Thursday, April 22, 2010

The End of Pax Americana (Not)

Christopher Layne has been so consistently wrong about the "inevitability" of America's relative international decline that further iterations of his thesis are essentially humiliating episodes of self-flagellation. And the bonus in this case is that Layne's publishing at American Conservative, which by now is the laughingstock publication of contemporary (anti-American paleocon) ideology. See, "Graceful Decline":

Angie Harmon

The United States emerged from World War II in a position of global dominance. From this unparalleled military and economic power came a Pax Americana that has endured for more than six decades. It seemed the sun would never set on the U.S. empire.

But America is increasingly unable to play the hegemon’s assigned role. Militarily, a hegemon is responsible for stabilizing key regions and guarding the global commons. Economically, it offers public goods by opening its domestic market to other states, supplying liquidity for the world economy, and providing the reserve currency. A hegemon is supposed to solve international crises, not cause them. It is supposed to be the lender of last resort, not the biggest borrower. Faced with wars it cannot win or quit and an economy begging rescue, the United States no longer fits the part ....

That the United States needs a post-Pax Americana foreign policy should be obvious. But there is no guarantee that the U.S. will adjust to a transforming world. Even as the globe is being turned upside down by material factors, the foreign policies of individual states are shaped by the ideas leaders hold about their own nations’ identity and place in world politics. More than most, America’s foreign policy is the product of such ideas, and U.S. foreign-policy elites have constructed their own myths of empire to justify the United States’ hegemonic role. To move successfully to a post-Pax Americana foreign policy, Americans will need to move beyond these myths.

The foundational American myth of empire is exceptionalism, the belief, dating back to the Puritans, that the U.S. is different, better, and morally superior to the rest of the world. Americans have always looked at the outside world suspiciously and viewed it as a source of contagion: war, imperialism, militarism, religious intolerance, non-democratic forms of governance, and latterly totalitarianism, genocide, and terrorism. All these bad things, we believe, come from “over there.”
RTWT at the link.

GSGF posted on this today, and says it much better (more pithy) than I can: "
Yawn. Must. Stay Awake."

I'll just add that as long as we've got folks like Angie Harmon unabashedly speaking up for American exceptionalism, I expect American Power to endure quite a while.

RELATED: Robert Leiber, "
Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set."

4 comments:

Stogie said...

Who's the girl with the killer legs???

Donald Douglas said...

Angie Harmon, Stogie!

Greywolfe said...

OmG. stogie, that is one of the true American Treasures, Angie Harmon.

If that woman ever said she wanted me, I'd kill myself. Everything from that moment on would be anti-climactic.

j/k, however, I will say that i'd probably not sleep for a week.

Matthew Avitabile said...

Sweet pic of Angie