THREE PHASES CIVILIZATION COLLAPSE
PODA-Back To Tribal Warfare
Obviously by now you are aware that surplus energy allows larger groups to prosper. In an energy decline, groups shrink and the means to expand is short circuited. Just as in an expansion one action feeds another and accelerates the progress, so it works in reverse under. Every small set back makes all other actions more difficult and nowhere is this more obvious than in the realm of the military. You need more troops and more raw materials to feed the troops which is predicated on having more population which needs more resources to multiply. Without a growth in population, or a transportation network or control of areas with ore, your military can’t grow. And as you don’t grow other upstarts are constantly challenging you and further exhausting your resources. And since you can’t grow you can’t do anything other than shrink in size and once you have shrunk you can’t expand again even with a surplus because now you are surrounded by hostile forces that are the same size as you and will ally to stop your expansion because a threat to one means a threat to them all. You can’t return to empires or even nation states until after some time all this stops being a self- reinforcing cycle. Everyone runs around in circles screaming like wounded rabid monkeys about how the Federal government is going to form a dictatorship or how the UN will take over the US by kicking in all the patriots doors and steal their plastic poodle shooters. We are in an energy decline. Political units don’t expand in energy decline. You are merely seeing further centralization but that is just kicking the can down the road, not building a new Union Of Kenyan Socialist People’s Republics ( unless that country is smaller than the one we have now ).
Warfare, for some time to come after the collapse, will be small scale. With shrinking political units comes the collapse of trade and with that comes the inability to procure all the necessary instruments of war. Let’s take a large land area, my own, the Great Basin which is basically all of Nevada except Las Vegas ( that craphole was originally in the Arizona Territory and I wish they had stayed with that state, being a parasite on the rest of Nevada ) and a smidge of Utah. Technically a sliver of Oregon and Idaho also join in but for all intents and purposes the state of Nevada IS the Great Basin. You have enough rain for grass on the eastern section to support herding and that is about it for the state outside mechanized mining. You have one route through the state and that is the Humboldt “River” ( it’s a pathetic sluggish stream, yet for these parts it’s a river ). One would think that cavalry units headquartered out of the east could easily control this corridor and control most of the basin. They could, when it was only the Indians horsing around and sending raiding parties down to Vegas to capture Digger Indian slaves ( I think this historical norm forever poisoned the south/north relations ). Once you had gunpowder weapons this dynamic was no longer possible. Where are you going to get components from? The closest sulfur deposits I’m aware of are in Texas. How do you control access to that area? You need a heck of a lot more surplus energy than wild horse fodder to control that thousand plus mile trade route. You are now an empire without munitions.
A very interesting factoid from World War Two was that France was invaded along a transportation route that was largely built on the old Roman road. Geological features don’t change enough to matter and over fifteen hundred years later armies still use the same infrastructure to fight over the same farmland. Infrastructure is something that takes a long time to install and use to increase your surplus energy you needed in the first place to install the infrastructure. When you allow that infrastructure to degenerate you multiply other factors. Like having an effective military ( as the US has more and more need for foreign oil, it shrinks its navy which is needed to police ocean trade routes, which endangers its oil supply which, when it shrinks, will further decrease the oil it gets ). Here in the US we have a transportation system totally dependent on imported oil, using an infrastructure allowed to degenerate, feeding ourselves from degenerating soil using imported oil, all held together by a military allowed to degenerate ( allowing females into combat roles is only one sign of many of the rot and decay ). The US will be one of the first to collapse and its fall will be the sharpest. And hence its recovery will be the longest. We will not see a return to the years of Eastern factories supplying cowboys. We instead will mimic the devolution of China in the early twentieth century to an anarchy of rival warlords ravaging the countryside back and forth, and a foreign intervention like Japan because of the weakness. And with each destructive battle the spoils will decrease and the smaller the political units and the size of the armies ( without a foreign intervention and occupation which long term allows a recovery. The intervention will be a grab for spoils and then a departure ) until in the end we have another few centuries of Dark Ages to go through ( the vicious part will be over soon from lack of resources, the long drawn out period to follow will see more limited-if constant- conflict ).
All of my links and information: