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Pax Americana

"Thanks to Trump our influence in the world is wani..."



by 7 Jurors

Pax Americana (Latin for "American Peace", modeled after Pax Britannica and Pax Romana) is a term applied to the concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the world as a result of the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the middle of the 20th century and continuing to this day. Although the term finds its primary utility in the latter half of the 20th century, it has been used with different meanings and eras, such as the post-Civil War era in North America, and regionally in the Americas at the start of the 20th century.

Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations to refer to the peace among great powers established after the end of World War II in 1945, also called the Long Peace. In this modern sense, it has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. For example, the Marshall Plan, which spent $13 billion to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, has been seen as "the launching of the pax americana."

The Latin term derives from Pax Romana of the Roman Empire. The term is most notably associated with Pax Britannica under the British Empire, which served as the global hegemon and constabulary from the late 18th century until the early 20th century.

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Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Bob Parker posted a review

Trump united opponents in the abortion battle with his comments, united Jews and Muslims with his travel ban and Vietnam and China with his policies. I can't believe how Trump could unite so much considering how divisive he tries to be. Trump is making sure the Pax Americana came to an end. Thank you Trump for uniting the world.

I'm not being sarcastic either. It's time we minded our own business anyway. We've exhausted our resources and money on being the World Police. Why don't we just relax and take a step back.

on February 22, 2017

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Hope Isnotlost posted a review

Germany's foreign minister has said the inauguration of Donald Trump marks the end of the old world order, warning that there is a “great deal at stake” with the new President in power.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has served in Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet since 2005, said Mr Trump's election paved the way for “troubled times ahead”, but added that Germany would seek to cooperate with the new US administration. 

Writing in Bild on Sunday, Mr Steinmeier wrote: “As always with all power changes there are uncertainties, doubts and question marks about the course of the new leadership.

“But in these times of a new global disorder, this is about more. Today there is a great deal at stake: by choosing Donald Trump, the old world of the 20th century is over.”

“The order of the 21st century and the way the world of tomorrow will look is not settled; it is completely open […] I know we have to adjust to troubled times, to some unpredictability and new uncertainties," Mr Steinmeier added.

“But I would like to make sure that in Washington we find attentive listeners who know that even large countries need partners in this world, and who are willing to go their way together with good friends and tried and trusted Alliance partners.”

The relationship between the German government and the Trump administration is not yet clear, but both sides have been heard criticising the other.

Germany's Vice Chancellor accused Mr Trump over the weekend of delivering an inauguration speech with “high nationalistic tones”, adding that the businessman had been elected as a result of “bad radicalisation” in the US.

In an interview with the Sunday Times and Bild earlier this month, Mr Trump avoided saying who he trusts more out of Chancellor Merkel, a longtime US-ally, or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Well, I start off trusting both — but let’s see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all,” he said.

In the same interview, Mr Trump criticised Ms Merkel, saying she had made a “catastrophic mistake” with her open door policy on refugees, and that the Christmas market attack by a Tunisian man in Berlin was one effect of her policies.

The now-President's criticism of one of Europe’s most prominent leaders has been condemned by European leaders, who said it could not be accepted and would only encourage Europeans to “close ranks”. 

The German Chancellor has meanwhile only spoken publicly of Mr Trump once, when she said shortly after his election victory: “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands."

on January 24, 2017

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Tim Phiffer posted a review

In 1953, the CIA overthrew the secular, progressive, democratic government of Iran (Operation Ajax). And installed the brutal dictator, the Shah. Why? Because British Petroleum wanted to continue getting Iranian oil for cheap, and the Iranians wanted to get a fair price for it. The Shah ruled Iran with an iron fist for 25 years. He imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands of political opponents with the help of the cia. This brutal led directly to the Iranian Revolution of 79.

In the 80's, Iraq and Iran were at war over oil fields. And it was clear Iraq was going to lose badly. So America stepped in, took Iraq off the state sponsors of terrorism list, gave Iraq lots of money and helped them get military weapons including WMDs. The war ended in a draw.

Then 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait over oil. Saddam was our puppet, but his invasion violated our approach of balkanization, keeping the middle east countries separate and weak. So we invaded Kuwait and kicked Iraq out. Did we then turn Kuwait into a democracy? No. We put the tyrant back in charge and made them our puppet. We then had the UN pass a resolution that Iraq must destroy all the WMDs they had, yes the ones America helped them get in the 80's.

WMDs became an excuse to try to kill Saddam and install a puppet to get control of cheap Iraqi oil. During the 90's, American weapons inspector Scott Ritter said his inspection team was awash with cia spies. His team was supposed to catalogue and destroy Saddams weapons, but the cia plants were more focused on "regime change" by finding Saddam and having him killed. Iraq wmds are about 90% destroyed when saddam avoids a number of assasination attempts and he kicks the inspection teams out. Operation Desert Fox was a 3 day bombing campaign to try to kill Saddam from the air.

The attacks on 9/11 were planned and orchestrated by Saudi nationals who had set up a base of operations in Afghanistan. So after 9/11, America put its focus on... wait for it.... Iraq. UN weapon inspectors (led by Hans Blix) went in and found that Ritter had in fact destroyed most WMDs. They announced they would be done in a few months. America immediately invades because if the WMDs are all destroyed, there will be zero justification for an invasion. Saddam is eventually found and executed. The WMDs found are exactly matching what Ritter and Blix had said. But immediately after the invasion, American oil company Haliburton is awarded billions of dollars of oil contracts in Iraq.

on November 29, 2016

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Sean Ferguson posted a review

What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to?

Military power does not exist independently, but only in relation to specific circumstances. Comparing technical specifications of the T-14 to those of the M1A2, or Su-34 to F-15, or numbers of this to numbers of that, is an interesting intellectual exercise. It means little without reference to specific circumstances.

For example, America is vastly superior militarily to North Korea in every category of arms–but the North has nuclear bombs. It can’t deliver them to the US, but probably can to Seoul. Even without nuclear weapons, it has a large army and large numbers of artillery tubes within range of Seoul. It has an unpredictable government. As Gordon Liddy said, if your responses to provocation are wildly out of proportion to those provocations, and unpredictable, nobody will provoke you.

An American attack by air on the North, the only attack possible short of a preemptive nuclear strike, would offer a high probability of a peninsular war, devastation of Seoul, paralysis of an important trading partner–think Samsung–and an uncertain final outcome. The United States hasn’t the means of getting troops to Korea rapidly in any numbers, and the domestic political results of lots of GIs killed by a serious enemy would be politically grave. The probable cost far exceeds any possible benefit. In practical terms, Washington’s military superiority means nothing with regard to North Korea. Pyongyang knows it.

Or consider the Ukraine. On paper, US forces overall are superior to Russian. Locally, they are not. Russia borders on the Ukraine and could overrun it quickly. The US cannot rapidly bring force to bear except a degree of air power. Air power hasn’t worked against defenseless peasants in many countries. Russia is not a defenseless peasant. Europe, usually docile and obedient to America, is unlikely to engage in a shooting war with Moscow for the benefit of Washington. Europeans are aware that Russia borders on Eastern Europe, which borders on Western Europe. For Washington, fighting Russia in the Ukraine would require a huge effort with seaborne logistics and a national mobilization. Serious wars with nuclear powers do not represent the height of judgement.

Again, Washington’s military superiority means nothing.

Or consider Washington’s dispute with China in the Pacific. China cannot begin to match American naval power. It doesn’t have to. Beijing has focused on anti-ship missiles–read “carrier-killer”–such as the JD21 ballistic missile. How well it works I do not know, but the Chinese are not stupid. Is the risk of finding out worth it? Fast, stealthed, sea-skimming cruise missiles are very cheap compared to carriers, and America’s admirals know that lots of them arriving simultaneously would not have a happy ending.

Having a fleet disabled by China would be intolerable to Washington, but its possible responses would be unappealing. Would it start a conventional war with China with the ghastly global economic consequences? This would not generate allies. Cut China’s oil lanes to the Mid-East and push Beijing toward nuclear war? Destroy the Three Gorges Dam and drown god knows how many people? If China used the war as a pretext for annexing bordering counties? What would Russia do?

The consequences both probable and assured make the adventure unattractive, especially since likely pretexts for a war with China–a few rocks in the Pacific, for example–are too trivial to be worth the certain costs and uncertain outcome. Again, military superiority doesn’t mean much.

We live in a military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.

At any rate, nobody has. Fools abound in DC and New York.

What then, in today’s world, is the point of huge conventional forces?

The American military is an upgraded World War II military, designed to fight other militarizes like itself in a world like that which existed during World War II. The Soviet Union was that kind of military. Today there are no such militaries for America to fight. We are not in the same world. Washington seems not to have noticed.

A World War II military is intended to destroy point targets of high value—aircraft, ships, factories, tanks—and to capture crucial territory, such as the enemy’s country. When you have destroyed the Wehrmacht’s heavy weaponry and occupied Germany, you have won. This is the sort of war that militaries have always relished, having much sound and fury and clear goals.

It doesn’t work that way today. Since Korea, half-organized peasant militias have baffled the Pentagon by not having targets of high value or crucial territory. In Afghanistan for example goatherds with rifles could simply disperse, providing no point targets at all, and certainly not of high value. No territory was crucial to them. If the US mounted a huge operation to take Province A, the resistance could just fade into the population or move to Province B. The US would always be victorious but never win anything. Sooner or later America would go away. The world understands this.

Further, the underlying nature of conflict has changed. For most of history until the Soviet Union evaporated, empires expanded by military conquest. In today’s world, countries have not lost their imperial ambitions, but the approach is no longer military. China seems intent on bringing Eurasia under its hegemony, and advances toward doing it, but its approach is economic, not martial. The Chinese are not warm and fuzzy. They are, however, smart. It is much cheaper and safer to expand commercially than militarily, and wiser to sidestep martial confrontation—in a word, to ignore America. More correctly it is sidestepping the Pentagon.

Military and diplomatic power spring from economic power, and China is proving successful economically. Using commercial clout, she is expanding her influence, but in ways not easily bombed. She is pushing the BRICS alliance, from which the US is excluded. She is enlarging the SCO, from which America is excluded. Perhaps most importantly, she has set up the AIIB, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which does not include the US but includes Washington’s European allies. These organizations will probably trade mostly not in dollars, a serious threat to Washington’s economic hegemony.

What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?

China enjoys solvency, and hegemonizes enthusiastically with it. Thus in Pakistan it has built the Karakoram Highway from Xian Jiang to Karachi, which will increase trade between the two. It is putting in the two power reactors near Karachi. It is investing in Afghan resources, increasing trade with Iran. . When the US finally leaves, China, without firing a shot, will be predominant in the region.

What is the relevance of aircraft carriers?

Beijing is talking seriously about building more rail lines, including high-speed rail, from itself to Europe, accompanied by fiber-optic lines and so on. This is not just talk. China has the money and a very large network of high-speed rail domestically. (The US has not a single mile.) Google “China-Europe Rail lines.”

What is the Pentagon going to do? Bomb the tracks?

As trade and ease of travel from Berlin to Beijing increase, and as China prospers and wants more European goods, European businessmen will want to cuddle up to that fabulously large market—which will loosen Washington’s grip on the throat of Europe. Say it three times slowly: Eur-asia. Eur-asia. Eur-asia. I promise it is what the Chinese are saying.

What is the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar military going to bomb? Europe? Railways across Kazakhstan? BMW plants?

All of which is to say that while the US military looks formidable, it isn’t particularly useful, and aids China by bankrupting the US. Repeatedly it has demonstrated that it cannot defeat campesinos armed with those most formidable weapons, the AK, the RPG, and the IED. The US does not have the land forces to fight a major or semi-major enemy. It could bomb Iran, with unpredictable consequences, but couldn’t possibly conquer it.

The wars in the Mid-East illustrate the principle nicely. Iraq didn’t work. Libya didn’t work. Iran didn’t back down. ISIS and related curiosities? The Pentagon is again bombing an enemy that can’t fight back—its specialty—but that it seems unable to defeat.

on November 21, 2016

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Dr Summers posted a review

• The United States ratified the Paris climate-change accord as an executive agreement, with President Obama committing the United States to this agreement by virtue of his power to conclude agreements with other states and utilizing preexisting executive-branch authorities to direct the federal government to take regulatory steps to enforce its provisions. With the stroke of a pen, a President Trump can unsign the agreement and instruct the various agencies of the executive branch not to enforce its provisions.

• To some extent, the horse has left the barn on the Iran nuclear agreement, because its core was the U.S. vote in the United Nations Security Council to lift the binding international sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The United States cannot unilaterally reimpose those sanctions, unless it can bring credible evidence to the UN Security Council that Iran is in violation of its obligations under the accord. Moreover, Iranian funds frozen in U.S. financial institutions have now been released. However, using the broad discretionary authority for the president to impose U.S. sanctions against countries and third parties, a President Trump would have the ability to use economic tools to attempt to renegotiate sections of the deal, or to push for separate agreements that would deal with missiles or Iran’s support for its proxies in other parts of the Middle East.

• President Obama defined the islands that are currently disputed between Japan and China as falling under the provisions of the U.S.-Japan defensive alliance, meaning that a Chinese incursion would be treated by the United States as an assault on the Japanese home islands. A President Trump could reverse this position to maintain that while the United States will honor its treaty commitments if territory that is undisputedly Japanese is attacked, it will reserve the right to consider the situation if Japan and China get into a spat over the disputed islands rather than to automatically respond in Japan’s favor. This might be a way he could seek to defuse tensions with China, although at the risk of alienating Japan.

• At the same time, a President Trump has the authority, via his treasury secretary, to make a ruling as to whether China is manipulating the value of its currency in order to make its exports cheaper vis-à-vis U.S. produced goods. If such a determination is made, he could then impose tariffs and other penalties that would raise the price of Chinese-produced goods in the United States. The risk is whether this starts a long-running trade war with China, or whether it serves as the basis for both sides to “make a deal.”

• While some sanctions against Russia are a part of U.S. statute—notably the Magnitsky Act—and cannot be waived by the president, other sanctions are imposed by executive order. As a way to induce Russia to the negotiating table, a President Trump could unilaterally suspend some of the U.S. sanctions currently imposed over the situation in Ukraine if Russia were to show flexibility in offering compromises on Ukraine, Syria or other contentious issues. Sanctions could then be lifted altogether—or reimposed—depending on whether a satisfactory deal could be reached with Vladimir Putin or whether the Russian side would in fact implement its provisions.

• A President Trump would almost certainly repeal any existing executive orders that delay or suspend enforcement of immigration violations. In addition, using executive authority, albeit with a need to repurpose or redefine existing funds via emergency contingency operations, or in the context of an exercise, he could initiate a symbolic fortification of the southern border. (Much would depend here on the creative lawyering of his White House counsel and the counsels at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.)

• Just as the “U.S. flag requirement” for air and sea carriers conducting business for the U.S. government has helped save some U.S. shipping firms, a President Trump could use executive authority to redefine what constitutes an “American-produced” good that, in particular, the Department of Defense would be required to purchase, to expand the definition away from final assembly to include manufacture of component parts or resourcing of raw materials—to further incentivize U.S. companies to return production to U.S. soil. To revive domestic U.S. energy producers, a Trump administration could mandate that the Department of Energy purchase oil from domestic U.S. producers at a fixed price in order to shield domestic firms from the current downturn (although here Congress would have to appropriate the funds, which may run up against the free-market orthodoxy of purchasing oil at the lowest price from any supplier).

All of these actions could very easily run up against sustained bureaucratic resistance and Congressional opposition, and the costs may prove to be far too high—as President Obama himself discovered when trying to implement his executive order to close the Guántanamo Bay facility by January 2010. There are also second- and third-order effects that would have to be carefully considered. Yet this thought experiment demonstrates that a President Trump does have some immediate tools at his disposal to begin implementing his agenda. It all depends on what sort of impact he wants to make.

on November 11, 2016

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Keith Braccin posted a review

The time of America being the world's policeman or the protector of the liberal order has passed or is ending. The voters think so, though our foreign policy establishment and Pentagon establishment refuses to accept that reality.

on October 22, 2016

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Jason AD posted a review

Most Americans think that a substantial chunk of the national budget goes toward deals like the one with Israel. In a Kaiser Family Foundation study published in early 2015, the average respondent thought that 26 percent of the federal budget went to foreign aid. More than half of the respondents thought the United States was spending too much on foreign aid.

In reality, this is what U.S. foreign aid looks like as a proportion of the total proposed federal budget for 2017:

Still, as noted earlier, even if the U.S. federal budget is massive, the $50.1 billion proposed foreign-aid budget for 2017 is a large sum (though it is 2.1 percent lower than last year's budget allocation).

If we take that minuscule bit out of the budget and dissect it, we get two broad categories: economic assistance, which we commonly refer to as humanitarian aid, and military assistance, which the government refers to euphemistically as "overseas contingency operations."

Here's how the foreign-aid budget breaks down:

U.S. foreign aid serves many stated purposes, but, generally speaking, the money is intended to ensure American strategic interests abroad and bolster international institutions that respond to humanitarian crises, climate change, infectious diseases and a plethora of other development concerns.

By transposing the amounts of U.S. foreign aid budgeted to different countries, we can more easily see where the American government thinks those interests lie.

Below are two maps, or cartograms really — one for humanitarian aid, the other for military — that show countries sized proportionally to the amount of U.S. funding they receive.

This map retains at least a semblance of a regular map's familiar contours. That is because U.S. humanitarian aid is spread out across most regions of the world.

Nevertheless, seven African countries feature among the top-10 recipients of economic assistance, and most of the money is funneled toward health initiatives, particularly HIV/AIDS treatment and research.

The biggest recipient is Afghanistan, which, after 15 years of a war that has entangled the United States, is using U.S. money to rebuild its tattered public infrastructure.

The map for military funding is far more skewed. About three-quarters of all direct military aid goes to just two countries: Israel and Egypt. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid since World War II — the country was forged into existence only in 1948. And Egypt procured such robust funding only by agreeing to an American-brokered peace deal with Israel in the 1978 Camp David Accords.

U.S. military aid also comes with major strings attached. Primary among them: Recipient countries have to spend that money on U.S. defense contracts. The only country partially exempted from this rule is Israel, which, according to the current agreement, can spend up to 26 percent of the aid it receives on products of its own defense industry. This provision was included to help Israel grow its fledgling defense industry decades ago. The new agreement does away with the provision, gradually phasing it out, to Israel's chagrin.

The $3.8 billion, it's worth mentioning, is less than the $4 billion to $5 billion a year that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought.

Put together, the data from both maps, and the list of the top-10 aid recipients overall, shakes out like this:

Source: Washington Post

on September 30, 2016

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Sean Ferguson posted a review

After the economic downturn in 2008, the author of End of History drastically claimed that liberal order would be no more the universal order. Before him, his mentor in Harvard repeated the cyclist view of history, saying whenever empires think they are the eternal model of the world, it is in fact the turning point for their decline. He deemed US has approaching this turning point , it is a historical force nothing can stop.

America and the west should stop pushing western universalism, for it is wrong and dangerous to the west itself. Spangler wrote the Decline of the West more than 100 years ago. The truth is the map of western sphere of influence was at its largest in 1921, then it was the turning
point of shrinkage of western influence in the world.

The demise of the American global order must be handled by all actors very carefully, for I fear the US in its decline will act like a dying star destroying everything around it as it fades.

What the Washington think tanks must realize and admit the US' inevitable and eventual decline. They must make the hard but strategic decision to abandon their feverish quest for "global hegemony" to concentrate on maintaining Pax Americana in the Americas and Western Europe. Any attempt to extend that sphere of influence will result in the same fate of the Roman Empire.

on September 18, 2016

Ng Man But as of now, the United States and the North Hemisphere is the economy superpower, they should keep making contribution to the world economy. Don't just stop here.

Johnny Isiah The US still has years in it. Don't just give up. But I agree, we should dial back our global committment. Our allies should start taking care of their own defenses for starter.

Dave Blank Great post.

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Pax Americana

Thanks to Trump our influence in the world is waning, and that's not a bad thing at all.
Book rating: 40.7 out of 100 with 7 ratings