What would happen if the United States broke up into two new nations – New America, and Alinsky? How powerful would the new nations be, with respect to each other, and with respect to other countries?
The Mises Institute published several articles addressing the issue of national power, based on ideas developed by Michael Beckley and Paul Bairoch. They came to the conclusion that the simplest metric predicting outcomes in international conflicts is this: multiply the nominal GDP of a country by its nominal GDP per capita.
Beckley found that his metric successfully predicted the outcomes of most of the major prolonged international conflicts in the last 200 years. However, his metric predicts lopsided advantages for the United States versus China, and especially the United States versus Afghanistan. Clearly the Beckley metric exaggerates the importance of conventional warfare.
Nevertheless, I thought it would be a useful exercise to follow the Mises Institute’s lead and use this metric to examine international power as it stands today, as well as the results of a presumed break-up of the United States. Here are three of their articles:
For the Mises Institute, the two successor states of the United States have 27 conservative states, and 23 leftist states + DC respectively. Of the purple states I have shown in previous maps, Arizona and Georgia join the conservative grouping; Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin join the leftist grouping. Obviously this split does not consider the issue of regional secessions from states.
I modified the Beckley metric to make the competition between nations somewhat more equal, and therefore more difficult for the more powerful country to achieve a decisive victory. I did so by making two changes. 1) I replaced nominal GDP per capita by PPP (purchasing power parity) GDP per capita; this reflects what may be a higher or lower cost of living in each country. 2) After multiplying nominal GDP by PPP GDP per capita, I took the square root, so that increased GDP is not counted twice in the multiplication.
The result is shown in the map below for currently existing nations. The most powerful nation, the United States, is blue; less powerful nations are green, brown, and red.
Below is a table of the power of the most powerful nations, according to this modified Beckley index, assuming the current power of the United States is 100.
On this same scale, Brazil scores 12.3, and India scores 11.1.
Notice that even after a break-up, the two successor states to the United States each remain more powerful than any other nation, so we need not fear an imminent invasion.