Uncle Sam’s Shaky Transition To Empire;
Having The Right Strategy Should Would Help
Uncomfortable as we may be with the inadvertence, we have entered the age of The American Empire. We didn’t ask for it, but here it is, like an overgrown eagle that decided, surprisingly enough, to flap into our laps. The problem is, we don’t have a clue how to take hold of the confused bird and send it off on a long and majestic flight.
Right now what we’ve usually got are most of the right intentions but all of the wrong results. Why?
We have opted for a strategy that is based on what we’re just no good at and what, historically, has foiled sustainable empire – that is, we all too often attempt military solutions.
Do we even like military solutions? No. In fact, unlike empires that sought world dominion ruthlessly, we’re uneasy about conquest, not to mention killing. It goes against our childlike but redemptive faith in freedom and democracy.
What are we good at? Economic solutions. And do we like them? You bet. One of the few prescient things Cal Coolidge said is, “The business of America is business.”
And, coincidence of coincidences, what does most of the world want? War or economic success?
So here’s our strategy for the reluctant but successful conduct of the America Empire. And Uncle Sam has to volunteer for the job. What other nation would you trust in the role?
First, we lug the bombs back into storage. Then, once we’re no longer incinerating our financial resources, we pile up the bucks.
What do we do with them? First, we get our own economic house in order, starting with patching the potholes in our highways. Slow as road crews like to work off their hours, we do have a few good foremen, so the job shouldn’t take too long.
In fact, our economy throws off enough profit to get our dilapidated house in order in surprisingly little time. Even under the current spendthrift duress of misguided militarism, tax proceeds are so enormous they’ve recently begun to reduce the national debt.
Now here’s comes a different but quite salutary spin. We look at the neediest nations and help them financially. We assist with their development as much as they’d like us to. They become trading partners. They’re at least a little grateful. Some even like us.
Since there are far more countries that need financial aid than there are developed countries, the American Empire builds up an enormous number of allegiances.
But will the other developed nations stand by while America makes friends and partners far and wide? No, they’ll want a piece of the developing action. So they’ll also start to help the neediest countries move toward modernity.
Meanwhile, what do we do with the other developed nations, who dearly like to compete with us and like nothing better than stuffing their pockets with our lucre? Biz as usual, but with the accent on biz. They may never love us, but they do respect our economic power and want to work with us to get in on the green fields. Of course, trade with them is an important component of our strength.
Meanwhile, what do we do about the nations who really dislike us and the forces that would lick their venomous chops at the thought of destroying us?
We let the nations who are flamingly against us go their increasingly isolated ways. As they watch us help a great many other nations succeed, they increasingly realize what stups they are for staying out of the action.
As for the forces that would like to destroy us, we keep chasing them down and, yes, killing them. Weakness was never an aspect of lasting empire; the strength to act has always been.
The ideal emperor deliberated wisely but acted decisively. As a result, an empire flourishes when it is guided by wisdom which only uses force with discretion.
One of the policies that strengthened the Roman Empire was, when it conquered a nation, it invited the inhabitants to become part of the empire. We can accomplish much the same endorsement of our hegemony through economic assistance.
As we remake our image, much of the citizenry of the rest of the world will take notice of our new wisdom and benevolence and will turn increasingly against the terrorists. Somebody may even turn in Osama Bin Laden and his chief verbal surgeon, the increasingly ill-looking Ayman al-Zawahiri.
So there is our own newly lauded land, helping underdeveloped nations move up the development chain, conducting trade as usual with rival nations, chucking plenty of greenbacks back into keeping Uncle Sam strong physically and healthy spiritually, and knocking off terrorists with our backhand.
And, most welcome development of all, we’d be the good folks again.
Now, some will say that this strategy is crassly monetary.
But history shows that philosophy flourishes when the wisest aren’t enslaved to providing for their daily bread. Notice Plato’s observation that philosophy is for the few, because the generality of the populace is too occupied with providing for its day to day necessities.
Also, notice that art generally achieves more when artists are supported, such as Big Mike as the Pope’s creative director or Joe Hayden scribbling away at the Esterhazy summer palace; in fact, artists who aren’t driven frantic by the need for bucks have made many of the world’s greatest cultural contributions. We exclude Mozart, who managed to create extraordinary works while begging every pal in sight for guldens but he did, to our everlasting remorse, die at age thirty-five.
Actually, a financially and spiritually rejuvenated America would finally be able to provide its citizens with the perks their work ethic has long merited, instead of the rapacious tax-collection and pleas of poverty its government currently burdens them with.
We would expect to find within that new abundance generous funding for the arts, even when, typically, rebellious. Actually, such an America would be more likely to inspire voices within the arts to sing its praises, or, at least, to moderate its castigations.
We would also expect that the wealthiest nation in the world, which is also loaded with all kinds of good-natured, right-thinking people, would rank higher than 23rd in the global happiness quotient, which is where we came in as part of a recent survey of the world’s nations to establish just who the happiest are. Denmark came out on top, followed, in order of happiness, by Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, and the Bahamas.
Adrian White, an analytical social psychologist at the University of Leicester in England, claims to have given us the "first world map of happiness."
He based his study on info from 178 countries and 100 global studies from such sources as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
"We're looking much more at whether you are satisfied with your life in general," White told Reuters. "Whether you are satisfied with your situation and environment."
Here’s the even more upsetting irony: the main factors that affected happiness were health provision, wealth and education. Oh, we can’t afford those things or don’t have them.
Does a national redirection and happy outcome all sound like a fairy tale? Of course, it does. But what is hope but a fairy tale that just might come true?
Besides, any great outcome now would likely sound like a fairy tale at this early and egregiously misguided time in the guidance of the nascent American Empire.
But don’t lose faith. Resolve to be happy.
And maybe send this article or your own informative note to George Bush and the members of both the Senate and the House of Reps. If only one elected official reads it who catches on, well, one is better than none.
Here’s another it-should-only-happen fairy tale. Maybe he’ll be so smart he’ll get elected President.
Then, as Cole Porter versified, “Anything Goes.”
By Tom Attea