World history contains few statesmen that did not follow the crowd but had the power to restrain the crowd’s ambitions. The doctrine in the title of this post led to German destruction of the best of Western Civilization in WWI. The efforts of Bismarck, like Pericles of Athens and Augustus Caesar of Rome to consolidate territorial and economic expansion world wide (to the extent the world was known), is remarkably scarce. Clearly, these statesmen foresaw the suicide of their empires if restraint was not shown.
What has been made clear by Tom Englehard’s American Empire Project, supported first by the writings of Chalmers Johnson, now deceased, and now Andrew Bachevich is that imperial overreach has perhaps reached its climax. The origins of that doctrine were admirably discussed in Kagan’s “Dangerous Nation”!
What has clouded the issue is the notion that the US WON the Cold War and overlooks the arguments that the US did not win the Cold War but that the Soviet Union lost it. History will record the accuracy of that conclusion by the end of this century if not before.
What has been made clear is that the military industrial complex has largely been responsible for facilitation of a world wherein globalization of finance (largely unregulated and corrupt) has facilitated the decline of democracy and the Western World.
Now the Obama Administration has released a new Defense Strategy Document with details especially budget implications to be furnished later! Perhaps with the 2013 budget submission (Obama’s Last?) in February.
What that document does is demonstrate that the USA as world policeman, and a nation-state that recognizes it limits, is not a rejected notion. It just changes focus to technological solutions from the boots-on-the-ground stability??? operations that have characterized the last decade.
I would argue that document promises more WAR and no peace and further destabilization of the current World as we know it. Whether technology as a disruptor or as a savior this century will occur is still largely unknown.
What has happened to the Peacemakers? Where are they and why do they have so little influence in American culture? What is certain is that the leaders of the desert religions in the World, Christianitity, Judiaism, and Islam are largely quiet on violence against innocents, whether through abuse or warfare.
Fundamentally we need more like Pericles, Augustus Caesar, or Bismarck!
THE CHOICE IS NOT BETWEEN WORLD POWER AND DECLINE!