Friday, May 20, 2005

Pax Americana

A Solution, of Sorts

The time has come for Americans, defined as those citizens by birth or naturalization of the United State of America, to fully engage in a campaign of Pax Americana.

What is Pax Americana? Simply put, a modern day version of Pax Romana, suitably modified to conform to current realities.

Pax Romana, Latin for "the Roman peace," is the long period of peace experienced by states within the Roman Empire. The term stems from the fact that Roman rule and its legal system pacified regions, sometimes forcefully, which had suffered from the quarrels between rival leaders. During this time Rome still fought a number of wars against neighbouring states and tribes, most notably the Germanic tribes and Parthia. It was an era of relative tranquillity, in which Rome endured neither major civil wars, such as the perpetual bloodshed of the first century BC, nor serious invasions, such as those of the Second Punic War a century prior.

Pax Americana is a process, not an event. It is a long march to political, economic, intellectual and religious freedom to be enjoyed by all nations. It is an ideal and a dream. By judicious projection of power the United States, and allies, guide the direction of systems inside their sphere on influence. Specifically, I am NOT speaking of an empire...

1 a (1) : a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority; especially : one having an emperor as chief of state (2) : the territory of such a political unit b : something resembling a political empire; especially : an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control
2 : imperial sovereignty, rule, or dominion

but rather of a hegemony:

Etymology: Greek hEgemonia, from hEgemOn leader, from hEgeisthai to lead -- more at SEEK
: preponderant influence or authority over others

Allies means just that. Nations who already have or will adopt the necessary political, economic, intellectual and religious freedoms will join us in this campaign. Does the lead role have to be played by the United States? At this point in time, yes.

I can hear the screams already. What gives us the RIGHT to even think about this? That is just so hubristic! Well, yes, and no. I don't feel that our self-confidence is exaggerated, and I do feel that we already exercise preponderant influence over others. That influence is felt in economic and military spheres, and to a lesser extent in social, intellectual and political spheres. The current Bush administration is attempting this process somewhat. The effort needs to be expanded, solidified, and aggresively pursued.
Hindering this process is the fact that we in the United States are not in agreement as to how to accomplish this task, nor even if it should be done. This disagreement is evident through the reading of most any daily newspaper, many periodicals, television news and commentary, and the blogosphere. From the recent interview posted on Radio Bloggerby Hugh Hewitt with ABC News' Terry Moran (bolds mine)

TM: It comes from, I think, a huge gulf of misunderstanding, for which I lay plenty of blame on the media itself. There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing it's job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor.

I maintain that not only is this projection of power NOT wrong, but that it is in fact required and necessary, that we have a moral and ethical obligation to spread the concept and practice of freedom.

Walden Bello, in an article entitled Pax Romana versus Pax Americana: Contrasting Strategies of Imperial Management, offers some insightful observations (most of which I am in disagreement with):

After its successful invasion of Iraq, the US appears to be at the height of its power. One can understand why many feel the US is supreme and omnipotent. Indeed, this is precisely what Washington wants the world to think.


Nearly three millennia ago, another empire confronted the same problem of overextension. Its solution enabled it to last 700 years. The Roman solution was not just or even principally military in character. The Romans realized that an important component of successful imperial domination was consensus among the dominated of the "rightness" of the Roman order. As sociologist Michael Mann notes in his classic Sources of Social Power, the extension of Roman citizenship to ruling groups and non-slave peoples throughout the empire was the political breakthrough that won the mass allegiance among the nations dominated by the Romans. Political citizenship combined with the vision of the empire providing peace and prosperity for all to create that intangible but essential moral element called legitimacy.

Needless to say, extension of citizenship plays no role in the US imperial order. In fact, US citizenship is jealously reserved for a very tiny minority of the world's population, entry into whose territory is tightly controlled. Subordinate populations are not to be integrated but kept in check either by force or the threat of the use of force or by a system of global or regional rules and institutions--the World Trade Organization, the Bretton Woods system, NATO--that are increasingly blatantly manipulated to serve the interests of the imperial center.

The fact remains that the United States is, at present, THE preeminent power on this globe. Unilateralist charges from the nay-sayers aside, there ARE other countries who hold similar views as the United States. The United States needs to lead. Some of the others will join (or have already joined) eagerly, some will require persuasion, and all should be offered the opportunity. Persuasion should be as a result of projection of power. The type of power projected can be tailored to each situation as circumstance dictates.

The Romans usually had to apply military force to increase their empire. This involved time, treasure and travel. The United States should be able to accomplish a hegemony with time, treasure, and much less travel. In today's world Sri Lanka is next door to Germany, Belarus to El Salvador. Hugh Hewitt says:

How fast does information move? I interviewed Terry Moran yesterday at 3:40 to 4:15 PM, Pacific. The transcript was up at Radioblogger at 6:00 PM. Instapundit linked 40 minutes later, and my WeeklyStandard.com piece went up at midnight est. Taranto's Best of the Web headlined Moran's comments in today's edition, and bloggers have been chewing on them all day. I suspect that Moran's comments have been read by 90% of MSM elites and most of political Washington, and far more importantly, millions of American information junkies, who are talking about Moran's many admissions (with a degree of respect for his candor and his willingness to give the interview --see the comments at RightWingNuthouse, run by Moran's brother). It has been less than 24 hours.

In the National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson says:
The unsubstantiated rumor led to rioting and death in Afghanistan and general turmoil and rage across the Islamic world. Mullahs issued fatwas and the more lunatic even declared a "holy war." What explains the unsubstantiated story and why the hysterical reaction?

The superficial answer is that we now live in a globalized village — united by the marriage of satellite communications with cheap consumer goods. Someone sneezes in Texas and a few minutes later a villager in upper Russia can say "bless you." What an "in-the-know" Beltway insider conjures up as buzz in the "Periscope" section of the magazine for his American readers can cause death and mayhem hours later 7,000 a miles away in the Hindu Kush.

What Mr. Hanson so ably articulates in his column, in addition to the speed of information transfer, is the nature of the enemy in the GWOT (Global War on Terror, War on Terror, World War IV, whatever you chose to call it.) Defeat of this implacable foe is an absolute necessity in the implementation and winning of the GWOT.

There are two adversaries in this War, and against this hegemony; internal and external. Physical location does not necessarily determine which side one is on. Many supporters of this ideal reside in areas of the world normally associated with the enemy, and many of the enemy reside among us. The external enemy is relatively easy to identify, and although costly in lives and treasure, relatively easy to deal with. Internal enemies, on the other hand, are much more difficult to root out. They look like us, they act like us, they ARE us. And once rooted out and exposed, they are not as easy to deal with. When they betray the very freedoms that we demand by spreading malicious rumor and innuendo, by attempting to influence the manner in which we as a country will wage this War through political actions, by giving aid and comfort to the external enemies, or by opposing the national agenda from a 'Yes, but...' position,we cannot simply take them out and shoot them. They must be persuaded through reasoned logic or appeals to their self-interest. But persuaded they must be.

With the advent of the Internet, and particularly the blogosphere, information and ideas are indeed spread with the speed of light. (Even when the information and ideas are clearly wrong.) With the enormous (advertising, PR) talent pool available in the United States alone, propogating the necessary information should be a breeze. It still takes time and treasure to move armies and envoys, when they become necessary. Therefore, resources should be applied to diseminnation of information, which would hopefully preclude use of armies.

What stands in the way of an American and Allied hegemony, and total victory in the GWOT? Simply put, the political will of the United States, or lack thereof. Time will tell.

Note: Victor Davis Hanson has many columns available, and I recommend that you take some time to read them. Also, although I didn't reference him here, Mr. Bill Whittle has many fine and thought provoking essays at Eject! Eject! Eject! that I highly recommend.

Tagged as
, , , , , , , , , ,