Jun 28, 2007

American Hegemony (Noblesse Oblige): Response to Peter

In International Relations we have a word for what Arkin describes here:


The US remains the uncontested global hegemon, providing global order in security, economics, culture, and a host of other areas. Its expensive, its costly, and it tends to generate resentment, overextension, and eventual decline. But, it provides public goods and global order that everyone grudgingly admits that they need. That's how hegemony works.

There's a whole body of history, research, and scholarship on this very subject, documenting the phenomenon over the last 400 years. And its nicely summed up in this post.


I am not an apologist for Mr. Arkin
, however, what you have described here in your comments to the Washington Post, which I refer to as the purported noblesse oblige of the U.S.A, is also viewed by many nations of the world as totalitarianism and unwelcome yankee interventionism.

If the U.S.A. were to join in with other nations of the world, in a democratic fashion, and participate in all of what you have listed above, the noblesse of the U.S.A. might be understood in the manner that you have characterized it.

Until then, I agree with Mr. Arkin and have stated so myself on many occasions, it is hegemony (the dominance of one state over others) and nothing else. Hitler used similar logic, as you have stated it, in order to justify what he attempted to do - for the world's own good.

And as I recall, America joined in the fight to stop Hitler and the Third Reich. Ergo, wouldn't other nations be justified, using America's logic, in fighting back against American imperialism.

There are alternative ways to accomplish the objective of world-wide pragmatism and conviviality! What you are arguing, is what we refer to as 'categorical determinism'. You seem to believe that for every category, and no matter how the U.S.A. conducts itself, it is pre-determined that it is what's best for every one else.

Everyone else in the world, other than Americans, seem to know that. I suspect that if the shoe were on the other foot (and the U.S.A. was being forced to abide by the dictates of some other uber-power, most Americans would be equally outraged!

Patriotism is one thing, walking around with American blinders on (those that excuse American malfeasance), is another thing altogether!

Peace & Grace
The Rev

Addenda: Romans the 8th chapter reads, "...we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love the Lord, and are the called according to his purpose". Trust me, the purposes, interests and objectives of any nation are not always in keeping with the divine purpose that was formulated before the foundation of the world and human kingdoms. The book of Daniel informs us that world-wide systems and schemes, will eventually be replaced with a divine universal purpose - and all kingdoms of the world, including ours, will be brought into subjection!

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