As The Pax Americana Makes Big Wars

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Posted by Tony from ? ( on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 1:34PM :

By Franz Schurmann

Prediction #65 for Tuesday, June 20, 2000

As The Pax Americana Makes Big Wars
Less Likely More Little Wars Will Erupt

Basis for the Prediction:

In the early 1980's, when a missile-rattling Reagan became
president, people again started worrying about nuclear war.
Now, as Clinton is pushing hard for an as yet unproven
national missile defense (NMD), there is plenty of
opposition but not much public worry. Why?

One explanation is that too many people remember an
ancestor of the NMD that became a disposable tool for
achieving peace. In 1969 President launched an
Anti-Ballistics Missile (ABM) program to shoot down
incoming Soviet missiles. In May 1972 he scrapped the
program when the US and the USSR signed a treaty banning
all ABM systems as a first step towards nuclear

Like Nixon in 1972, Clinton has convinced the other great
powers that global prosperity and peace are inextricably
interwoven. If nuclear war ever were to break out all will
become big losers. But if they keep the peace among
themselves all can become winners. Even Reagan got on the
peace and prosperity bandwagon early in his second term.

Great powers are those that have either great military or
great economic power. Russia has great military but little
economic power. Japan, Germany, France and Britain have
great economic but limited military power. India is nearing
great power status. Smaller powers like Pakistan, Iran,
Israel and Turkey can affect global peace and prosperity.
Others in the wings are a unified Korea, Brazil, Nigeria and

America not only has great military and economic but also
technological, cultural and especially political power.
America never was and never will be the world's super-cop.
But because of its enormous power it can set the tone for the
world. That tone can be called a Pax Americana.

The concept derives from the Pax Romana proclaimed by the
Emperor Octavian Augustus some 2000 years ago. A key
concept was avoidance of war with other great powers.
Another was that peace and trade reinforce each other to
produce power with stability. As a result Roman power at
its height extended from the Caspian Sea and Mesopotamia
to the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Britain.

However even if the Pax Romana banned big wars it left
room for smaller ones. One was Rome's Vietnam in 9 CE
when Germanic tribal forces destroyed three Roman legions.
Another was the Jewish Wars that culminated in the
destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. The film "Gladiator"
began with scenes from the later German Wars waged by the
great Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius towards the end of the
third century CE. None of these wars affected the Empire's
global trade and peace.

Now there are plenty of little wars going on within the Pax
Americana: Ethiopia-Eritrea, Congo, Sierra Leone,
Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Colombia, the live embers of conflict
in Afghanistan and Kashmir and so on.

The recent Ethiopia-Eritrea war took the lives of tens of
thousands of young men. The reaction among America and
the great powers was yawns of unconcern. The main reason
for their yawns was that that war had no effect on the Pax
Americana. There is plenty of greed involved in the brutal
Congo and Sierra Leone wars but again the Pax Americana
is not affected.

President Clinton has kept silent on Russia's brutal war
against the Chechens because the latter is a great power. He
also is silent on the Sri Lanka and Kashmir horrors because
he doesn't want to offend rising great power India. As to
Afghanistan, the most war ravaged country in the world,
Clinton just zeroes in on the alleged super-terrorist Osama
Bin Laden.

Another place where the Pax Americana will definitely not
be affected by little wars is Colombia. Washington is putting
a lot of aid and money into Colombia in order to prevent a
victory of the leftist FARC, Colombian Revolutionary
Armed Forces.

On the other hand it's not out of the question that some day,
China, exasperated by Taiwan's reluctance to come to terms
with the "one China" issue, could mount a military attack.
Polls show that a majority of Taiwan people believes that
America will intervene militarily. But under the Pax
Americana concept it's likely America will leave Taiwan on
its own.

Why are so many little wars breaking out? Note first that all
the countries and movements fighting are between poor and
near poor, as in the African, Caucasus and South Asian
wars. In Colombia the two strata battle each other even as
the flow of narcotics into the biggest drug consumer country,
America, continues.

The poor envy the near poor. The latter fear that if the poor
win they will be knocked off the one rung of the upward
mobility ladder they have managed to climb on. The
combination of envious poor and fear-ridden near poor is

But in the great urban centers of global consumer capitalism
unconcern prevails. Global peace means no wars and global
prosperity means good and cheap products keep flowing in.
That poor and near poor kill each other in some distant
country is like the Romans watching the gladiators
dismember each other. The gladiators all were poor and
near poor folk, all of them from distant lands.

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-- Tony
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