AMERICA: CINDERELLA AND HER UGLY SISTERS
The following paper was written on June, 2003, and published in my book Unveiling The War Against Terror, on May, 2004. It’s republished here hoping that the readers of Daring Thoughts will find it to be of some interest.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Once upon a time, the curiosity, intrepidity, and adventurous spirit of the descendants of a cosmopolitan civilization of Judeo-Greco-Roman origins, discovered a new continent that would grow in time, on the “downside” of Eden, economically, politically, culturally, and morally, into the most beautiful and fairest of her sex. But like all creatures who are made ‘in the prodigality of nature’, she would ineluctably attract, and be victim to, the jealousy, envy, and hate of the “ugly” world. Thus, the American Cinderella, at the peak and bloom of her economic, political, military, and cultural power, would draw upon herself the wrath and jealousy of her ugly sisters. This is in short the story, of the vicissitudes and the fate of the American Cinderella in a hostile, enviable, and unequal world.
It is a stupendous fallacy, and tendentious to believe, that America is hated for its so – called economically exploitative policies, and its arrogant foreign policy, both of which, according to its critics, obstruct and prevent nascent nations from also basking under the sun of economic prosperity and political freedom. On the contrary, the main cause for this resentment against America by these nations, as well as by those with pretensions of global power, such as Russia, France, and Germany, which no longer perch on the top branch of the tree of political power, is the overwhelming and unassailable power that America exercises in the economic, political, military, cultural, and scientific spheres, over the rest of the world.
It is for this reason therefore wrong to premise, that only by changing these so called reprehensible and objectionable policies toward the less privileged nations and turbulent spots of the world, will America be able to stop the waves of hate from crashing against its shores. That ostensibly the emollient to hatred lies in benign actions. Such analysis of the situation, however, is monstrously superficial and deeply faulted. The hatred against America has its roots in the curse of envy. As America’s conspicuous eminence in the above named spheres, like Veblen’s conspicuous consumption, gives rise to envy among all peoples and nations, who cannot at this stage emulate it.
There is nothing unique or unprecedented throughout all history, that strong civilizations have always distended and expanded their dominance by battering old and opening new frontiers. All dominant powers exercised and demonstrated this dominance in vigorous and often violent ways. Not only in their unquenchable desire to conquer new lands, but also, when they had to defend their vital interests and their domain from the threatening incursions and forays of potential deadly enemies. And just as often this violent action, or resort to arms by these powers, was unilateral and preemptive. The Greek historian Thucydides, in his depiction of the dialogue between the Athenians and the Melians, gives a tour de force instruction about the reality of political and military power, i.e., the weak must submit and pay tribute to the strong, because if the weak were in the same position as the strong, they would have also done the same thing.
It is the softening of the brain, and not of the heart, that will not concede and accept this reality of power. Moreover, no civilization or nation which possesses such power but is squeamish in using it, will be able to prevail against its competitors or enemies and eventually, like a lion who is no longer capable to roar, will lose this power and will cease to be preeminent among nations. And there is no example in history, that a civilization or nation that possessed such power, voluntarily abdicated it. It could only lose it in a clash with a stronger civilization or nation than itself.
In the present historical juncture with the rise of fundamentalist Islam and its terrorist death squads which threaten the stability, if not the viability, of the nations of Western civilization, especially of America, which is the embodiment, the “cosmopolis” of this civilization, the latter as a strong nation, inevitably has to take up the cudgels and defend itself and the world from this deadly menace. No nation or civilization, imbued with a modicum of amour propre and pride for its achievements, would allow itself to succumb, without fighting back with all its vigor and might, to a dangerous thrust of a horde of barbarians. And one must be reminded, that only America, among all other nations, has the technological wherewithal, the military power, and will, to confront and defeat terrorism and its state sponsors on a global scale. Furthermore, the defeat of global terrorism is pivotal on a war on two fronts. Whose critics, among which are Simon Crean and Kevin Rudd of the Labor Opposition, so simplistically and lamentably fail to see or acknowledge. One cannot decisively defeat terrorism without simultaneously fighting and defeating its state sponsors. Both, the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and against Saddam in Iraq, had this strategic aim. Which regrettably, was not spelled out lucidly and publicly, either by the Pentagon or the White House. And the destruction of the regimes of the Taliban and of Saddam, were, also, part of a quintessential process of ‘creative destruction’, to use the immortal phrase of the great Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, for the countries’ future economic and political development.
The war against terrorism however, is not solely the responsibility of America. Because apparently it seems the latter is the main target of the terrorists. It is just as well the responsibility of all the free nations of the world. To replicate the American isolationism of the 1930s, during which the ominous dark clouds of Nazism hovered all over Europe, as the Labor Opposition has done by its statements that Australia should concentrate its forces in the region, when the terrorists have only one region in their deadly sight, i.e., the free world, is to ‘have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing’, to quote Talleyrand. Labor’s stand on this grave issue is totally out of joint. While it is in full agreement that Australia must fight global terrorism, it is calling at the same time that its armed forces should stay within the bounds of the region. Apparently, political senility is the disease that is decrepitating the Opposition on this vital issue. Thus by definition, making it completely unqualified to govern the country in these critical times.
As for the calophonous, cheerful cries, of the not so intelligent cosmopolitan liberal intelligentsia, to make love not war, they unimaginatively forget that only because America has fought and is fighting necessary wars, that it is by the “grace of America”, that the peace-loving of the world can indulge in their predilection for the gratifications and pleasures of the boudoir. Moreover, they conveniently forget, that it was “peccant” America that saved the world from the twin miasma of Nazism and Communism, which threatened to intern and engulf the world in its monstrous death camps and gulag archipelagos.
America as the sole super-power has the moral, political, and historical responsibility to defend the institutions and mores of Western civilization from this mortal threat posed by Muslim fanaticism. As the American political commentator Robert Kagan has brilliantly argued, in the ‘anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable’, Immanuel Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace’, can only be achieved by America decisively and relentlessly exercising its mighty power against these deadly foes of life, peace, and freedom. And whilst in such exercise, it is wise to have allies from both old and new Europe, to win this war not only in the battlefield, but, also, in the interlocutory of diplomacy, at the same time, America must not allow itself to be trapped in the power plays and procrastinations of its fickle allies, as are played out in the security council of the United Nations. To quote another political theorist Michael Glennon, ‘states pursue security by pursuing power. Legalistic institutions that manage that pursuit maladroitly are ultimately swept away ‘. (Foreign Affairs May/June 2003.)
The security of the free world which is presently threatened by the baneful and atrocious attacks of al Qaeda and its affiliate bodies spread all over the globe, can only be accomplished by America using its military power preemptively and unilaterally, if that is necessary, against these mortal foes. America, as the embodiment and protector of Western civilization and freedom, has no other alternative but to respond to this challenge of terrorism with all its might. The ghastly specter of fanatic terrorism will not be exorcised by saintly incantations nor by sprinkling with oil its stormy waters. And as no great nation can escape its own destiny, America has no choice but to exercise its military power against this reign of terror, with the wisdom that applies in a Hobbesian world of bellum omnium contra omnes.
Your turn now…