A New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana: An Alternative to USAID Administrator Samantha Power’s “Revolution of Dignity” (Part V)
By Alemayehu G. Mariam
A “Revolution of Dignity” or a New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana?
USAID Administrator Samantha Power in her “major foreign policy address” of June 7, 2022 rabidly argued in favor of waging a “Revolution of Dignity” in the world, at least on the Dark Side of the world ruled by “authoritarians,” “autocrats,” “despots” and their ilk.
I wholly disagree with her.
I shall argue America today needs a New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana in its engagement with the rest of the world.
A New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana that will last for the next fifty yars.
The Good Book teaches, “There is a time for war and a time for peace…”
This is not the time for America to declare a revolutionary war of dignity, a Cold War, a proxy war, economic warfare, psychological warfare, guerilla warfare or any kind of war/fare on the world.
This is the time for peace.
The NEW PAX AMERICANA.
This is the time for America to enter a peace pact – a covenant – with the world.
The NEW PACT AMERICANA.
We are going through hard times. Tough times. Bad times. Crises times.
In America. Throughout the world.
Or mournfully paraphrasing Charles Dickens,
We are not living in the best of times but the worst of times. We live not in the age of wisdom but in the age of foolishness. We encounter not the epoch of belief but the epoch of incredulity. It is not our season of Light but our season of Darkness. We have lost out our spring of hope and now face the dark winter of despair. We had everything before us; alas, we face the prospect of having nothing.
Thomas Paine, the great agitator and pamphleteer of the American Revolution in the The American Crisis wrote:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
I say today we – HUMANITY – are living in times that try not only the souls of every man, woman and child but also their spirits, hearts, minds, consciences, courage and genius.
This is not the time for the “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” who cuts and runs in the face of crisis and shrinks from the service of their country.”
Indeed, from the service of humanity!
And so, I say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
The times call for taking bold, audacious and courageous measures in the cause of peace.
In the cause of the NEW PAX/PACT AMERICANA.
I say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Let’s get going!
The end of the Old Pax Americana and beginning of the New Pax Americana
The Old Pax Americana imposed order on a post-Hobbesian global “state of nature” that was WW II, the Great War, “the war to end all wars.”
It proved to be a “war of all against all.”
The US emerged as the Hobbesian Leviathan, the hegemon, which imposed global political, diplomatic and military discipline and order following WW II.
Nuanced arguments left for another time, the US aspired to provide the summum bonum (greatest good) to the world after WW II.
The U.S. Marshall Plan or the “European Recovery Program” provided vital aid to revive Western Europe from the ashes of Nazism.
That was extended to the rest of the emerging (from colonialism) world in the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act which led to the creation of the USAID marking America’s commitment to a “decade of development” and expanded humanitarian outreach.
Then there was the summum malum (greatest evil) fought in the Cold War.
The US forestalled the spread of communism in Western Europe and other parts of the world.
Nuanced arguments aside, the Cold War ended in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. The US became the sole superpower in charge.
In the post-WW period, the US and its Western allies imposed their hegemonic will on the world with the sticks (military intervention/conquest) and carrots (alms, handouts and loans.)
But things have been gradually changing over the past three decades and the post-War Old Pax Americana has manifestly lost its usefulness and vitality.
There are many who say America’s role in the world is declining and the post-War Pax Americana no longer holds the center.
They point to numerous factors as evidence of America’s diminishing ability to control or influence world events.
Be that as it may, a cursory look at some relatively inconsequential facts points to the sign (end) of the times for Pax Americana.
In March 2022, Saudi and Emirati leaders refused to take Biden’s telephone call during the Ukraine Crisis.
Third World leaders telling the American president to take a hike was inconceivable and unthinkable until recently.
In July 2022, Biden is going to Saudi Arabia to try to get an audience with King Salman since Salman is not taking his phone calls.
That is supremely ironic since Biden in 2019 promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah”.
The shame of groveling before a pariah!
The Saudis are now calling the shots.
If Biden wants increased oil production, he has to do their bidding in Yemen and cut out all of the crocodile tears human rights chatter.
African countries surviving on US alms and handouts also told the US to take a hike on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine.
In March 2022, 17 African countries abstained from the UN General Assembly vote, representing almost half of all countries that sat on the fence. Five recorded no vote, for a total of 22, nearly one-half of all African countries.
Many important African countries abandoned the US on an issue of supreme importance to America today, come hell, high water or the dreaded sanctions!
In August 2021, the world witnessed America’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, the deaths of thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of Afghans and trillions of dollars wasted.
The shocking video of Afghanis dropping from American evacuation cargo planes is seared in the minds of billions of people around the world.
Who will ever rely on American promises of help after seeing America cut and run, or literally cut and fly out like a bat outta hell with turbaned terrorists on the chase?
The vast majority of American soldiers who fought in Afghanistan felt angry, humiliated and betrayed by the ignominious withdrawal.
In March 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan suffered excruciating humiliation during a meeting with Chinese diplomats in Alaska.
Biden continues to babble about a rules-based order to save Pax Americana.
“Rules-based” is code for saving the Pax Americana which allowed the US to run the global economy under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement which established the dollar as the international reserve currency operating by rules promulgated under the General Agreement on Tariffs, later World Trade Organization.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund serve as global financing mechanisms.
The United Nations and NATO were established to create a diplomatic and military structure to enforce the dictates of Pax Americana.
The “rules-based order” and its mechanisms are under extreme challenge.
In June 2022, Vladmir Putin announced BRICS is working on new global reserve currency and an alternative mechanism for international payments.
If Putin succeeds and the US dollar loses its primacy as reserve currency, then America’s role in the global economy will be severely undermined.
China has been planning for decades to internationalize the renminbi/Yuan to replace the dollar.
The Saudis are negotiating to use the Chinese Yuan instead of the dollar for oil sales.
US national debt is over $30.5 trillion with nearly $92 thousand debt per citizen.
In 2021, the International Monetary Fund reported China’s share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) was 18.79 percent and will grow to 20.31 by 2027.
The United States’ share of global GDP adjusted for PPP for 2022 is 15.78 and will shrink to 14.6 in 2027.
China dominates the world in manufacturing.
During the dire days of Covid, America did not have the manufacturing capacity to provide its citizens face masks so Americans had to stand in line to get face masks from China.
US global military prowess is coming under increasing Chinese challenge.
Though the Chinese categorically deny it, it is manifest that they are working to replace the US and manage the global economy and security.
Predictions are rife that China’s economy will likely overtake the U.S. economy by 2030.
China has a fifty-year plan to establish its unrivalled global dominance.
America’s leaders when they are not in America (which is most of the time) spend their time on Planet Denial-istan.
American leaders have taken the posture of the proverbial three monkeys.
They see no evil, speak no evil and see no evil about the decline and eventual fall of Pax Americana.
Donald Trump sloganeered, “Let’s Make America Great,” hoping to breathe new life into Pax Americana with a white supremacist/nationalist message.
Joe Biden said, “America is back,” hoping to resuscitate the Pax Americana with a message of a US (Obama/Biden)-led (rules-based) New World International Order.
Barack Obama triumphantly declared:
The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever… We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power… Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
The fact of the matter is that after seven decades, the Old Pax Americana is on its last legs.
It is time for a New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana!
The New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana
America needs to make peace — enter into a covenant of peace with the world — not declare a revolutionary war of dignity which in practice will prove to be a war for might makes right.
At the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, the Old Pax Americana is fading away before our eyes.
America’s ability to influence world affairs is rapidly diminishing and American hegemony reinforced by a formidable military-industrial complex is facing challenges great and small.
America’s role as world policeman is over.
The US is too overextended and without the financial capacity to continue to be the omnipresent power it once was.
This is the time for America to change its role from global peace officer to global peacemaker or “peace revolutionary,” it that phrase may please Samantha Power.
America’s role as peacemaker must be founded and guided by principles of respect for national sovereignty and full acceptance of the intrinsic equality of all nations, poor and rich alike.
America was founded on the revolutionary idea “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In those words, Thomas Jefferson was not talking about the rights of the individual but the rights of “men” that collectively make nations.
In that sense, I believe all nations are created equal in sovereignty and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The New Pax Americana must also be genuinely committed to the principles of fraternity, diversity, civility, amity, comity, collective security and liberty for all.
Through the looking glass, brightly: From hard-power Old Pax (Peace) Americana to soft-power New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana
There is much to be learned about the future of US foreign policy by examining the blunders of the Biden administration in Ethiopia over the past year.
I have previously discussed in detail the five (disastrous) pillars of US policy in Ethiopia.
Biden’s policy in Ethiopia has been an unmitigated disaster.
By supporting the terrorist TPLF, the Biden administration and influential members of Congress have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Ethiopians on their hands.
I have made my case against them in dozens of my commentaries over the past couple of months more specifically and in general over the past year, available at almariam.com
Suffice it to say that hell has a special place reserved for those who played god with Ethiopian lives.
The Chinese government looks fifty years ahead in planning for China’s role in the world.
Every year, they tune and calibrate their fifty-year plan.
Unfortunately, I doubt the US has a five month plan much less a fifty year.
My audacious proposals for a soft-power New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana are based on my case study of Ethiopia-US relations over the past year.
In the tale of the king with no clothes, the little child pointed his finger and told the truth.
So, I must.
I. Practice, practice, practice dignity-based foreign policy
Samantha Power in her “revolution of dignity” speech of June 7, 2022, talked about spreading democracy with the aid of technology and fighting corruption in countries under “authoritarian, autocratic and despotic rule” with American anti-corruption law.
Power’s revolution of dignity implies the countries she has targeted have no “dignity” or their self-defined dignity is unworthy of consideration.
The very idea of waging a “revolution of dignity” shows Power’s bottomless ignorance of non-Western societies and puts on display her congenital affliction by white supremacy and “White Woman’s Burden.”
According to Power, Ethiopia is one of the countries in the world much in need of a “revolution of dignity.”
The fact of the matter is that Ethiopians need no doggone revolution of dignity because they eat, drink and breathe dignity.
Power and the Biden administration over the past year have shredded Ethiopia’s dignity and have shown their utter contempt for and total disrespect to the people and government of Ethiopia.
Over the past year, the Biden administration has dealt with Ethiopia as just another “s**t hole African country.”
Several reasons account for the Biden administration’s humiliating, demeaning and degrading treatment of Ethiopia.
First, American policymakers like Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and their ilk are clueless and willfully ignorant of Ethiopia, its history, people and government.
Their knowledge of Ethiopia is circumscribed by their dealings with the terrorist TPLF.
They relied totally on the fanciful representations of the TPLF and its military prowess to take over Ethiopia in a matter of weeks and heaped ocntempt on the people and governemnt of Ethiopia.
Second, these policy makers still believe the terrorist TPLF’s hogwash about their ethnic superiority and the supposed ethnic fragmentation of Ethiopians.
American policy makers believed the TPLF was guaranteed to have a cakewalk in dividing, conquering and ruling Ethiopia in a matter of weeks. US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman used to tell the media the TPLF will be in Addis Ababa within two weeks.
The fact of the matter is that the terrorist leaders of the TPLF are nothing more than a bunch of ignorant bush thugs in designer suits.
Third, American policy makers believe that because Ethiopia is poor, they can mistreat, abuse and humiliate her with impunity. They equate poverty with acceptance of indignity.
Fourth, they completely misunderstood the Ethiopian people. Ethiopians may have their own internal differences but in the face of an external enemy they come together and circle the wagons.
Fifth, American policy makers believe Ethiopian history is nothing but fairy tales and legends. They, like the terrorist TPLF, believe Ethiopia’s history goes back only 100 years.
When I wrote my commentary “Clash of Civilizations: Ethiopia and the US at the Crossroads” in December 2021, I argued the central and core issue in the relations between the two countries revolves around the Biden administration’s utter disregard of Ethiopia’s dignity, sovereignty, unity and national pride.
Ethiopians are deeply offended by the Biden administration’s flagrant meddling into their country’s internal affairs.
Just as patriotic Americans take pride in the belief that America is land of the free and home of the brave and sing, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee,” Ethiopians also take great pride in their own “exceptionalism” and thank the Almighty for shedding His special grace on them too.
It is a fact that Ethiopia is not only one of the oldest civilizations on earth but also the cradle of humanity.
So says the Smithsonian backed up with irrefutable archeological evidence.
Ethiopia may well deserve the title Cradle of Humankind. Some of the most famous, most iconic hominid fossils have been discovered within the country’s borders. Ethiopia can claim many ‘firsts’ in the hominid record book, including first stone tools and the first Homo sapiens.
The Aksumite kings of Ethiopia minted gold coins around 270 CE and were big players in trade taking place on the Indian Ocean.
Ethiopia was the first civilization anywhere to use the cross of Christ on its coins around 330 CE, long before the Romans.
During the First Hijra, the Prophet Muhammad directed his persecuted followers “to leave Makkah and seek sanctuary in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) ruled by a Christian king, well-known for being a just and God-fearing man.”
Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world where Christians and Muslims have lived side by side with mutual respect and appreciation for hundreds of years.
Few are aware that Ethiopia is the first country mentioned in the Old Testament. “And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Genesis 2:13, King James Version).
The “River Gihon” is none other than Abay River in Ethiopia. Foreigners call Abay “The Nile.”
It is on the River Ghion that Ethiopia today is building its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian Bible is the oldest and most complete bible on earth.
The Ethiopian Bible is nearly 800 years older than the King James Version and contains over 100 books compared to 66 of the Protestant Bible.
Ethiopia is mentioned at least 38 times in the Bible.
In the Book of Psalms 68:31 is written, “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” God always lifts those who stretch their hands to Him.
As far as I can ascertain, there are no European countries that are mentioned in the Bible except for Greece and Rome in the Epistles.
The 11 medieval monolithic Christian churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia built in the 13th-century as the “New Jerusalem” are a marvel of human ingenuity.
The Lalibela churches were hewn from solid blocks of rock with doors, windows, columns and roofs meticulously carved out and complemented with an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages.
UNESCO described the Lalibela churches as “a gigantic accomplishment in engineering and architecture.”
In December 2019, a team of archaeologists uncovered in Ethiopia the oldest known Christian church in sub-Saharan Africa, dating back to “about the same time when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity in 313 CE and then converted on his deathbed in 337 CE.”
Ethiopia had a highly sophisticated system of governance and administration long before America was discovered or conceived.
Indeed, when the English barons slapped King John with the Magna Carta, arguably the legal foundation for modern Western legal systems, in 1215 demanding that he subordinate himself to the “law of the land” (rule of law), Ethiopian kings were practicing the rule of law in the Fetha Nagast in 1240, 547 years before the U.S. Constitution was written (1787).
The Fetha Negast remained Ethiopia’s Constitution and supreme law of the land until it was replaced by the 1931 Constitution of Ethiopia.
Ethiopians believe they are unique and exceptional because they have never been colonized by white Europeans.
Indeed, the Europeans who tried to colonize them got their behinds kicked, badly!
Ethiopia defeated the mighty Italian Army on March 1, 1896 in a battle that lasted for one-half day but reported as lasting two days.
Emperor Menelik II’s victory at Adwa has been described as “one of the great military campaigns of modern history.”
Italy’s defeat sent tectonic shockwaves throughout Europe. “How can barefooted African savages vanquish a modern European army in just a few hours?”
Adwa became a symbol not only for liberation throughout colonial Africa but also for African American liberation. To summarize:
Ethiopia stood in for Africa as a whole, Adwa fused this symbolic Ethiopia with the contemporary Ethiopian state in the minds and hearts of the African diaspora. It produced and proliferated a particular idea of Ethiopia in Pan-Africanist thought, one that saw Ethiopia as the vestige of black freedom in a world where black people – whether in the Americas, Europe, or Africa – were subject to racial domination and exploitation. Indeed, at the first Pan-African Conference in 1900 – where W.E.B. Du Bois uttered his famous statement that ‘the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,’ delegates declared the Ethiopian emperor a “Great Protector” of African peoples everywhere.
Ethiopia defeated Italy again in 1941.
Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own complete indigenous written alphabet and numerals and the only actively used native African writing system, still in use after 2000 years with a syllabary of some 500 letters.
Ethiopia has its own calendar with 13 months.
Ethiopia has its own native unique food grain unavailable anywhere else in the world. Some audacious Western companies even tried to patent it through bio-piracy.
Ethiopia was the only African country to sit on equal terms with the great powers of the world and became an original signatory to the Covenant of the League of Nations in 1922. H.I.M. Haile Selassie was the only world leader to address the League of Nations in June 1936 when Italy invaded Ethiopia.
After the European countries turned a deaf ear to his pleas, he said, “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.” Three years later, the Nazi war machine began gobbling up Europe.
Between 1936-1941 during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Ethiopia did not have a national leader. But Ethiopia crushed the invading fascist Italian army.
Ethiopia was the only African country to sign the U.N. Charter in 1945.
Ethiopia was the only African country to become an original signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1948.
Ethiopia was the principal architect of the Organization of African Union in 1963 which established its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela wrote Ethiopia “has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting… attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.”
Coffee that courses in the bloodstreams of billions of humans every day in every nook and cranny of the planet originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines, established in 1945 when nearly all of Africa was under colonial rule, is the premier carrier unrivalled in Africa for efficiency and operational success, turning profits for almost all the years of its existence.
When airlines of the world were shut down by Covid, on February 6, 2021, “Ethiopian Airlines carried the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Africa.” Ethiopian Airlines became the first responder for Covid in Africa.
When the world was gripped in fear with Covid lurking everywhere, it was the courageous pilots and employees of Ethiopian Airlines who laid their lives on the line and became Africa’s and the world’s first responder.
In February 2020, Ethiopian Airlines delivered the first Covid-19 vaccine shipment to Africa.
In April 2020, Ethiopian Airlines transported 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Shanghai to São Paulo, Brazil and saved lives.
On December 2, 2021, Ethiopian Airlines won “Best African Airline Award.”
Against this background, the United States of America was created in 1788 and is only 233 years old.
Ethiopians are a people who take great pride in their country and their own dignity.
I understand perfectly none of the above means a damn thing to American policy makers because they believe Ethiopia is just another “s**t hole country.”
Another poor country sitting with palms outstretched in a continent of beggars.
I get it. I really do.
But Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and the rest should not equate being materially poor with having no dignity.
The fact is when you ain’t got nothing, you ain’t got nothing too lose.
Though Ethiopia may be poor compared to the US, Ethiopians have one thing they will not lose give up come hell, high water or drippling sanctions!
That one thing is their DIGNITY.
To Ethiopians, DIGNITY is more important than life itself.
They even have a saying, “It is better to die than to lose honor (dignity.)
Ethiopians will pay the ultimate price to protect, preserve and defend their dignity.
When I say the U.S. must practice a New Pax/Pact Americana in Ethiopia, I mean one simple thing: Ethiopian/African solutions for Ethiopian/African problems.
Ethiopia does not tell the US how to run its business and administer its social and political affairs.
Ethiopia does not dictate to the US how to deal with its racial problems, police brutality against African Americans, rampant racial, ethnic and gender discrimination.
Ethiopia does nto tell the US how to police its citizens.
From January 1, 2022 to July 9, 2022, there have been 337 mass shootings in the United States (every single day) with 387 dead and 1405 wounded.
In 2020, there were 21,570 homicides/murders in the U.S.!
That is 60 homicides/murders every single day of the year.
Does Ethiopia dictate to the US it should pass reasonable gun control laws and save innocent American lives?
The US currently has 27 military bases/outposts in both a permanent and temporary format across Africa.
Does Ethiopia demand the US abandon those bases/outposts?
Has Ethiopia ever demanded the US negotiate with Al Qaeda or the Taliban?
Has Ethiopia ever asked the US to postpone its elections or demanded racially discriminatory elections laws in the various states be repealed?
Never! Never! Never! Never!
The reason is Ethiopia respects the dignity of the people of the United States, their constitutional form of government and their democratically elected leaders.
The reason is Ethiopia respects the sovereignty, internal unity and territorial integrity of the US.
The reason is Ethiopia believes Americans and their government are the sole powers who can address these problems without the meddling or interference of anyone in their internal affairs.
The reason is Ethiopia relates to the United States on the basis of comity, amity, reciprocity and mutuality and never enmity. That is precisely the reason why Ethiopia has had a cherished relationship with the US for over 12o years!
Unfortunately, the Biden administration has chosen to deal with Ethiopia not on the basis of the principle of dignity and equality but on the basis of the Hobbesian law of the jungle: MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!
Operating on the principle of the might makes right, the US has
dictated the terms of national existence for Ethiopia.
demanded Ethiopia negotiate with the terrorist TPLF or face crippling sanctions.
orchestrated and coordinated global campaigns to isolate and ostracize Ethiopia.
openly supported the terrorist TPLF by creating moral equivalency as a cover for its brutal terrorism.
undertaken numerous measures and campaigns to criminalize, demonize and dehumanize the elected government of Ethiopia while turning a blind eye to the terrorist TPLF’s conscription of child soldiers, theft of humanitarian aid and conversion of humanitarian trucks into terrorist transports.
undertaken a hectoring campaign to force Americans to leave Ethiopia as part of the psychological operations to restore the TPLF to power.
disacknowledged and tried to delegitimize Ethiopia’s 2021 election certified as free and fair by the African Union.
If Power were able to see her revolution of dignity through the eyes of those who will be undergoing her revolution, she would cover her face in shame (assuming she has a conscience.)
In soft New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana, American policy makers must change the way they see the world.
They must see the world in a lens of DIGNITY. Poor and rich nations will be respected for who they are whether they fit America’s model of democracy, human rights or good governance.
In the New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana, American policy makers must be guided by a simple but profound maxim/principle: Ask not how America looks at the world but how the world looks at America.
Ask not how America looks at Ethiopia but how Ethiopia looks at America.
That is one of the key differences between the hard Old Pax Americana running the world in overdrive fueled by arrogance and hubris and the New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana based on sovereign equality, fraternity, liberty and service to humanity.
Simply stated, the rock-solid foundation of the New Pax (Peace)/Pact American must be the supremacy of humanity, not white supremacy which has roots in the enslavement of Africans in the New World…
To be continued…