Part of our failure in dealing with this globally threatening issue is that we have grown accustomed and even feel entitled to our current standard of living. As George H. W. Bush said in 1992: “Our American way of life is non-negotiable.”
Not only do we feel entitled we also think we are exceptional. No nation is better or more god-blessed than
In a sermon I preached during Lent entitled, Tempted by Empire, I quoted a former United States Senator from
“We’re the strongest nation on Earth militarily. We’re the most moral nation on Earth. We are an example to the rest of the world, even that part of the world that doesn’t like us much. …You realize that even our most vocal adversaries really in a way are expressing an envy for America, for our ability to create wealth and distribute it as equitably as has ever been known in history….We are the greatest nation on Earth, but we have the greatest obligations of Earth.”
“The most moral nation on Earth.” That is American Exceptionalism.
I wonder if our friends in
Baker is correct to say that we have the strongest military. We spend more on our military than the next 20 nations combined. We have over 700 military bases in 130 countries. Why? To spread morality?
There could be another reason. We make up four percent of the world’s population yet consume 25% of the world’s oil. If Peak Oil has arrived or will arrive shortly, and the global supply of oil will rapidly diminish, then we will need more than 25% of the world’s oil if we wish to continue our non-negotiable American way of life. We will need 30% then 40%, 50%, 75%, even 100% just to maintain our standard of living.
Other nations might want some of that oil, too.
So…we need to secure it for ourselves.
Enter the Project for the New American Century (whose membership includes Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, among others. This is their mission statement:
The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.
There is that “moral principle” again. You see, Americans don’t like to think that their government is simply so rude as to go to war over worldly things like oil. After all, we put Native Americans on reservations and enslaved Africans in order to civilize and Christianize them. You know, make them moral.
But the hard truth is that economy drives war. We are engaged in a long-lasting war for the world’s remaining oil reserves. This will not be good for
But Americans do not like to think that, especially an
So our leaders (and we let them do it) are engaging us (on our behalf—the American way of life—our standard of living) in a war for the remaining oil reserves while at the same time we let them convince us that we are “spreading democracy” and fighting evil-doers.
American Empire is the short-term answer. It is not a good answer. What we need is global cooperation. That means every head of state recognizing the problem and working together to power down and to focus on the basic needs of all people as we face the coming energy crisis.
We can do this. The people when we wake up can demand it.
I will offer alternatives to Empire next time.