man in the early Middle Ages, and there is a strongntemptation to seek refuge under the protection of a Japanese-stylencorporation. What a relief it would be to let thencompany worry about your future.nUnfortunately, the international economic order does notnoften provide the level of security offered by Toyota ornMitsubishi. Even the U.S. corporations with long-standingnpolicies on job security will give them up when the choice isnretrenchment or extinction. For confirmation, ask any of thenseveral thousand recently fired employees of Control DatanCorporation.nWhen American business was substantially bound to thencontinent (as in the 1950’s), a man’s job might be precariousnenough, since his future depended on powerful political andneconomic forces within the United States. However, nownthat economic performance depends more and more onnevents in Japan and Western Europe, it is increasinglyndifficult even to imagine the strategies and policies, thenbungles and boondoggles that can lead to recession andnunemployment. Under these circumstances, a man mightnbe excused for putting his head down, concentrating on hisnday-to-day tasks, and hoping that someone will take care ofnhim if all goes wrong, but he is less of a man if he does.nWelfare dependents and the servile tools of internationalnbusiness are not the stuff out of which empires are made. Isnthis the explanation for the Pentagon’s reliance on technologicalnwizardry and the gloating early reports on the successnof our air attacks? America, with its 250 million people,ngigantic GNP, and overwhelming superiority in militarynhardware and personnel, is the only remaining superpowernin the world. One would have thought it a small matter tontake on a Third World country with an area the size ofnCalifornia and a population less than New York’s. But in theninflated rhetoric of George Bush and his admirers in thenAdvertise In…nChroniclesnA MAGAZINE OF AMERICAN CULTUREnPlace your advertisement within the ‘npages of one of America’s leadingncultural and intellectual publications.nOur dedicated readership, uncompromisingneditorial content, andnaward-winning gi’aphics provide annunequalled advertising opportunity.nFor your free information packet,nplease contact Leann Dobbs ornCathy Corson at 815/964-5054.n16/CHRONICLESnnnpress, a petty Arab thug is blown up into another Hitler, Iraqninto Germany, and the air strikes on Baghdad anothernD-Day.nThe upwelling popular support for the war demonstratesnthat most Americans have their hearts in the right place.nThey don’t like bullies and they trust their leaders enough tonbelieve that they would not be dragging us into a war, ifnthere were not vital interests at stake. As Metternich saidnof the Germans, our hearts are always sound; it is our headsnthat get led astray.nAs laudable as this resurgent patriotism is, it cannot justifyneither the bullying tone of public spokesmen nor the risingntide of anti-Arab sentiment. It is as if we cannot fight a warnwithout first degrading the enemy people, demonizing theirnleaders, and trumpeting our own virtues and victories like anrooster on a dunghill. The only conclusion to draw from ournembarrassing self-congratulation is that this nation is notnready to assume the responsibilities of empire even undernthe pleasant guise of a New World Order, which PresidentnBush now describes (on January 23) as the “rule of law”nimposed upon the world — a rule of law that presupposes ansovereign power capable of enforcing it.nWhen the Romans imposed their rule of law upon thendecadent nations of the East and on the savage nations ofnEurope, the Italian peasantry were still a vigorous peopleneager to take risks and confident of Rome’s destiny. But evennwithout practicing imperialism abroad, we already have thencharacteristics of a bloated and decadent empire, groaningnunder the weight of an arrogant bureaucracy and torn bynethnic dissensions. Rome’s soldiers and administrators, evennprovincials whose fathers had learned to speak Latin late innlife, could look back on the great saga of Roman myth andnhistory as a story that shaped their present experiences. Butnwe, at the very moment we are embarking upon our ownnadventure of conquest, teach our children nothing butncounter-myths about the racist and sexist oppression exercisednby white, Anglo-Saxon Christians in America. Isnanyone, black or white, Jew or Christian, ready to die forncultural diversity?nOther decadent empires have attempted to use war as anmeans for restoring their self-confidence. Paul Kennedy, inntaking the Wall Street Journal to task for its jingoism, offerednthe analogy of Spain’s disastrous conquests under Philip IV.nLike the United States in the 1990’s, Spain was riddled withndomestic difficulties. Kennedy concludes his analysis with anwarning; “If the U.S. wishes to recover its ‘reputation,’ itnmight begin by repairing its inner cities, public education,ncrumbling infrastructure, and multiple social needs, at thensame time resisting the temptation to follow the path ofnSpanish grandees.”nPerhaps an even more ominous parallel is the ByzantinenEmpire’s successful wars against Persia in the early seventhncentury. Heraclius reconquered Syria, Egypt, and Palestinenand brought the Persians to their knees. The Byzantinenexultation was short-lived. They had not only strained theirnresources, but in eliminating their competitor they hadncreated a power vacuum into which the abhorrent forces ofnnature rushed from Arabia to fill. By the time of his death inn641, Heraclius had witnessed the Arab conquest not only ofnEgypt and Syria but of Persia itself The rest, as GeorgenBush would say, is just history.
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