1. wow May 24, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

    nice post..im a republican but i feel you..shit needs to change..either we become an empire and dominate with military force, or get our shit together and stop focusing on agressive tactics to be a world superpower..it can only continue like this for so long

  2. Franklin May 24, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    Hey, what can I say. As a Republican it is your task to retake control of the Republican party.
    Problem with being an empire is that we are going to lose our democracy (you can’t have both), so I guess we will need to figure out how to be a republic again.
    Thanks for the comment

  3. Anonymous July 2, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

    well done

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  6. Ryan August 21, 2008 @ 3:07 am

    America has trouble WINNING modern wars due to the politics. If politics were not involved we would destroy any nation including China. Its not about money its about heart. Americans are the original world changing rebels/terrorists, we invented modern dirty war. If any country tried to invade us the division you see on the news between us now would disappear we would unite and win. Don’t ever for a second forget about whats inside of the AMERICAN. The instinct, this American need to be free has gone unnoticed and forgotten because we haven’t really had to use it, but if we are attacked again, or seriously threatened in any way, we will win. Talk about a super power, America might one day decide to stop being so nice and just officially take over the world. I for one would approve.

  7. Anonymous August 28, 2008 @ 10:21 am

    This was extrimly boring

  8. Hank September 2, 2008 @ 5:26 am

    With the large population, natural reserves and talents US without using the force could still be the economical power of the world however wrong political decisions. It’s a dream which will never come true. Look at Canada, larger country, not the perfect weather, less population and the economy is growing everyday. Canada has on of the highest GDPs and basically no enemies! What’s wrong with that? the 1.2 trillion dollars military expenditures could solve many many many issues.

  9. MISG September 26, 2008 @ 2:29 am

    with the Russian Federation economy boosting as it did after the cold war with in a very short time it is no more safe for the Americans to adopt the policy they have towards the middle east and the rest of the world as it can be deadly if Russia(Crazy Putin) decides to delver what they probably have seen as a choice to deliver a mass destruction weapon for Iran or Venezuela for it will be a strike from other country and minimal delivery time from neighboring country like Venezuela and not only that the other day i was reading about anti missile technology of the Russian Federation and i noticed they are continuously focusing on long rang missile system and of course anti missiles technology that are capable of taking down our stealth fighter jets >>and don’t forget after the new F22 Raptor the us came up with it didn’t even take them 10 years of research for the Russian’s like us to come up with SU-37Flanker just to match it and to be better they came up with SU-37Berkut and also the new T-90 Tank is also much better than our M1A2 Abrams and don’t even talk about there new T-95 which are only in prototype for now (and i hope they stay that way)may God be with all of us all.

  10. Isaiah November 4, 2008 @ 4:12 am

    its all politics now…the people have once again lost control of what the government does, spends, etc. Its now in the hands of rich power hunger maniacs, republicans AND democrats. everything went full circle and we’re back to a point where the government and mainly the executive is doing what they want, when they want without any approval or concern for the majority. its like Thomas Jeffereson said, “Every generation needs a new revolution”….i say its about that time.

  11. avildsen December 9, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

    if china asked usa to pay them back, im sure usa would frame china to be a terorist and invade them. the american people would believe it and support it as they believed iraq was a threat. nationalism/fascism in usa is growing on a daily basis, and no one dares to challenge the status quo. just walk around usa and see how many flags you can count.

  12. Mocsk February 16, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    “Not even the Soviet Union, which had lesser human rights standards than the US, was able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, even after more than 10 years of conflict (a conflict that took the Soviet Union to its demise).”

    The Afghanistan war:
    July 1979 – first soviet forces move into the country (after the 13th(!) request of so by the legitimate Afghany government – all previous request were denied).
    January 1989 – the last soviet military operation in the country, by 15th February all forces left the country.
    Not more than 10 years of conflict, but 9,5 years.

    Taliban was created in September 1994. The war in Afghanistan – 1979-1989. 5 years difference at least.

    The territory of the country was entirely under control of the Soviet forces. Lost around 15,000 people. The Afghany losses – unclear, somewhere 1,000,000 militants. The militants were widely funded by the west (mostly – the US) by money and weapons (the most widely seen on photographs and documentary – FIM-92 Stinger, manufactured in the USA).

    For comparison.
    Troop Casualties in Iraq by May 2007 – 4,236 US troops;
    Non-U.S. Troop Casualties – Total 315, with 178 from the UK;

    Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed – 8,887;
    Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated – 55,000;
    Funding of Iraqi military from abroad – none. Weapons – 20+ y.o. Soviet.

    “Not even the Soviet Union,…, was able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, even after more than 10 years of conflict… .”
    Think again?

    To MISG,
    SU-37 Flanker-F (Flanker is SU-27) and SU-47 Berkut (not SU-37) are prototypes, flying laboratories. The technologies are to be used on the 5th gen. fighter PAK FA (the first flight – estim. August 2009).
    The T90 tank has lower characteristics than Abrams M1A2, though its modification, T90A, and its domestic rival, T80UM-1, are both considered to have higher characteristics than any other tank in the world. T95 is to be shown in 2009 as well.
    About everything else you wrote – don’t be a paranoid psycho, the Russian Federation has no interest in destroying the United States (including through exporting nuckes to countries such as Venezuela), as long as the United States have no intentions of seizing Russian natural resources, be it by military actions, war of propaganda (e.g. destabilizing the country, funding revolutions, splitting it, etc.), or another arms race.

  13. Franklin February 17, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

    You completely miss the bigger point. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are paid with debt, not wealth and they brought American economy to its knees.

    The large amount of weaponry the US has today, could have at some point the same entertainment value as the USSR weaponry in the 90s. Same reasons, different collar.

    Your cost of war numbers seem understated. But more importantly, you must understand that military supremacy is relative, and it is a function of the economy.

    President Obama seems to use sightly higher figures: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/

    He used to mention: Strains on the Military: More than 1.75 million servicemen and women have served in Iraq or Afghanistan; more than 620,000 troops have completed multiple deployments.

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  15. Ronny Raygun! May 12, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

    This is probably the most assinine thing I have read in a long time. National wealth is not determined by account balances of governments. The value of United States real estate alone is in the multiple trillions ie our private homes. The author is just playing games with insignifigant numbers. Resevres with the IMF? Oh my I had to laugh at that one. According to the figures in the last set Bill Gates is worth more than the richest country on earth. Just let me tell everyone this, while our national debt is huge the lionshare of it is owed to ourselves namely the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Our debt ratios even after 2008 are well within the standards required for a AAA soveriegn credit rating. It is true that GDP is not the only measure of a countries wealth but the United States has the most technically advanced economy in the world, we have brand recognition around the globe and we can project power anywhere on the planet within hours. Without a doubt the United States is the richest most powerful country on the planet PERIOD!

  16. Franklin May 15, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    It’s 2009. Not 2004 anymore. Not sure any of arguments hold any water.

  17. deathwithamerica July 24, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    america cannot stand up to china with there immense number of troop, and america has very weak nuclear power russia has the power to destroy the u.s. with there god like nucklear power unless another country steps in to stop russia if a war between russia and the u.s. takes place america is DEAD oh wait china is on russias side the u.s. has no chance in hell russia has missiles that can defeat any anti-missile- defnese system on the planet look it up, russia has the best missile defense on the planet can even detect stealth airplanes look it up

  18. Anonymous January 20, 2010 @ 1:58 am

    Every major empire eventually falls.What you think is going to happen to US? We live on borrowed money.We produce less and less every decade.Euro has more value than dollar and could become major currency around the world. We are going down fast. And for all of you goofballs that think we could take over China or Russia.We have lost or could not finish a war since WWII. We are very ignorant and for most part uneducated. How about we fix that first, OK?

  19. Anonymous February 12, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    cant buy me love

  20. The Imperial General February 28, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    Well…..I put it like this. It looks like a war path to me. I’m in all this debt, right. Falling behind on all the list, but, I have all these weapons though……? Looks like it’s time to get money. If I spent 540 billion on weapons……!!!! DO you understand how much money I would have. Let’s all be adults here, war is war. There is no point of fighting a losing war. If I’m going to war, meaning we can’t talk about the problem at this point (remember, I spend 540 bill. on weapons.) I’m going to totally obliterate you and take all resources, money, goods, services lol.

  21. Anonymous May 3, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Did you try breaking down the debt of the United States. Yes, we have a ton of debt but of that debt only 3 trillion is external debt. Which is government bonds that get rolled over. The largest portion of the debt is owed to the American people through Medicare and Social Security. The fact that you called the debt of America “external” makes me feel that you have never taken a basic economic course in your life.

The Richest Country On Earth

Economy Comments (21)

If you thought the richest country on earth was the United States, you were wrong. If you thought it was China, you may be right. The truth is, it is pretty damn difficult to determine which country is the richest one on earth. This is because answering that question implies answering a broader question: “What is to be rich”, but we can always try.

Whenever referring to the US economy, you will hear that it is the biggest economy in the world. That claim rests on the fact that the US has the largest GDP in the world. However, being the fattest cat in the alley does not mean you are the healthiest one, you could be bloated and malnourished.

The following table will provide a few minutes of comfort to Americans who still think the US is a powerful economy.

Country GDP (purchasing power parity)
United States










United Kingdom










There are two problems however with that table. The first problem is that it measures GDP, and GDP itself has a number of methodological problems. You can see part of the discussion at Wikipedia. But let’s say that GDP is a measure of all the economic transactions in a country, not of the wealth those transactions produce or not. To give you an example, 200 people exchanging one $100 bill a million times will give you a higher measure than 10 people exchanging $1,000,000 one time each. So per se, GDP is meaningless to measure the economic power of a country.

The other problem with the table is the “purchasing power parity” issue. What you see for the other countries is the sum of all goods and services produced in that country, priced in US Dollars. Now, this table has data from 2007 and the value of the Dollar has declined against the rest of the currencies (or should have declined, were there not fixed exchange rates in some of those countries). So, adding up the problems with the GDP methodology, and the lack of data about exchange rates, that table is pretty much useless. Little comfort there for Americans.

If we measure riches in terms of Reserve Assets (monetary gold, special drawing rights, reserve position in the IMF, foreign exchange assets and other claims), we get a slightly different picture.

Country Reserve Assets Billions of US Dollars
China, People’s Republic of


Russian Federation








Korea, Republic of


















Can’t find the USA on the list? Ouch… Under this measure it is the people of Kazakhstan who should making fun of us, not the other way around. As a matter of fact, the US ranks 130, under countries like Burundi and Sierra Leone, with only Germany, Finland and Denmark being “poorer”. So, maybe other countries saved more money than us, but they are not richer only for that reason, are they? From a conservative and monetarist point of view, you are forced to admit that Sudan is richer than Denmark. That pretty much should kill any further argument with fiscal conservatives, but we know that they are pretty resilient. Stinginess by itself is not a measure of wealth.

According to Dick Cheney, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”, as he told former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, one month before firing him. Well, he’d better be right, because if deficits do matter, the US is the poorest country in the world and the following are the richest ones.

Country Current account balance






Saudi Arabia














United Arab Emirates


The mere fact that the US has the biggest deficit in the world, and that this happened during a Republican administration, should convince every single Republican that if they are fiscal conservatives, they are backing the wrong horse. But we know how resilient stupid ideas can be, so I will not expect any single republican to do a mea culpa and retire from public life for the rest of his or her life.

To try to figure out which one is the richest country on earth, I’ve used the current account balance and the current external debt. That should give us an idea of the ability of the country to use borrowed money to create internal surplus.

Country Current account balance minus External Debt
Saudi Arabia


















Trinidad and Tobago


Again, the US does not show on this table among the 10 richest countries. Actually, by this measure it ranks 147 (at the bottom of the list).

And yet, this way of measuring how rich the country is does not take into account the size of the economy (the GDP) so it may be unfair.

In trying to come up with a realist picture, I calculated how much of the total economy of a country it would be needed to pay off both internal deficits and debt. This will give us a better idea of the health of a country because many of the components of GDP balance out with debt components. For instance, a big component of US GDP is Government expenses, which in our case gets reduced by the Account balance deficit and external debt, thus reducing the size of the economy.

The following table ranks the countries based on what percentage of their total economy deficits and external debt are. This is the table of countries without deficits.

Country Account Balance-Debt/GDP










Saudi Arabia




Trinidad and Tobago










Again, by this measure, the United States ranks 126, between Lebanon and Australia.

The Most Powerful Country on Earth

If you are convinced of the might of the United States, at this point you are dismissing all the data on this post. You don’t know how but for sure all this data is manipulated to make the United States look bad. For you there can’t be another explanation because you know that the United States is the mightiest country on earth.

You may smirk and say, “So, if the US has the biggest government deficit, is the biggest debtor, and has one of the lowest saving levels in the world, how come it is still a world power?”

The answer may be on the following table from Wikipedia showing data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Rank Country Military expenditures, USD Date of information
World Total


2006 est.

1 United States



2 United Kingdom



3 France



4 China



5 Japan



6 Germany



7 Russia


2006 est.

8 Italy



9 Saudi Arabia



10 India



11 South Korea



12 Australia



13 Canada



14 Brazil



15 Spain



As you can see, the United States spends roughly 10 times more than the next country on the list to strong arm the rest of the countries of the world to finance its deficits. The funny thing is that the external debt of the US is $12,250,000,000,000, so all the military might of the US is on borrowed money.

You would say that, with such military might, the US should be able to solve the Iraq war. However, the last country who was able to overpower the Iraqi people was England. Are we going to resort to the methods the British Empire used to maintain control of Iraq? Are we ready to bomb any group of more than 10 people? Are we ready to bomb villages with time-delayed bombs so the villagers can’t get back to their homes? Are we willing to impose a regime of terror and torture? To kill civilians indiscriminately?

Our military power is designed to fight other armed forces. Armies like ours are ill prepared for conducting war amongst civilians if the rules of engagement respect the lives of civilians. Not even the Soviet Union, which had lesser human rights standards than the US, was able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, even after more than 10 years of conflict (a conflict that took the Soviet Union to its demise).

Continuing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will certainly bring the demise of the United States. So you need to ask yourself, how long until other countries (rich countries, for that matter) stop lending us money so we can feel powerful? How long until they start to strong-arm us into submission to their needs?

My guess is that if you were born after 1945, you have a pretty good chance to see the tide reversing.

However, there is a way out. We still live in a democracy and we can still influence the destiny of our country. We need to be smart about it, though. It is time to be real patriotic and stop the path of ruin the Bush administration put the country on. In the name of patriotism, they have put our country on the brink of being forced into submission by foreign powers, and it is now our patriotic duty to reverse course, and make our country strong again. Strong for real.

All the data is available at the linked sites and at the CIA – The World Factbook.

Franklin @ April 21, 2008

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