12/30/2005

Posh Americana: An Explanation



One of the blog links on the right bears an explanation. I have gotten some email asking "What the hell does Posh Americana refer to?" Well, its my mocking term for our foreign policy. Those familiar with the ideology of 'Pax Americana' know that this refers to a policy position that aims to suppress foreign governments that may exert an uncomfortable influence on the US. The strategy is one of dominance and control. And for years, decades, it has served us well.
The 'supremacy' of the US on the world stage has been unrivalled. Even now, neocons evoke "Pax Americana" as a vehicle to push Chinese isolationism, and the term has become practically synonymous with the "Bush Doctrine".
After the Cold War, we had a unique opportunity to use this phase for disarmament, to pursue real diplomatic partnerships. Tackle global problems. Back away from the military megaspending. Fix levees and tend to our infrastructure. People forget that defense is about opportunity cost: what could have been done with a particular amount of capital versus weaponry.
Instead, we chose to continue this path toward empire but with an added kicker: the goal of the US has been to secure and maintain our material and strategic interests against threat. But now our stance is not one of self protection, but of aggression and pre-emptive war. Pre-Emptive war was something many people thought America would never engage in, yet here we are. And the precedent has been set. The distrust solidified. We will no longer be able to rely on allies, increasingly we will be forced to turn to militarism. Might will make right.
But by Posh Americana versus Pax Americana, I am pointing out that there is a vast difference between simply protecting the interests of the US and what we are doing. We are protecting a consumptive way of life that we have no right to, at the expense of other people. The rate of consumption, the levels of pollution, the addiction to oil, the inability to reign in our culture of excess: we have not a policy of defense but one of offense. We do not seek to influence, we seek to control. The resources of other countries are now inputs for our production: the American Dream. We must protect a lifestyle, one that endures at the hands of everyone else.
Consider the pipeline locations in Afghanistan and the locations of the bases there now for the war on terror. Consider the context of resource wars and the way we have snubbed the Geneva Conventions and refused to participate in Kyoto. This is a more accurate reflection of our foreign policy goals, in my view: to maintain and protect the unjust gluttony of world resources with indifference about the consequences. Ours is not a policy of compromise or cooperation, it is a policy of empire. And an empire exploits for its own gain, for the ability to live 'higher' than everyone else. -Lily

5 comments:

Lew Scannon said...

It is the greatest of ironies that while we have the richest, most consumptive oriented people on the planet here (wasn't consumption the original name for cancer? But I digress)we also are home to some of the poorest as well. So we send the poorest off to fight for materials goods for the wealthiest to consume with the promise that when (and if) they return, they'll be entitled to reap some of that materialism, all the while knowing that they'll be exposed to DU and won't get much help from the VA when they return and won't be able to partake in the great consumptive banquet they have fought for overseas. Hooray for the USA!

Lily said...

Well I think "consumption" referred to Tuberculosis?
Well all these things are true but I think we need to look at this idea of foreign policy strategy as it pertains to what we are doing now: Consider the Gwich'in Indians in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge, and our indifference regarding their reliance on caribou and the ecosystem for their way of life. Does this stop us from wanting to drill there, despite the fact that we could conserve oil simply by raising fuel economy standards?
These examples illustrate the fact that we are not concerned about preserving OUR way of life, but are hellbent on destroying everyone else's.

Lizzy said...

Hi Lily,

I thank you so much for your kind visit and kind words.

You have a nice posse here as well.

Surely hope that there will be Peace this 2006 and you have healthy and happiness

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! »

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