EXPANDED PAX AMERICANA LIST
by David Brin, Ph.D.
An addendum to "War in the 21st Century." (Copyright © 2004)
Expanded views about Pax Americana that are sure to anger knee-jerk lefties. (Don't worry, I'll deal with right-wingers soon.)
[image from Passionate blog]
America has (despite many awful mistakes) been overall a mighty force for good in this world. Having successfully opposed the great, dogma-driven evils of Fascism and Communism, we showed kindness to former foes and generosity to a ravaged world. America also set an example by fighting racism, sexism, corruption and many other traditional habits at home, under difficult conditions.
Moreover, our vast consumer purchasing power stimulated economies from Japan to China to India, almost singlehandedly pulling more than two billion human beings within reach of middle class comfort, safety and hope for their children. (The greatest untold story of all time, exceeding all "foreign aid" programs by at least an order of magnitude.)
Our laudable goal of improving and saving the world should not blind us to past progress. While determined to reduce further suffering, we must also concede that the fraction of humans who know starvation, war or tyranny has steadily declined during Pax Americana, to levels never seen in human history. (See more on the great untold story of hard-won and hopeful progress in my essay "The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse by Gregg Easterbrook (a review)," in which both liberals and conservatives can rightfully claim to have participated.)
While some truly terrible blunders have been made - some out of shortsightedness or stupidity and some out of downright venality - America can compare its record as the era's Chung Kuo (central kingdom) favorably against any other nation or people who faced similar temptations of power. Most of the world's people know this, at one level or another. A majority will hate or resent us - as bullying empires are always hated - only if we drive them to it by acting stupidly.
Until such a day that a loose, diverse, limited and reliably-accountable Confederation of Earth assumes effective responsibility for such matters, I feel no remorse over the judicious use of Pax Americana power, applying it to a narrow range of noble purposes. For example, the efficient and careful removal of tyrannical monsters who are brutalizing their own people and threatening world peace. (When it's done right... well... ask the women of Afghanistan what they think of Pax Americana.) Advancing the spread of democracy is -- in a general sense -- worth pursuing judiciously, if for no other reason than societies that are open, accountable and free have a record of never waging war upon each other.
These statements may sound like neoconservative manifestos... and that is intentional. Because the neocons are twisting truths into rationalizations. The result has been calamitous betrayal of the very principles they claim to be espousing.