The Price of Empire Is Now Higher Than Any Sane Nation Would Willingly Pay
But is America still sane? Especially after the madness of September 11, before we rush out in haste to add our own fuel to the raging furnace fires of some future global apocolypse, will we pause to draw some obvious lessons from recent events? For example:
- In a world where the latest technology enables small groups to wield great destructive power -- be it nuclear, chemical, biological, or, in the case of Tuesday, domestic airliners transformed into guided missiles -- we must recognize that our power to prevent such attacks is now far less than our power to change how we relate to other nations and peoples so that those who might otherwise be provoked to make such attacks will no longer have any cause to do so.
- In a world such as this, it is folly, it may even be suicidal, for any nation to seek to intervene in the affairs of other nations and peoples and appoint itself the DECISIVE ARBITOR of every bitter conflict the world over. Doing so only makes the arrogant intervener the common enemy and the prime target for the worst attacks of every conflict's most radical combatants -- attacks events this week have proven we are virtually powerless to prevent, especially when their perpetrators are clever, patient, persevering, and determined.
- Unless a nation is willing and able to destroy one's enemies utterly and deny them all power (as we did in WWII, at least with respect to Germany, Italy, and Japan), a sane nation in a world such as the one we now live in would seek to conduct its affairs in a manner so as to avoid making enemies, or, at least, to minimize -- NOT MAXIMIZE -- its enemies. Furthermore, given the terrible nature of modern weaponry and modern guerilla and terror tactics, no nation, not even America, has the power to destroy its enemies utterly anymore. Short of committing unacceptable genocide, capable avengers will remain alive and able to strike back even after so-called "victory". Thus, a nation may now multiply its enemies and its troubles one-thousandfold by the attempt to destroy what enemies it presently has.
Therefore, in light of these new realities, it is imperative that America fundamentally change its posture vis a vis the rest of the world. If we should continue on our present path and keep on grasping to hold on to an IMPOSSIBLE EMPIRE, we will only invite our own eventual destruction by the enemies we will unnecessarily create by our own unjust impositions, unyielding intrusions, and insufferable arrogance.
Happily, this future apocolypse can be easily avoided. And a sane and wise nation would chart a course to do so rather than rush headlong towards its own inevitable destruction. Our founding fathers were both absolutely sane and incredibly wise, and the course they charted vis a vis the rest of the world remains our wisest course, especially in our world today. But we haven't heeded their wisdom for at least 84 years now, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have needlessly died as a consequence. Isn't it high time now -- NOW more than ever -- to heed their wisdom? Let us return to our pre-1917 posture and LIVE. Let us REJECT the vain quest for IMPOSSIBLE EMPIRE. Let us become a REPUBLIC AGAIN!
If I were President Bush, I would announce a complete reorientation of American foreign policy along the following lines:
The lessons of history are clear, but we, the United States of America, have not always heeded them. History demonstrates again and again that the quest for Empire is vain. Great nations, when they fall to the temptation of their power and seek to control and dominate lesser nations always fail in the final analysis. Instead of domination, they just end up creating unnecessary and implacable enemies, inviting terrible retaliation, and guaranteeing, eventually, the coellescence of reactive forces which purpose their eventual destruction. We have fallen to this temptation in the recent past; we have abused our great power for we have repeatedly intervened in countries and conflicts which ought to have been none of our business.
But we have learned from our past mistakes. We have learned that the more one seeks to control others by illicit means, the less control one really has; the more one seeks security by illicit means, the less secure one becomes. The horrific events of September 11 have confirmed to us the folly of our vain quest for global dominion.
So, I am pleased to announce tonight a fundamental reorientation of American foreign policy. We shall, from this day forth, cleave to the wisdom of our forefathers and govern our affairs in accordance with the following principles:
- America will be ever vigilant in defending herself. Unprovoked attacks against our citizens, our territory, and our property will be fearfully avenged, but we no longer make any claim over the citizens, territory, or property of any other nation. Other nations are free to trade with us or not, enjoy friendly relations with us or not, govern themselves in a manner we approve of or not. We shall respect their sovereign choices and leave their citizens, territory, and property unmolested whatever they may choose provided, of course, that they reciprocate in kind and return to us this same respect.
- The defense and security of every nation ought to be strictly the responsibility and burden of the government of each respective nation. Hence, we shall no longer take up the burdens of defending other nations. Your nation's defense is your business and your burden, NOT OURS. Consequently, the United States of America shall unilaterally withdraw from all mutual defense treaty obligations and resume a posture of strict neutrality with respect to regional conflicts the world over. We shall no longer be implicated or involved on any side of these conflicts. Furthermore, American armed forces shall be repositioned back to United States territory on a phased basis over the next decade.
- We shall trade with all sides of any regional conflict if they wish to trade with us. We shall not discriminate in our trade policy in favor of or against any nation or group of nations based on their respective postures vis a vis one another. How other nations relate or fail to relate with each other is strictly their business, not ours, and so long as they leave our citizens, territory, and property unmolested and our nation respected, we shall reciprocate in kind.
- The United States of America shall heretofore jealously guard only our own sovereign national prerogatives. We shall respect the sovereign national prerogatives of every other nation even as we demand that our own be respected. Therefore the United States of America shall withdraw from GATT, NAFTA, the UN, the WTO, and any other multilateral globalist treaty obligation or institution which unconstitutionally impinges on our own freedom of action, invites us to interpose ourselves into matters that ought to be strictly the sovereign business of other nations, or invites other nations to interpose themselves in matters which ought to be strictly our business. To this same end, all US government funded foreign aid programs and international transfer payments shall be phased out over the next five years.
In this way, America shall, from this day forth, be the respector of all nations and the enemy of no nation so long as they also respect us. Do not tread on us and you will no longer be tread upon by us. Our recent imperialistic ways we now reject. Our former ways of respecting all nations we now re-embrace. It is our hope that by this example we might not only enjoy peace ourselves, but also instruct all of mankind in the way of true peace, that peace and prosperity might abound for all.
And we would also urge all nations to abandon the way of Empire themselves as we have now done. Resist the temptations of power. Take our word for it, it is folly. It is worse than futile. In fact, it will bring nothing but grievous calamity and death to your people and guarantees, eventually, not national security or even prosperity, but only disaster.
Instead, respect your neighbors even as you would wish to be respected. This Golden Rule applies well to nations as well as individuals. From this day forth, America is committed to follow it. And to all the peoples of the earth whom we have harmed in our vain quest for global domination -- especially the Serbs of Yugoslavia -- we regret that we cannot restore life to your fellow citizens whom we have unjustly killed, but we shall at least endeavor to compensate you for the property we have destroyed and restore to you all territories which we have unjustly caused to be seized. But, most importantly, we shall impose ourselves upon you no more. You are henceforth free to follow your own sovereign course, to find your own peace. May we all find it and LIVE. To this end, we Americans hope to lead the way, but only by our example.
May God bless all the nations of the earth. And may God bless the United States of America.
Part II -- With Neutrality Comes Victory
In a previous essay titled The Price Of Empire Is Now Higher Than Any Sane Nation Would Willingly Pay, I argued that the new world which dawned for America after the 9-11 attacks necessitates that we resume a neutral posture vis a vis the rest of the world and I imagined what a speech by President Bush announcing such a seismic shift back to the foreign policy of our first president might sound like. But what I did not do in that essay was address the primary objection raised to such a course, namely that, by resuming neutrality, the primal need felt by most Americans to avenge the deaths of their fellow citizens who were murdered in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon that fateful Tuesday morning would seem to be unmet.
Indeed, at first blush, a resumption of neutrality in the wake of the 9-11 attacks might seem to be a kind of surrender, giving the terrorists everything they want while, at the same time, making us look weak and vulnerable to intimidation.
But deeper consideration reveals exactly the opposite. In fact, it is the present policy, the continued vain quest for impossible empire, which will further expose our weakness and invite even more terrible retaliations. It will do so because we are now fighting on a battleground of the terrorist's own choosing, at maximum disadvantage, and we will, therefore, in all likelihood, lose in the end. And in fighting this fight at all, and in losing this fight in the end, we will only invite ever escalating acts of terror at home, terror which our government has already demonstrated they are powerless to stop. In other words, by the present policy we are responding exactly as the terrorists EXPECT us to respond. We are walking right into their trap. We are playing right into their hands. This foolhardy policy may very well prove to be a fatal mistake (literally!) for our nation.
In stark contrast to the folly of Bush's unrepentant interventionism, consider the benefits which will accrue to us by our resumption of neutrality:
By withdrawing our forces from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, and the region, we remove one of the prime causes of regional resentment towards us. Furthermore, we signal that we shall no longer intervene on any side of conflicts which may arise there -- both internally within countries or externally between countries. Hence, the nations of the Middle East will suddenly be free to work out their own problems (or not) as they see fit. Their focus will instantly shift from America (and even Israel) back towards each other.
Now here's the beauty part: The only thing these Islamists hate more than an interventionist America (and Israel) is each other. Furthermore, our departure will leave a pot of black gold up for grabs in the Gulf. The Sheikdoms of the Gulf are unviable artifices of Anglo-American hubris. They cannot stand on their own. Hence, every populous Islamic state in the region -- Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran -- will inextricably be sucked into that power vacuum, because they all will realize that whichever one of them controls Saudi Arabia and the Gulf can also claim preemminance in the Islamic world over all the rest, and none of them wishes to be so subjegated.
So, what must be the inevitable result of our leaving?
I think it will be a bloody, internecine Moslem vs Moslem war for Islamic primacy that will make WW1 in Europe look like a garden party by comparison. Recall that Iraq and Iran fought each other to a standstill in the '80s, killing millions. The conflict which will result from our resumption of neutrality will make that one pale by comparison.
A side benefit of all this is that the Islamists will be so busy fighting each other, Israel and the Palestinians will be forgotten. In fact, Israel will be liberated by our withdrawl to steer her course through the scorpion's den of the Middle East in the manner which best serves her national interest as we shall no longer be implicated by anything she does.
In sum, by resuming our traditional and constitutional neutrality, we achieve total victory, both at home and abroad.
The Islamic world will be shattered, delegitimized, and millions of Muslims will die by their own hand.
Terrorism in America will stop.
Israel will be free to gain her security by whatever means she deems best.
And, best of all, our liberty at home will no longer be endangered by a run amok Imperial leviathan vainly engaged in a perpetual war for a peace which is never actually achieved nor even achievable by such means.
There is only one downside to my proposal. We may suffer an economic hit in the short run due to higher fuel prices. But isn't this a small price to pay for peace abroad and maximum liberty (with security) at home? I think it is. How about you?