Everyone has an opinion on America - there's rarely indifference.
Regular correspondent John Hartigan reflects on the all-conquering
postmodern phenomenon that is the US of A ...
What should we think about America, the richest and most
powerful nation in the world?
No other country evokes so much love or hatred. Should we be surprised at the level of emotions,
or are the bouquets and brickbats simply an expression of either gratitude or helplessness
- dependent on our individual or geopolitical world views?
Circa 1510, Machiavelli, in his most famous and controversial work, The Prince, expounded
his theory of one nation’s continuing successful conquest over another.
Using examples from history, Machiavelli proposed that once a nation had been
defeated, the conquering nation had three alternatives in maintaining control:
- total subjugation of the people by maintaining a strong occupying force enforcing its authority.
- having less occupying troops and entrusting law and order to chosen leaders
from within the conquered nation, overseen by a head of state from the conquering nation.
- flooding the defeated nation with citizens of the conquering nation, and by integration
creating an extension to the conqueror's domain.
Machiavelli’s only provisos were that all ruling heredity lines to the defeated nation
be obliterated, and that the people's laws and customs should remain unchanged.
Before and since Machiavelli's writings the policies of conquering nations changed little
over the centuries until the mid-twentieth century. Ancient countries through to the Roman conquests
invariably used one or the other of the three methods outlined by Machiavelli.
In modern history European empires were based on choosing compliant leaders
from the occupied country to rule, at the same time maintaining a minimum number of troops to
maintain law and order, with a member of the conquering nation in overall charge.
More recently, China adopted the same principle in Tibet. While in East Timor
Indonesia opted to rule by total subjugation of the population.
All of the above-mentioned methods are effective for a while. In the case of the British Empire,
for hundreds of years. Sooner or later, however, the people rebel and the conqueror is obliged
to withdraw and grant independence to its former colony.
And So To Uncle Sam ...
America has not invaded any country with the intention of permanent occupancy.
In fact America has doled out millions of its taxpayers dollars in foreign aid. America has been
instrumental in solving many of the world's ills. It has led the
world in industrial and scientific progress
and given us a clearer understanding of the world we live in.
At its inception, American life was based on genuine Calvanist or Puritan ideals.
The lifestyle was strict, revolving around the principles of thrift, enterprise, hard work and community spirit.
It produced strong individuals resulting in a strong nation.
America was envied and viewed as a land of opportunity. A country of the future,
truly democratic, caring, a place where men and women were genuinely free.
When America opened its doors to the dispossessed of the world, things gradually changed.
By the end of the Second World War the change was complete. There still remained the policies
of the early pioneers, but a new insidious element was taking over.
Greed replaced the old virtues. Profit at all costs became the maxim.
Citizens became secondary to the end goal, their interests over-ridden in the name of consumerism.
Giant trusts and cartels became the new rulers.
From the end of World War 2 to today, major American companies occupied themselves
swallowing up first the opposition in their own country, then spreading their tentacles across the world.
American foreign policy was based on the sole premise of total fiscal control of world currency and trade.
This has ultimately led to 72 American military incursions into foreign countries since World War 2.
Millions of lives have been bequeathed to America’s standard of living.
This in turn created an extreme right-wing nationalism.
America has no coherent political ideology, other than the belief in its supremacy.
Contempt for democracy, and an insistence on the world’s obedience to its policies.
In any dictionary, this is called fascism.
The Europeans Are A-comin'!
The danger to America is that it has reached its peak, and it has two powerful opponents:
First is the European Union. The EU has a greater population for marketing its products.
Its trade figures are only marginally less than America’s.
Male longevity is better than its American counterpart.
Medical and social security benefits are more generous in EU countries.
Employment protection and labour market regulations are superior to those of America.
What the EU cannot meet is the military power of America, but this imbalance will
inevitably even out over time for the following reason.
European countries' basic philosophy is based on the principal of Noblesse Oblige
- privilege of rank or wealth entails responsibility. A sharing of the countries wealth that is in
complete contrast to the American way. The result is that as EU industry and markets expand,
America’s will lessen which in turn means that America will be forced to spend more money
on its social infrastructure. If it takes that money from taxpayers it will alienate many Americans,
it can only come from other sources; less spending on health, education roads etc
or a reduction in military spending.
The second powerful opponent to America’s fascist dream of world domination, and arguably
the most important, is the growing worldwide antagonism to America’s international fiscal piracy.
America’s neo-conservative policy of world control by trade and scientific domination,
with the ensuing result of economic dependency of foreign nations, has added
a fourth dimension to Machiavelli’s dictum. It's this manipulation of world affairs that has
turned people against America. As people’s discontent grows so too do their resistance
to everything American, the good as well as the obviously bad.
The problem for America is that the increasing dissatisfaction with its policies is not
confined to people of its perceived enemies. The swell of dissident denunciation is coming from
within its own ranks as well as its allies.
How Long Has The Old Bird Got?
The combination of a developing European Union, and world opinion spells the ultimate
disaster for America. The question is: how long will it take?
Much will depend on America's military policy. To maintain its current
overseas level of military activity
and retain the support of its population is becoming increasingly difficult. Already there are rumbles
of dissatisfaction among Americans. It is also apparent that America's
allies are becoming
reluctant to offer greater military support.
Any sign of weakness from America will hasten its demise, as less powerful nations will seize
the opportunity to break their economic ties with their fiscal oppressors. Worse for America,
more of their enemies will increase their guerilla warfare both in and outside America.
Enemies and critics of America may feel a sense of jubilation at
America's imminent downfall,
but will America succumb without plunging the world into a more terrible war than those of the past?
Importantly too, what will the shape of the world be when America does lose its number one status?
Will another country assume leadership intent on imposing its own policies, or will there be international chaos?
Ideally, the world will enter a new age of peace, prosperity and understanding, but is there any certainty of this?
Undoubtably more and more people in the world are questioning twentieth century values.
They ask why and how people can maim and kill innocent civilians in the name of so-called progress?
How long can we continue to destroy the world's environment to perpetuate
the myth that more we have
is good for our wellbeing? How far must humanity go before it realises that greed is destructive?
When will we learn that there is enough food being produced to meet all our requirements?
That human beings have the talent and the skill to give everyone the basic necessities of life?
That fresh water, housing, schools, hospitals and care for the disabled and aged is a human right not a privilege?
That we must spend more of our time and lives sharing this planet in harmony?
That people are more important than things ...?
What we are prepared to give up to attain these goals? Perhaps the most important is to speak out
against injustice, greed and power-hungry moguls and their insatiable desire for profit.
The alternative is annihilation, but that future will depend on you and I.
John Hartigan is a Perth retiree who
spent 2.5 years of his life as a POW in the
Korean War, likes smoking a pipe, and enjoys writing novels and essays.
He welcomes your correspondence on the above topic, or any others, email him
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