Friday :: May 6, 2005

Pax Romana, American-style

by pessimist

May 6, 1945.

After almost six years of the most total and brutal combat ever seen, the European War came to a close today with the pending unconditional surrender of Hitler's Thousand Year Reich. The victors were in little better shape than the vanquished, exhausted from the massive and costly effort required to defeat The Master Race and ready to collapse themselves. Every nation of Europe was worse off than it was in 1939 when the war began in earnest.

It wouldn't be different in the ongoing Pacific War, as Japan was being mauled on all fronts, and it was only a matter of time before it too would lie crushed at the feet of the conquerors from the only nation which stood stronger in 1945 than it did in 1939 - the United States.

This is the world as it was on this day in 1945 - and in the wet dreams of the neocons today.

The world was at the mercy of the United States on this day in 1945. Over 15 million Americans were in uniform, and while only the battered Russian Army was bigger, the US military was better armed. American factories were pushing ever more weaponry our the door ready for use. The US Navy had the power to fight wars on two oceans, and could thus patrol all of them in a meaningful way. And we had The Bomb almost ready for use.

The world was ours for the taking, and few would have complained - or been able to back up such a complaint.

The mistake that Harry Truman made in the minds of today's neocons is the world was allowed to get up off the floor and return itself to some semblance of normality as it had known it prior to the invasion of Poland. Instead of themselves being made colonies of the United States, the colonial powers of Europe were allowed to attempt to regain control of their former empires - efforts that were to prove futile in the long run. Instead of continuing Hitler's fight against communism, the Soviet Union was allowed to stand as an equal in the reconstruction of Europe, creating the conditions for the next world confrontation. The Chinese were abandoned because they were no longer needed to fight against Japan, freeing them up to make moves to establish an empire of their own once they settled their internal differences.

Think of how differently things would have been had today's neocons been in control of the US military in 1945. US forces would have been unleashed on Stalin's armies just as soon as the ink had dried on the German surrender, an act of infamy that would have dwarfed the attack on Pearl Harbor. US forces would have remained in the former colonies of Europe, replacing the former European masters with Americans. The world would have been the economic fiefdom of American corporations, as there would have been no competition - and none would have been allowed to rise.

This is the world that could have been. This is the world that the neocons want to be.

It would have been so much easier for them if Harry Truman had Teddy Roosevelt's vision of imposing American hegemony upon all the other nations of the world in 1945. It would have been so much easier if Truman had listened to the wrong-wing ancestors of today's neocons and kept America in uniform and armed to the teeth. It would thus have been so much easier for them to be the Kings of the World.

But history teaches those who bother to consult it that empires will eventually topple, for they are far too ossified to allow for expansion and change. Can a rose grow and bloom if its roots are artifically limited, and it isn't fed and watered? No, it will instead wither and die. So it is with empires, or any other entity ruled with clenched fists. Internal pressures will rupture the rigidly protective walls and the entire structure collapses.

Conservatism by its very nature is intended to preserve certain conditions and advantages of the ruling elite, but this ruling elite has an obligation to allow for the change and growth of those it rules if it expects to so conserve. Seldom is this obligation met, and thus the seeds of its own destruction are sown in the desire to conserve that which is at the expense of all else.

The desire to dominate all is a self-defeating condition, as there is no way any person or organization can maintain sufficient control, and completely stifle that which is not desired, without abandoning all that makes such a dominant life-style desireable to those who seek it.

The slave-owner would have to put down his mint julep and take up the whip to reestablish his dominance over the slave who chose to disobey his orders. He could never really be at rest, because he could not trust that he wouldn't be murdered in his sleep. He couldn't ever let his family out of his sight, for revenge isn't always taken at the physical expense of the oppressor himself. He would have to abandon the Golden Rule of his professed religion, and instead do unto others as he would do to maintain power and control. He would seek out the least of his bretheren, for they are numerous and the easiest to be frightened into compliance to his will.

He would justify such actions through the words of Plato, who believed that those who are 'superior' have both the right and the obligation to suppress and control the masses; through the language of the Old Testament, especially the parts which command the servant to bend to the will of the master; and through a belief that God blesses the truly deserving with both material wealth and dominion over others. He would begin to see himself as superior in every way, more deserving of the pleasures of life, and would expect that those he deemed inferior were placed upon this Earth merely to serve him in satisfying his every whim.

He becomes insular, protected within secured walls real or imaginary, dominant over all surveyed. No opposing force from within such an entity can ever succeed, as it would never be allowed to become a threat to his existing order. He is the law, and he will apply it as he sees fit. No one will apply it to him, for he is above those for whom the law is intended.

By turning inward, however, he is unaware that forces outside the realm of his control grow ever stronger, and at some point they will appear at the gates in numbers too large to defeat. The empire is finished, and the cycle begins again.

Think of all of the parallels to my hypothetical slave-owner's life which exist in Iraq today, and then try to tell me that we could have successfully dominated the world in the neocon fashion.

The massive expansion of the US economy due to the availability of production capacity combined with traditional American creative ingenuity could never have occured had the neocon desire to dominate the world been attempted in 1945. It would instead have remained as deprived as it had been since 1930, with little to offer anyone not already in uniform and doing 'useful' service to 'the State'. The majority of Americans would be no better off than the people they would be expected to subjugate.

By following the Radical Republican Religious platform, this is the nation that will be produced out of the land of 1945, the land once known for its universal (if flawed) freedoms and its prospects for widespread prosperity.

The world should be glad that Harry Truman was enough of a realist to recognize that it would be much better to influence and control through dialogue and trade than through occupation and force. The world had had enough of both to last a lifetime - or longer.

Now that it has had a chance to rebuild from all of that destruction, the world isn't about to return to that condition no matter what the mad and unrealistic desires of a few self-appointed superior beings. Just as the European colonialists failed to regain control of their former empires, America will not be able to establish such control over the world.

Hitler = Bu$h.

And they know it.

pessimist :: 5:13 AM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!