When everything else is gone there is only one thing that will determine survival, will. Those that have it will triumph those that don't will perish. It is really that simple.Somewhere in the process of emerging from adolescence, most men realize that life lived from fight to fight is generally short lived and that those who always use their power to impose their will are bullies deserving to be put down hard. I've never seen a reason to tolerate bullies, and as I've noted before I am not a pacifist. I see even less reason to be a bully.
In my book, a man takes care of his own responsibilities to the best of his ability, cleans up his own messes, and lends a helping hand to those in need. He doesn't exploit others or put them down just because he can. The world of countries is a little more complicated than the world of men. However, even at its crudest, the secret of dealing successfully with other countries hinges on understanding the true extent of your power. Even the strongest country will be destroyed if it overextends itself.
It is also essential to understand that there is nothing more dangerous than those with nothing to lose. Those people either have to be annihilated or, more appropriately, built up to the point where they do have something to lose and by extension something to live for.
For America there will be some difficult transitions. On a long term basis, the rest of the world will not support our debt. On a long term basis, the rest of the world will compete with us for the world's resources and will not tolerate a wildly disproportionate share of those resources going to us if that means that their own people cannot enjoy similar comforts. Technology will hopefully soften the transition to a truly global economy. But shoving our heads in the sand, or believing that "real men" could continue to rule the world and its resources without regard to impact will not work.
Our own free economic model guarantees that wages will be paid where labor is cheapest following adjustments for productivity and that capital will be invested where it returns the greatest profit. Walls around our borders will not keep capital or jobs inside. The failure of the neocons rests in their belief that our power is effectively unlimited if we have the will -- a gross overestimate -- and that the rest of the world will go along with what we want whether or not it is consistent with their own needs -- a gross underestimate. However, like arguments of faith, the neocons always have their ultimate defense. We would have been right if only we had been willing to fight to the end. All failure of force can be blamed on lack of will by the weaklings and the appeasers.