called India and Pakistan). One of reasons why the Great Britain lost its fleet was due to the fact that it stubbornly continued sending the ships to and from its dominions, being well aware of dangers that the submarines presented. Was it really possible to conduct military in such a foolish manner?
Luck No 6: In 1991 the second super-state, mighty Soviet Union, self- disbanded, its leaders willing to become "little kings" in their "own regions". Some people think that the Soviet Union crashed as a consequence of the Afghan War (1979-1988). But there had been far harder times in the Soviet Union's history, yet they had not caused it to crash.
Luck No 7: The strange inabilities of one of America's main rivals, namely the Russians. Here, I have listed only the principal faults in the Russian system:
Inability Number One: it seems Russians are incapable of assimilating other peoples (but they claim themselves to be a very advanced one; this is usually called "imperial thinking")
1) United States annexed California from Spain in 1848, 2) Russia annexed Ukraine from Poland back in 1648.
The primary population of the United States was of Anglo-Saxon origin, whilst California was primarily composed of Spaniards. The main population of Russia is Russian, and the main population of Ukraine is Ukrainian. Ukrainians are a Slavic people, somewhat closer to Russians than Spaniards are to the Anglo-Saxons.
However, during 150 years Anglo-Saxons assimilated California to such a degree that almost nobody there can perceive that it was once a province of Spain. During a period of 350 years, Russia, with its "imperial thinking", half-feudal and half-capitalist formation, could not succeed in assimilating the Ukraine. Unlike the assimilation of California into the union, Russians regard the Ukraine as being no more than a "Minor Russia" ("Malorossia" in Russian). This made for a relationship that was so bad that Ukraine left the union as soon as an "opportunity" arose, i.e. when the Soviet Union self-disbanded in 1991. (Finland, that Russia captured from Sweden after the defeat of Napoleon, left Russia back in 1918, after the infamous October revolution.)
A similar situation applied to almost every other member of the "former Soviet Union republics". Which ever case we care to examine, we see the same situation. Byelorussia, for instance, (in Russian this means, as strange as it may sound, "White Russia"). Its the same situation for Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and so-on.
Georgia, for example, was annexed by Russians, after they provided help to Georgia against Turkey ("Ottoman Empire"). The Georgian king decided to discuss with Russians some details of how they should be rewarded for their help. (Clearly, it would be better for him if he hadn't decided to discuss this in the first place.) Then Russians simply annexed Georgia and made it one of Russia's provinces.
If Russians didn't have this problem with "imperial thinking" they could yet annex and assimilate Bulgaria ("brothers Slavs"), perhaps Serbia and some other Yugoslav republics. In addition, they shouldn't have sold Alaska for one week United States budget. If they hadn't sold Alaska, today's Russian territory would be about 26 million square kilometres instead of pitiful 17 million, and a population of about 350 million instead of 145 million.
Inability Number Two: slavery widespread in Russia before so- called "cancellation of slavery" in 1861.
At first sight, it seems that the United States had a similar policy to Russia in this respect: they also had a slavery at that time. But let us look at this a little more attentively, and we will see differences.
1) In the United States, only "blacks" were considered slaves, i.e. people captured in Africa, and those whom many Anglo-Saxons (and other whites) considered to be alien to them at that time. In Russia, however, even ethnic Russians could find themselves becoming slaves.
2) When, after a very risky war of 1861-1865 (why it was risky, see Luck No 2), the United States liberated the blacks, they were given money to be able to begin new life (about $40,000 for each family in today's money). In Russia, however, white slaves were given freedom without any bloodshed, or economic destruction. But these former white slaves didn't receive anything even close to an equivalent of $40,000. In this case, quite the opposite is true. These former slaves were obliged to pay their former "owners", because, voyez vous, if a slave owner (in Russian "pomEschik" or, for a female, "pomEschitsa") didn't have slaves anymore, then his or her income decreased. This meant that the slave owner needed money back from the former slaves.
In comparison, a similar policy on slavery had existed in European countries during, and prior to, the 18th century. But in almost all of them, slavery had been abolished by the end of 18th, or at the beginning of 19th century. This was some 60 years before Russia's "cancellation of slavery".
Inability Number Three: Russians often think that if they were successful in the past, then they don't need to change anything in the future. Examples of this include:
1) Russians brilliantly (and I mean brilliantly, without any exaggeration) won the campaign against Napoleon's Europe in 1812- 1815. For instance, at the end of 1812, and beginning of 1813, European troops lost about 570 thousand, of the 600 thousand that had invaded Russia in the summer of 1812. In stark comparison, the Russians lost barely 60 thousand of their 400 thousand army. Yet, in this very same period, Russia had to fight with Sweden in the North, and with Turkey ("the Ottoman Empire") in the South.
This war, at all three fronts, ended with a Russian victory: they captured Poland from Napoleon's France, and imposed a French capitulation, captured Finland from Sweden, and some Transcaucasian territories from Turkey.
What did Russians decide after such brilliant victories? I give you three attempts to guess...They decided that their social formation (half-capitalist relationships with Russian farmers under slavery) was perfectly OK, since it was seemingly this arrangement that allowed them to achieve such brilliant victories. Therefore, there was no need to change anything -- to free the slaves, for example. This was done in 1861, only after the loss of the Crimea War of 1854- 1855; above we have described how it was done. It seems that, if the Russians had won the Crimean campaign, then they would not have "cancelled" their slavery until about 1895...
2) In 1945, Russians won the World War Two, this time without any brilliance. They had put over 20 million lives to the altar of this victory. (United States, another winner in this war, lost about 500 thousand people). In the end of this war, the Russian army consisted of about 10 million soldiers and officers, many of them were novices. They were taken into the army, in order to replace the cannon fodder that Russian butcher generals had expended in previous battles... well, not all of Russian generals were butchers. Rokossovsky, for example, the best Russian general in World War Two, was a very kind person and talented general (the Russian army under his command suffered minimum losses). And, for example, Rokossovsky was able to give all of his reward to an orphan-asylum. He did a similar thing in Poland. Unfortunately for him, Rokossovsky was born Polish. As Rokossovsky himself later told, he was "Polish in Russia and a Russian in Poland", where he was the head of Soviet occupational command. Truly, if there had been fewer butchers among Russian generals, then the Russian army at the end of World War Two could have numbered some 20 million experienced soldiers and officers, with almost no novices.
What did Russians decide after such a hard victory? I again give you three attempts to guess. They decided that nothing had to be changed in their military planning (irrespective of the fact that this had cost them over 20 million lives) because they had won the World War Two. It seems that they still prepare for coming battles, using the "schemes" of the Second, and sometimes even of the First world war (positional battles and, maybe even frontal attacks against machine guns, mines, and mortars).
Inability Number Four: Russia's capacity to find, and involve, allies is very poor. When the United States started their operation in Iraq in 2003, they had at least two reliable allies, whose contribution to the war was not symbolic: Great Britain and Poland. An example of Russia's ineptitude includes this abysmal failure:
When the Soviet Union started its war in Afghanistan in 1979, it fought it alone. It did so, even though it could have sought the assistance of other countries within the Warsaw Treaty Organization (which included the Soviet Union itself). It could have made use of communist Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary etc. In other words, with a little persuasive negotiation, Russia could have deployed Eastern European troops in Afghanistan.
By now you should understand how luck and favourable circumstances contributed to the success of the United States, and, therefore, how it rose to become the world's most powerful state. We believe that you should read Maurice Druon's novel about the crash of France in 14th century, "Quand un roi perd la France". It describes how bad rulers destroyed the most powerful European country of those times. European rulers from 1914 to 1945 were no cleverer.
...Luck was a Lady for the United States.
Could Lady Luck be running out?
Der Voron is a freelance writer and the author of book Starcraft.
He lives in Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota.




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