“World order after Pax Americana?” As Virgil would say, ‘Horresco referens:” Telling it makes me shudder.
A few years ago the wise political columnist Bill Safire occasionally would interview Richard Nixon in Hell (there for having imposed wage and price controls). So let’s get the old master of strategy on the “hot line” and ask him about it.
RMN: “Sorry about the crackling noises on the line; I can hear you perfectly well.”
“Rome did not fall so much as it changed. My current successor in the White House has announced his goal of fundamentally transforming America, and he is doing it brilliantly, with the ‘opposition’ party falling in line.
“World orders do not last forever; most come to an end through a declining vision of wide horizons, increasing focus on the self, and a disinclination for the difficult. The ‘meaning of life’ itself changes as revealed in that full-page ad in the New York Times (we read it like Pravda down here) depicting the chief ambition of today’s young Americans is ‘to retire earlier than your father did.’ So the country has retirement on the brain and this will continue whether the next presidency is won by Elizabeth Warren or Rand Paul.
“As Pax Americana fades, each pillar of world order will weaken, causing its neighbor to slide as well; not a cascade, but a slow downward spiral of the entire international structure.
“World order requires diplomacy and power to be used in tandem; but following the Europeans, we want diplomacy to work on its own. Our flawed approach has been exploited by one dictatorial regime after another to play games with our negotiators. Iran’s nuclear weapons drive is a long-running example, and by now is unstoppable. This will undermine the nonproliferation treaty, itself a pillar of world order.
“The Arab Spring, begun with youthful hope for a freer, better life, has been commandeered by the old military, Islamist, and political gangs.