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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Pax Americana: Is it ending with the withdrawal from Iraq?

Three hours ago, my beloved Romanian niece, "Roxana Fera de Sibiu," posted the following sad link on her Facebook wall, along with her comment, "OH MY GOD!! WHAT A WORLD WE LIVE IN!!!"

Iraq Marine Throws Medals.

War is Hell.

I am not anti-military.  Quite to the contrary, I credit our men and women in uniform for our freedom.

I was born into a WWII U.S. Navy officer's family.  Two of my three brothers are Vietnam veterans.  I was rejected (due to respiratory allergies) when I volunteered in 1964 for pilot training in U.S. Naval Aviation.  Ever since, though I married young, started my family, and never myself served in the military, I have respected those who serve, and those who have served in the past.

In Budapest, on the evening of 4 October, 2011, I met a Norwegian man, 64 years old.  When he learned I was American, he said, "All the citizens of Europe should get down on their knees and say a prayer of thanks to America."  This man and I had met by chance on a Danube dinner cruise.  He had nothing to gain from me.  He was merely expressing his heartfelt belief.

So, Roxy, I respect you and your right of free speech so much that I will leave your post where it has appeared on my FB home page, and have posted your link again, here.  I am sorry for this young man, and I understand his anguish.  It is, indeed, a cruel world.  But let us not disparage all that America has given to support the security of the Free World since 1945.

Whoever it was that coined the term "Pax Americana" was exactly right.  Caesar Augustus, credited with having overseen the 50 years known as the Pax Romana (during which time the Prince of Peace was born) had his legions fight many skirmishes on the fringes of the Roman Empire.  Still, that half-century under Augustus was spared a major war, as have been the past 66 years, the Pax Americana.  The difference has been that the American Presidents are not emperors.  In defending The Free World, Americans have given freely of their blood and treasure, demanding no land, and extorting no tribute from those whose freedom they have defended, of which our exit from Iraq is present-day proof.

My Norwegian acquaintance in Budapest understood that fact.  I hope that those who view this anguished young man's video will, also.  While War is Hell, sometimes its opposite is not peace, but slavery.  If you do not believe that, you would do well to visit Memorialul Victimelor Comunismului şi al Rezistenţei, "The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance," in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania.  It is a museum built inside the prison once reserved for the intellectual and artistic elite of that country, imprisoned (and in many cases killed outright, or allowed to die in prison of disease, starvation, or neglect) under the Communist dictators who ruled Romania from 1948 until the Revolution of December 21, 1989.*  

The major military/geopolitical news of this week was the end of the war in Iraq.  The American soldiers are now out.  I am glad for them, and for their families.  But, given the state of the Middle East, and of the World, this change in the status quo begs the question, is the Pax Americana ending with the withdrawal from Iraq?
*How curious that these thoughts should have come to me on December 21, 2011, exactly 22 years after the Romanian Revolution, stimulated in me by a Romanian friend.  Perhaps, it was not coincidence?


  1. My father was a Navy man who served in Korea and Vietnam. He wasn't in the trenches or the paddies; he was aboard ship, relatively safe since neither of those belligerents had much of a navy. So I grew up a Navy Brat, luxuriating in a common community which was very diverse for the 50s and 60s. I write this to give evidence of my credibility as a person who knows what it's like to be in a military family.

    I agree, Duncan, with your points here concerning the blood and treasure we US citizens have put out to help other countries since we began assisting the British with Lend-Lease in the 1930s. But I don't know if there was a true Pax Americana. The peace of the Cold War was one punctuated by real war and human suffering as colonialism died and Communism waned. And I am glad that the American war in Iraq has ended because I truly saw that conflict as a manufactured travesty foisted upon the Iraqi people. I too have been approached by people when I am abroad, and these people generously thank me for America's sacrifice, especially during WW II. But as often, I speak with people who point out that America's tendency to attack has made us a pariah in many countries.

    If anything, your thought-provoking comment on the Pax Americana has me thinking that we need a Pax Terra wherein the world's people unite to create a process by which conflict is reduced and violence is shunned. We need to do this for our children. Pax Terra.

    La multi ani!

    David Hadaller

  2. Agreed. A Pax Orbis would be still better. But there are forces afoot that foment fear of a major conflagration in the near future. So, please join me this Christmas in praying for Peace.

    Crăciun ferecit!



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