Take up the White Man’s burden And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the White Man’s burden, Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man’s burden, Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!
– Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden
If I am indeed critical of Pax Americana, it is not because I disapprove of imperialism but simply because the Americans are terrible imperialists. To be an imperial master is a stern duty not for the faint of heart. To use the language of Pope Nicholas V from his bull Romanus Pontifex, restraining the savage excesses of natives requires an inflexible iron will. They must be relentless in seeing the task of civilising the barbarians through to the very end.
Americans, unlike the British, simply do not possess the will to shoulder the White Man’s Burden manfully. At the core of their being they are conflicted people, they are unable to reconcile in their hearts the tension between their belief in a free and democractic society and the necessarily coercive force and disciplined order, yes to the very point of paternalism! necessary to secure such a free society.
So they invade and intervene in countries half-heartedly, bombing dictators and other rulers who do not meet their nebulous and abstract standards into oblivion, but after that they lack the nerve to march in and whip them into shape fit for the modern political order. Cowardly throwing off their awesome imperial responsibilities to the natives, they simply toss some weak ineffectual local leader into the chaos and power vacuum they have left behind in the hope that a semblance of civic order would miraculously emerge.
Imperialism is serious business, if done properly you can create a Singapore or a Hong Kong or a monarchist Egypt (which most Egyptians now look back nostalgically as a lost paradise). But with a half-baked job, you end up with an ISIS and a perpetual Jihad.