The Policy of Rome

When the Roman Empire finally fell apart, it was not from a lack of military power; but rather from internal corruption, moral decay, rampant injustice, and the never-ending costs of trying to control the world. Our own government seems to have made its strategic choice for the post-Cold War era. The United States has chosen the policy of Rome.

A 46-page document from the highest levels of the Defense Department lays out an unmistakable strategy for maintaining a one-superpower world. It is a plan explicitly designed to prevent all would-be rivals--both enemies and allies--from challenging American predominance anywhere on Earth. The clearly stated objective is "to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests." Total and global American hegemony is the clearly named goal.

Such a strategy will necessarily require a capacity to project U.S. military power into every region of the world, and the Pentagon paper is a bold rationale for continued high levels of military spending. The end of the Cold War notwithstanding, the Pentagon still wants to define national security by spending trillions of dollars on the military. Once again, taking care of business at home will have to wait. Educating our kids, making health care affordable, putting people back to work, and dealing with cities that have become war zones will continue to take a back seat to George Bush's determination to provide "leadership" in the modern world. But the argument between Pat Buchanan's "America First" campaign and George Bush's "globalism" misses the point. Domination abroad and disintegration at home is hardly offering leadership on any front.

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Sojourners Magazine May 1992
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