30 I CHRONICLESnphenomenon if not a way of life in thenWest. But how can this be explained?nWerner’s answer deals with France,nbut it is thought-provoking—andnalarming — when applied to thenEnglish-speaking world, particularly tonBritain, Canada, and the UnitednStates: Treason exists only where therenis something to be betrayed. We nonlonger take treason seriously becausenwe no longer believe that a nation isnsomething that can be betrayed.n(Abortion can be a crime only if a babynexists to be killed; heresy can be a sinnonly if religious truth exists.) “A traitornis not really a traitor because the nationnis not really a nation.”nNot a nation? France, General denGaulle’s “grande nation,” not a nation?nThe United States, which wensometimes still call “the world’s mostnpowerful nation,” not a nation? InnWerner’s sense. No. Both France andnthe USA are states, but not states of thenkind that can inspire national loyalty.nHence, “La trahison, c’est la chose lanplus naturelle du monde.”nWhat can inspire loyalty? A nationncan, and so can an empire, but modernnWestern countries are neither. Annation is an ethnic and cultural entitynand must also have its own nationalnspirit. France was a nation, and so wasnBritain; Germany really became a nationnonly in the mid-19th century, andnthis late maturation helped plunge Europeninto two world wars. Nationsnfrequently seek “natural boundaries,”nbut they do not necessarily seek tonexpand beyond them.nAn empire has a different kind ofnspirit, universal rather than local.nRome, the empire par excellence,nbegan as one city-state, not very differentnfrom most of the rest of Italy. Itsntremendous expansion was notnnational—like France’s in the 17thncentury—but imperial. Rome developednmilitary competence and a highnlevel of administrative and managementnskills, but these alone would ^otnhave created and maintained the empire;nFor centuries Rome stood fornsomething grand, and scores of communitiesnand races that were strangersnto each other came to share its vision.nHitler’s “Third Reich (empire)” wasndoomed to fail as an empire becausenHitler insisted on the narrowest kind ofnnationalism. No one but ethnic Germansncould share it.nAn empire need not try to rule thenworld. Rival empires can coexist sidenby side, as the British and FrenchnEmpires did prior to World War II.nBoth were convinced that they hadnsomething to give the world, but theynwere not determined to impose it onneach other. In Britain and France,nboth when they were relatively homogeneousnnations and as they becamenempires, treason was a highncrime. Why is it such no longer?nBecause they have abandoned theirnempires and have not reestablishednthemselves as nations. Hence, treasonnis “la chose la plus naturelle dunmonde.”nCan an empire revert to being annation? France has tried. De Gaulle,ngiving up his country’s imperial heritage,nmade a conscious effort to reestablishnFrance as la grande nation. Butnit was apparently too late. France cannno longer be a nation because toonmany survivors of her imperial pastnhave installed themselves in the “hexagon”n(as France is often called after itsnshape on the map). France might likento be complete and self-contained, likena hexagon, and no longer have need ofnan empire. Unfortunately for France,nthis no longer seems to work. ModernnFrance may be a self-contained hexagonngeometrically, but not spirituallynor culturally.nFrance has opened its doors to non-nFrench, non-Catholic, non-Christian,nnon-European immigrants in greatnnumbers—the shipwrecked victims ofnits vanished empire. For the empire,npeople of diverse traditions with strongnattachments to France were an asset—nfor the hexagon, they are a liability. Anmissionary, expanding, evangelizingnchurch is proud of its converts fromnother religions; a stagnant church isnembarrassed by anyone trying to convert,nbecause he reminds the existingn”believers” that they have lost theirnvision. Jews who want to accept Jesusnas their Messiah are embarrassing ton”Christians” who no longer believenthat Jesus is “the way, the truth, andnthe life.” Vietnamese and Africansnwho want to be loyally French embarrassnethnic Frenchmen because theynremind them of their lost (or betrayed)nempire, while those who do not wantnto become French remain a foreignnbody and lead to nationalistic reactionsnsuch as that led by Jean-Marie LePen.nnnCan France be a nation when its populationnnumbers 15, 20, 25 percent ofnnonassimilated immigrants, particularlynof immigrants who came becausenthey believed in an ideal that thenmajority has abandoned?nThere is a warning for the UnitednStates in all this. Like Rome, we havennever really been a nation; unlikenRome, we have not really become annempire. For a brief period after thenSecond World War, the United Statesnhad a chance to become an empire.nWe turned away from that chance,nwith all its inherent potential for grandeurnand for evil. The postwar “imperialism”nof which America is accusednhas been commercial only—and businessnis not empire.nAmerica has made an attempt orntwo to act like an empire, even ifnunconsciously. America’s Korean Warnmay be compared to Rome’s interventionsnin Greece: The Korean Warnmade sense on the assumption thatnAmerica has a mission in Asia. Itnmade much less sense on the officialntheory that our only goal was to helpnAsians attain self-realization. This becamenour stumbling-block in Vietnam.nOur persistent refusal to see thenVietnam War as a clash of empires andnour denial that America has any legitimatenimperial mission or interestsnmade it impossible for us to justify ournpresence in Vietnam to our own people.nWe deny that we are an empire; atnthe same time, we permit or promotenthe practice of the melting-pot in ethnicnand cultural pluralism, whichnmakes it impossible for our countrynreally to be a nation. What is left? Thentreason system.nTo return to the religious parallel:nCommitted Christians have alwaysnknown that there are only two choicesnfor the church. It will either have anmission to the world, or it will suffernsubmission to the world. To abandonnthe sense of mission is to reduce Christianitynto the level of folk religion ornpopular superstition, making thenchurch little more than a folklorenclub. Something similar holds truenwith our American “empire”: either itnwill have a sense of mission or it willndecline to a constantly diminishingnrole in the world.nThe United States, by virtue of ournpower, wealth, and dynamism, simplynmust have a worldwide influence inn