Late fluit hic fluvius Tempus nomine
scripsit Bodwyn Wook
Many will have breathed a sigh of relief now that our seemingly dilatory President has ordered our military once again to do what it does best, namely to mount another series of indeterminate operations in the air over Syria & Mesopotamia that of course will reach their natural period with the soon-lapse of public attention.
This sort of thing in turn & in historical terms signals not “our”unprecedented resolve, but it is, instead, the bellwether symptom of unprecedented American exhaustion & loss of nerve that for good or ill is more than entirely understandable in the falling gray light of our Time.
In the unending (NB) tale of History, America has been on the World stage since 1917; in that time, an entire age has come to an end with the passage of five generations.
Another broad revolution in how America “projects” power therefore may be at hand.
This may be needful for many reasons, including the fact that we continue to TRY to operate in a late-modern way as a self-perceived “sole superpower”.
This is anachronism because it quite willfully disregards the central historical fact that we ARE now in the third decade of a postmodern & now wholly-unguessable World & Future that very, very likely is not about US, not any more.
So for many reasons, including the whole collapse of our late-modern professional metaphor of “progress,” again very, very possibly a strategic withdrawal is now needed by America & exhausted Americans from much direct involvement at all in foreign affairs.
Please note what is the central fact in all of this:
This is a new World that IS largely outside of our “narrative” for good & all & it is destined now NOT to return in any subordinate way “under our wing”.
That said in so many words, it follows that a several-generations period of highly formal diplomatized (NB) Isolationism may now be highly in order.
Indeed, Machiavelli wrote at the very beginning of the Modern Age now over that “neutrality is the natural diplomatic position of federations”.
We have long ignored this, but ignorance however willful CAN not change the fact that undue entanglement in outside alliances will ALWAYS create the ceaseless ebb & flow of dissension within the federated, or Federal, state.
In closing, I would only point out that the more insightful among the English began meditating on the decline of the British Empire as long ago as the 1880s; sixty years on at the end of WW II, England was bankrupt after the Hitler war & an abject & often-insulted American client.
The Empire was likewise over & yet the English establishment persisted in trying to finance both the Commonwealth & the fantasy of a continuing BUT now-inexistent “British great power” role.
Hence, the English spent the much of the Marshall Plan money on their miltary & ALSO immediate social programs; the Germans, Italians, French & Japanese, however, with Marshall Plan money FIRST rebuilt their industrial bases with the comparative results for themselves that we should all know.
Now, it is going on seventy years since the Hitler war & we now may be learning OUR hardest lesson of all in History, namely that the worst thing for the younger generation just may come down on their childish heads if their parents indeed “win” their great war!
Ours is “apparently” a different tale than that of the English, but exhaustion at the end of profligacy & bankruptcy is the SAME exhaustion as after murderous war & bankruptcy; the former population may of course be more infantile, but that is nothing to the point.
This is because if I am at all right in the analogy I have derived here from some study, THEN:
Either we will now simply drop the inane “sole superpower” fantasy which in any case IS now hopeless & stupid & attend to our North American food-, energy- & industrial-autarky for some decades to come.
Or, we will not, for at these junctures in Time & on NO battlefields are found always the real test of national characters & peoples.
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[24 September 2014]