AMERICA'S EMPIRE OF TRUST
By Alan Caruba
Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in America doesn’t stay in America. As the world’s sole superpower, the man we select to be our President becomes the de facto president of the world, insofar as his decisions reach into dusty villages in Afghanistan, affect global stock and commodity markets, and can determine the success or failure of movements toward freedom everywhere.
There would be no “Pax Americana,” if we were seen to abandon our allies.
The similarities between the ancient Roman Empire and the young American Empire are examined in an excellent book by Dr. Thomas F. Madden, Empires of Trust: How Rome Built -- And America Is Building -- A New World (2008, Dutton/Penguin).
When I was born in the late 1930s, America was a resolutely isolationist nation. We didn’t want to get involved in European wars. We had gotten into World War I because our ships were attacked by German submarines. When it was over, we pulled out our troops.
Not so for World War II, yet another conflict we resisted joining until the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the end of that war, we left troops in Europe to fend off the threat of the Soviet Union. We left troops in Japan to occupy it until constitutional democracy could be introduced to replace absolute rule by the Emperor. In both cases, we spent billions to rebuild these shattered nations.
American troops are still in Europe and still in Japan. Though asked to withdraw from Iraq, a contingent of American troops will remain there long into the future, and it is likely, too, that they shall be in Afghanistan as well. Americans were twice forced to invade Iraq; initially to force them out of Kuwait and, after 9/11, to remove Saddam Hussein, a threat to the entire region, but most particularly to Saudi Arabia, a major source of oil to the West.
While America always invades as part of a “coalition,” that is a charade, because no other nation has the military strength and power to swiftly bring an offending nation to heel. It is not the conquest that is difficult. It is the clean up afterwards.
In point of fact, America maintains military units all over the world, and they are there by invitation. Another element of America’s Empire of Trust is that the wars in which we have engaged since the end of World War II have all been in distant places. That pattern began with the Korean conflict in the 1950s. That was followed by the distress when America took over the conflict in Vietnam from France.
After initial enthusiasm for revenge following 9/11, our current participation in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts has long since cooled. Americans, as did the citizens of Rome, do not like extended military engagements.
There are any number of similarities between the citizens of Rome who sought their own security by slowly having to conquer neighboring enemies in Italy, subdue the Carthaginian threat from North Africa, and intervene into Greece in order to resolve disturbances there.
The growth of the Roman Empire took place over centuries, but the reluctant Romans did not seek conquest; only peace for themselves. They did this by turning conquered enemies into friends and, since they were so successful in war, they were continually entreated to extend their protection further and further from Rome. The result was an Empire of Trust.
The Romans created the first republic in which power resided in its citizens. The American Republic was, in many ways, patterned after the Roman Republic, but the Founders of the American Republic also sought to avoid the errors of Rome, dividing power within government and ensuring that our military’s allegiance was to the U.S. Constitution, not a particular leader. Our wars must be approved by congressional resolutions.
Even in Rome, there were early predictions that their Empire would end. By 146 BC, the Romans were the most powerful nation of those bordering the Mediterranean from Spain to Egypt, and they would remain so for some sixteen centuries.
Most Americans draw their “knowledge” of ancient Rome from Hollywood films, but the scenes of decadence and apparent tyranny are wrong in many ways. The Romans were a pious and patriotic people. The famed decline in morality and the necessity to subdue religious chaos in the Middle East actually occurred by the time the Empire had largely converted to Christianity as the state religion. These events occurred late in its long history of having imposed the “Pax Romana” on the known world. The last elements of the Empire would disappear in 1453.
A world at peace was always the Roman goal and, following World War II, it has been America’s goal. However, as Dr. Thomas Madden points out, “War — not peace — is the normal state of affairs in human history.” What is called peace “is an intermission, a time to prepare for more war.”
America was forced to enter two wars in Europe in the last century because, as Dr. Madden, notes, “The countries and leaders of Europe waged nearly constant warfare for more than fifteen centuries.”
This is why, too, that American soldiers and marines, assisted by troops contributed by a relatively few and greatly reluctant allies, are now fighting a “hot” war in Afghanistan, after a lengthy engagement in Iraq. Americans do not like long wars, but Madden bluntly says that “Americans need to accept that the War on Terror is going to be a long one.
Liberals always claim that “war never solves anything,” but history demonstrates that war always solves something. We have a United States of America because we fought the War of the American Revolution to create the American nation, as well as a long, bloody Civil War to prevent permanent division of the country. We are not subject to the dictates of a Nazi Germany in control of Europe or an Empire of Japan controlling Asia because we fought and won World War II. Our proxy wars weakened and helped destroy the former Soviet Union.
Former President George W. Bush was right when, in 2002, he said:
That is the definition of “Pax Americana,” and it is the mission of the American Empire.
The Anglosphere -- The English-Speaking World:
The U.S.A., Britain, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand
Britain -- The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland:
Mother Country & Close Ally of the United States of America
Canada: America's Northern Neighbor & Ally
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
Israel & the Arabs -- The Israeli-Arab Conflict
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
The Middle East & the Problem of Iraq
Page Two Page One
The Problem of Rogue States:
Iraq as a Case History
The Middle East & the Problem of Iran
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. A business and science writer, he is the
Founder of The National Anxiety Center.
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