In the immediately preceding writing, we commented on what we see as America’s eternally unwise, possibly, delusional assumption, that, by virtue of its size and immense resources, it, morally and responsibly accrued the duties of World policeman. The contemporary nightmare of the Afghanistan military withdrawal, and the past National shame and divisiveness, resulting from the historically unfounded Viet Nam War, were both diagnosed in our previous piece as aspirationally, “Quixotic.” Any serious student of World History might observe that a Nation’s choice of engagement in bloody warfare, for the avowed purpose of righting perceived or actual wrongs, [with a tip of the hat to Cervantes], is “tilting at windmills,” and evincing traits that are plainly, arrogant, delusional, and historically, naïve.
America’s exemplary, era- changing, victories in two successive World Wars, afforded the Nation and the World, a new perception of its immense power, influence and increased Worldwide perspective.
American movies and written fiction during such era, predictably had happy endings, reflecting the popular cinematic expectations and the exalted mood of the extant population. The freckled, high school boy with the speech impediment, in the end, got to take the pretty girl to the school prom, the Lone Ranger knocked out the bad cowboy and delivered him, bound, to the sheriff, the World was saved from the invading Martians by some funny geek’s ingenuity, the home team was eternally the winner against the visitors, might always eventuated in right, true love conquered all, and Alice was, mercifully, and at long last, returned to Kansas. This happy ending genre seemed to be demonstrably, American. As illustrations, one might compare the dark and ominous [Swedish] films of Ingmar Bergman, viz.,” Virgin Spring” and “The Seventh Seal,” with the singularly upbeat and blissful Hollywood products, “It’s a Wonderful Day,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
However, as time passed, World affairs remarkably changed, in context and complexity. Demands were asserted for the severing of the ethnic, bonds of traditional European Statehood, the exponential growth in interactive computer-driven devices for communication and information [or disinformation], the rise of overt, popular opposition to long-standing, economic inequity, the sudden, demonstrated increase in damage to the Planet, caused by global warming,[ viz., heavy storms, melting of polar icebergs, flooding, eradication of shorelines, tsunamis, abnormal temperatures, enormous firestorms, and damages to buildings and crops] has seriously renewed mankind’s primitive concern for its survival. Bloody religious wars persisted in their irrational and atavistic ignorance, but now, more lethally armed, and pernicious racial and ethnic bigotry and conflict continued in its eternal persistence. The comforting assumption of a manageable World, one in which America might place confidence in its capability and prowess, to rectify wrongs, founded upon its past victories, if true at any time, now had become revealingly, unclear.
Yet, notwithstanding the objective dynamics of the all-pervasive alteration of the international world, American confidence in its ability and manifest duty, as self-anointed policeman, to defend justice, a full 75 years after its confirming victory in the Second World War, seems, irrationally, to have persisted. The Viet Nam and Afghan Wars empirically demonstrated the fatal, empirical flaw in this facile assumption. Our themed conundrum exists as to the endurance of the surreal and unattainable presumption, that America continues as the omnipotent and dedicated, World policeman, which falsely idealized presumption proximately led to its engagement and abject defeat in those specified wars.
A brief reference to a few of American popularly revered heroes, real and fictional, may, conceivably, be sufficient to provide a useful, demonstration of the Nation’s, irrational modern age persistence in what has unhealthily morphed into the confident, Quixotic, and presumptuous conceit, as being the capable occupier of the [non-existent] and presumed role of Global morality’s dedicated guardian.
Such excessive confidence may have been encouraged by real-life major accomplishments, by such human super-heroes as Jonas Salk, John Glenn, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Audie Murphy, and the scientists who quickly developed the vaccines for the Covid pandemic. Institutional reverence for fictional heroes, such as Superman, Robin Hood, and the Lone Ranger, are demonstrative of America’s unreal fantasies about heroically enforcing Justice and rectitude. The concept that “America,” the “good guy” was invulnerable, may have had its origin or was transmogrified from the tales of these heroes.
However, modern history shows that our supremely confident and well-intentioned Nation is not equipped, materially or culturally, to arrogate to itself, the singular role of enforcer of justice and peace in the World. Such assignment is capably and appropriately, the responsibility of a joint police force, comprised of successful, well-intended Nations, [including the U.S.], mutually combining their nuanced and persuasive capabilities to the attainment of the aspirational goals of World peace and moral justice.
In sum, America, as a moral, but, prudent Nation, would, for valid historical and empirical reasons, be significantly advantaged, if it ceased its costly and Quixotic tilting against Windmills.