World Policeman No More

New York policemen on the Beat 1940s -  vintagephoto.com

New York policemen on the Beat 1940s – vintagephoto.com

The world is coming to the steady recognition that the forces that secured a peaceful resolution of the intense 20th century battle between totalitarianism and democracy are unraveled.  The key ingredient, and the accompanying heavy burden of responsibility, was founded on the concept of a “world policeman” to secure trading routes, work to resolve local strains, achieve regional alliances, and as necessary impel cooperation to maintain security.   In the first four decades it was the role of Great Britain, and with the cataclysm of the second world war, progressively the role of the United States in the next six decades, to take on the mantle, economic and military responsibility, and moral persuasion that produced the eventual triumph of democratic ideals over totalitarian unity. The device of “world policeman” so effectively maintained a will and clarity over the decades  that historian Francis Fukuyama declared in 1989 to have seen the “end of History”with the world settling on the victorious governmental form of political and economic liberalism known as western democracy as a final form of governance.

The world of today bears little resemblance to the post historical world declared by Fukuyama.  The role of world adjudicator and stabilizer appears to have achieved a progressive moral insecurity and spiritual and financial exhaustion in those two countries that accepted the burden.  Neither Great Britain or its successor the United States has the desire any longer  to be the forward defender of free people and free ideals,  and the world is noting the vacuum created.  The result is a return to local passions potentially creating a kindle for international violence that will make the world yearn back to the days when there was someone “in charge”.  It turns out that history abhors a vacuum and the number of unstable forces willing to fill the vacuum is growing exponentially.

President Obama took the opportunity of the world stage with his speech in Berlin to declare the end of a different history than we all remember.  The President, whose philosophy of “lead from behind” has defined his five years as President, sought to frame the current world as the triumph of such thinking.  The greatest threat to world security for this president, nuclear arms and global warming.  The means of achieving security against such threats? Peace with justice.

Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons — no matter how distant that dream may be.  And so, as President, I’ve strengthened our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and reduced the number and role of America’s nuclear weapons.  Because of the New START Treaty, we’re on track to cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons to aggressive totalitarian states like North Korea and Iran is therefore to be solved by the reduction of nuclear weaponry by the United States.  This policeman will unilaterally disarm, to show those who would arm themselves the moral futility of their aggressive nature.  That’s likely to work.  The president could not even bring himself to  acknowledge the stated goals of both North Korea and Iran to be nuclear weapon powers.

At the same time, we’ll work with our NATO allies to seek bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe.  And we can forge a new international framework for peaceful nuclear power, and reject the nuclear weaponization that North Korea and Iran may be seeking.

North Korea has already tested atomic weapons, shown its desire to achieve an intercontinental missile capacity, and threatened its neighbors with nuclear destruction.  Iran has declared its goal the annihilation of the state of Israel.  Beyond the unilateral disarmament far afield from either threat and the moral rejection he states above, how will he achieve the stability and suppression of proliferation declared by such rogue states?  Thankfully by “hosting a summit in 2016 to secure nuclear materials“.

After such logic, it becomes increasingly difficult to rally behind this leadership for the even bigger threat to world peace with justice – global warming.

Peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet.  The effort to slow climate change requires bold action.  And on this, Germany and
Europe have led.

With a global middle class consuming more energy every day, this must now be an effort of all nations, not just some.  For the grim alternative affects all nations — more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise.  This is the future we must avert.  This is the global threat of our time.  And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late.  That is our job.  That is our task.  We have to get to work.

The storms we need to defend ourselves against to propel humanity forward turn out not to be storms of terroristic violence, nuclear proliferation,  religious fundamentalism, governmental attacks on liberty, and dangerously unstable regimes, but rather…thunder storms and the floods they cause.  This President who has declared himself the most scientifically directed in history continues to talk about a science that is in outcomes free fall, with no identified warming in the 15 years that we were supposed to be overwhelmed by biblical calamities from man’s desire to drive his car and heat his house.  Science’s need to hypothesize is understood, but the need to test the validity of such hypotheses has been sacrificed to the political ideal, when it has been progressively shown that no validity exists.  The lack of validity would be sad, if it weren’t so economically and socially destructive to true human progress.

To this President, our current threats can be summarized as springing out of our own flaws and shortcomings as a people:

We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.   We may strike blows against terrorist networks, but if we ignore the instability and intolerance that fuels extremism, our own freedom will eventually be endangered.  We may enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of the world, but so long as hundreds of millions endure the agony of an empty stomach or the anguish of unemployment, we’re not truly prosperous.

The summary translation might look as follows:  People don’t kill people. Guns kill people. Get rid of our guns (nuclear armaments), and we can finally feel safe.  It is our forcing our ideals of freedom on others and intolerance for their nihilistic, anarchistic tendencies that fuels terrorist’s extremism, not their desire to reek havoc on an ordered civil society.  Our standard of living that has brought spectacular development for the world and fed it for the greater part of a century, is tool of suppression and hunger.

The logic boggles the mind.

The argument that world policeman is an unenviable, potentially corruptible, and likely long term intolerable burden is an appropriate  discussion for a society to undertake, as long as the alternative to such stabilizing forces is understood.  The policeman that walks the beat rarely must inject himself forcibly when the neighborhood understands that he stands for lawful behavior and will protect the citizenry if necessary.  Its becoming clear to the neighborhood thugs that no one is in charge, and the risks of some real spasms of violence are growing by the day.  Syria, at one time a local revolt against a tyrant, is now becoming the fault line for two massive antagonistic religious philosophies with jihad as their common  logical expression of moral certitude.  China, sensing the American withdrawal, now looks to enforce a new East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere with Chinese naval dominance to put previous ancient enemies of Vietnam and Japan in their place.  Europe decays from within with a loss of identity from reduced birthrates and societal suicide  through social spending at the expense of any residual effort to support their own defense, or cultural clarity.

And America?  The world’s policeman shackles its own economy, mortgages its own future through profligate spending, increases its governmental spying and suppression of its own citizens, destroys its foundational compact with its citizens through porous borders and arbitrary enforcement of law, and pretends that the world would be better place if we weren’t in it.

The world could turn out to be a very scary place in a few years, with the devils on the ascendant, no one left to call for help.

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