A considerable spectrum of the liberal West takes the American interpretation of what civilization consists of to be something like an immutable law of nature. But what if this interpretation is on the verge of an irreparable breakdown?
Michael Vlahos has argued that the US is not a mere nation-state but a “system leader” – “a civilizational power like Rome, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire.” And, we should add, China – which he did not mention. The system leader is “a universalistic identity framework tied to a state. This vantage is helpful because the United States clearly owns this identity framework today.”
Intel stalwart Alastair Crooke, in a searing essay, digs deeper into how this “civilizational vision” was “forcefully unfurled across the globe” as the inevitable, American manifest destiny: not only politically – including all the accouterments of Western individualism and neo-liberalism, but coupled with “the metaphysics of Judeo-Christianity, too”.
Crooke also notes how deeply ingrained the notion that victory in the Cold War “spectacularly affirmed” the superiority of the US civilizational vision among the US elite.
Well, the post-modern tragedy – from the point of view of US elites – is that soon this may not be the case anymore. The vicious civil war engulfing Washington for the past three years – with the whole world as stunned spectators – has just accelerated the malaise.
Remember Pax Mongolica
It’s sobering to consider that Pax Americana may be destined to a shorter historical existence than Pax Mongolica – established after Genghis Khan, the head of a nomad nation, went about conquering the world.
Genghis first invested in a trade offensive to take over the Silk Roads, crushing the Kara-Kitais in Eastern Turkestan, conquering Islamic Khorezm, and annexing Bukhara, Samarkand, Bactria, Khorasan and Afghanistan. The Mongols reached the outskirts of Vienna in 1241 and the Adriatic Sea one year after.
The superpower of the time extended from the Pacific to the Adriatic. We can barely imagine the shock for Western Christendom. Pope Gregory X was itching to know who these conquerors of the world were, and could be Christianized?