The heroes, the wise men, like the new moon have their waxing and waning. Men will say, 'Who has ever lived with might and with power like him?' As in the dark month, the month of shadows, so without him there is no light. O Gilgamesh, this was the meaning of your dream. You were given the kingship, such was your destiny; everlasting life was not your destiny. From: The Epic of Gilgamesh (Ancient Mesopotamian epic poem.)
hegemons now. From :
of [the] Big Enchilada", Max Boot,
Council of Foreign Relations, October 15, 2002.
...And You Will Know Us (By the Trail of Dead)
After noting the propensity of ambitious would-be empires to declare their aim in conquering the world is 'to bring it peace, security and freedom, and is sacrificing her sons.... [only] for noble and humanitarian purposes', George S. Boutwell, American statesman, abolitionist and Secretary of the Treasury under President Ulysses S. Grant, added the following:
"That is a lie, and it is an ancient lie, yet generations still rise and believe it!...If America ever seeks Empire...then planned reforms in our domestic life will be abandoned, States Rights abolished -- in order to impose a centralized government upon us for the purpose of internal repudiation of freedom, and adventures abroad. The American Dream will then die...and a nation conceived in liberty will destroy liberty for Americans and impose tyranny on subject nations."
It seems that if Boutwell -- a man who clearly knew his history, and one who vehemently opposed the expansionist foreign policy of President William McKinley, [and] which itself led to the 1898 Spanish-American War -- was resurrected to witness how far the Republic had come since his passing, the melancholy deriving from his abject disappointment would surely impel him back to the grave pronto. Evidence of his prescience and insight would one imagines, be of little comfort to him on his way back to his eternally designated bolthole. And such is the state of the Empire well over a century later, most people opposed to its recent and current "adventures abroad" would find little in Boutwell's assessment with which to quibble.
With this opening in mind then, we can view the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) -- itself the major progenitor for the 'destruction of liberty' for Americans and the 'go-to' playbook for the 'imposition of tyranny' upon other nations -- as a signpost of sorts to the establishment of an American 'Caliphate' (to use a term much in vogue), albeit one premised on the more secular, prosaic 'theologies' defined in its Koranic operating manual, the so-called Rebuilding America's Defences (RAD). Although PNAC itself as an organisation may now be defunct, the intellectual and ideological forces that propelled it along the pot-holed highway of US foreign policy are very much 'Johnnie Walker', with little sign of them losing steam anytime soon. And as the opening paragraphs indicate, similar forces have for quite some time played a significant -- albeit less than auspicious -- role in the Grand American Narrative.
And with most major Western nations, including my own country Australia (aka "Old Faithful"), once again lining up to salute the Stars and Stripes Forever in unstinting support of the ultimate quixotic quest for geopolitical dominion -- whose leaders all the while having convinced not just the bulk of their own people but in some cases themselves it is all about freedom, democracy, stability, peace, security, liberty, the rule of law and/or human rights -- we know in our heart of hearts, it can only end badly.
For a country then that has expended an inordinate amount of energy, blood, treasure and human ingenuity in exporting such abroad and premising the tenets of their foreign policy on the purported advancement and dissemination of such altruistic, humanist values, America's track record country after country since World War II in subverting and perverting the very noble causes it purports to champion and uphold has left a path of destruction, misery and devastation in its wake that readily recalls the phrase, 'And you will know us by the trail of dead'.
Although well documented at least in the alternative media sphere, a stroll down memory lane here is timely for those not so familiar with both the history and the driving forces behind the current hegemonic pandemic -- less Pax Americana, more 'Pox Amerikana' -- a viral contagion that's been both mutating and metastasising for some time.
In an article in the Washington Post, Andrew Bacevich contended that Syria has become the 14th country in the Islamic world that American forces have invaded, attacked, occupied, bombed and/or meddled in, and in which US military personnel have killed or been killed. And that's just since 1980, the year prior to Ronald Reagan's ascendance. One of the most incisive, informed commentators on the U.S. National Security State and geostrategic affairs, Bacevich's views are a welcome and necessary antidote to the asthmatic rhetoric we keep getting force fed by the Beltway "Bovver Boys" (and girls) and their ilk about America's 'War on Everyone who Doesn't Think we're Exceptional and Indispensable'.
Another Splendid Little War (or Three)