|Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair|
N.Z. Bear writes an article pointing out the dangers to the U.S. of so-called "asymmetric warfare", and concluding that it will be necessary for the U.S. and allies to impose liberal democratic governments wherever they can, and to destroy all others.
I think that he is incorrect, though, when he says
But Empire is not really the correct word to use here, although it will be used by those who oppose this effort. The appropriate word is "Confederacy".
No, I think that the proper word is Empire, or at least "nucleus of Empire". And I say this as one who, reluctantly, accepts the necessity for this.
Let us look at the situation. It would be very difficult, although not in my opinion impossible, for the U.S. to "go it alone". The dreams of true multilateralists (as distinct from those who hope to use "multilateralism" as a smoke screen for internal leftist, or Euroleftist, control of American assets) will have to be fulfilled; the unilateralists will have their hearts broken.
So, there will almost certainly have to be an alliance -- what I have been calling the "Final Alliance" on this blog -- to accomplish this end. What then?
N.Z. Bear calls for imposition -- by any means necessary -- of liberal democratic governments. But the myth that every people is immediately ready for liberal democracy -- that all we need do is knock off a few dictators and hold elections -- is one that ought to have been entirely dispelled by the sorry history of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Judging by Latin America, we might estimate that a century and a half of self-rule (and too often misrule) is necessary to bring about the political maturity necessary for a more-or-less stable, more-or-less liberal, more-or-less democratic government to be formed (some might say I am too optimistic). In the case of Latin America, of course, there was no tradition of democratic government, nor even of self-rule, nor was there any deliberate tutelage in such things (and we must remember that some rebellions, such as that in Mexico, happened because the local grandees thought that Spain was becoming too liberal). Such tutelage could probably greatly reduce the time to political maturity, quite probably to as little as a generation -- but it is unlikely to be less than that. During this time, there must still be administration -- the building and operation of physical infrastructure, at least, for no nation, let alone a democratic one, can exist on a featureless plain without means of support. That means occupation of the target country by troops, techs, and bureaucrats at least nominally acting for the Alliance.
What will the Alliance have to say about their protectorate after administering in for a period measured in years, if not in decades? If it is granted any kind of self-rule, will then be admitted as a full member of the Alliance? As any kind of member? Or will it at best be an internally autonomous protectorate?
We might also inquire as to the outcome when a democratic government does not produce the results we want. It is arguable that, were elections to held in "Palestine" and Sa'udi Arabia today -- honest elections, genuinely reflecting the popular view -- that they would produce virulently anti-American governments. Will we -- or a Final Alliance in which we play a prominent, if not a dominant, role, shrug and say, "Vox populi, vox Dei; if it truly the Will of the People here that they use terrorism against us, we'll fold our hands and wait quietly for the blow to fall"? Or is it more likely that we would say, "Sorry, but are those not acceptable policies and acceptable leaders; try again, or we will do it for you"? We must admit that (classical-)liberalism is morally prior to democracy (although democracy is practically prior to liberalism; the myth of the "libertarian dictator" is just that), and that our survival is morally prior (for we cannot be moral if we are dead) to liberalism elsewhere. This is not a crusade to make the world safe for democracy; it's a crusade to make the world safe for us. If the price of that survival is a thousand years of tyranny over the world outside of the American or Alliance, then the price must and shall be paid. Of course, we should be skeptic in the extreme of arguments that that must be the price, as we should be skeptical in the extreme of any argument that a given right must be surrendered in the name of security.
If those countries on the "outside", so to speak, are questionable beds for the crop of liberal democracy to be planted in, what of those countries firmly on the "inside" of the Alliance; the Allies? Even all of the rest of the world is to be a permanent Trust Territory, surely we may count on the blessings of freedom and democracy for ourselves and our close personal friends?
Alas, I greatly doubt it. An Alliance that is a loose grouping of nations with some common interests and goals, with the execution of actions to achieve those goals decided by lengthy and leisurely negotiations, is one that will be a dead letter from the start. A formal treaty and a formal command structure, a la NATO, is required. That command structure will not be based on a unicameral legislature apportioned by population and chosen by proportional representation, with a popularly elected President; such are fantasies of na´ve One-Worlders. The Alliance will be first the creature, and then very probably the master, of the national governments of the member states. It will become an Empire in fact, although probably never in name. Yet we should remember that the Roman Empire was never an Empire in name; Augustus ruled through manipulating the obsolescent Republican machinery, and right to the Empire's formal end in the West it was theoretically the res publica, the common interest, even though the commonalty had shrunk to the private friends and advisors of whatever barbarian general was propping up the current "emperor".
And democracy within the member states of the Final Alliance? I have written on that in the past. Suffice to say for repetition's sake that I see no hope of democracy on the national level in the West lasting out this century.
We needn't like this future. I don't like it. But I think that if we want a different future, we should decide what it should be and how to get it, and to decide right now.
John "Akatsukami" Braue Monday, June 24, 2002