Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Race Morality & Empire: The limits of power...

A very interesting (and somewhat provactive) essay has been posted at RORATE CAELI on the West's struggle with it's past and the implications on the present clash of civilizations. Though written from a Catholic perspective I encourage the reader to check it out. Please post comments at Rorate Caeli.

Let the Dead Bury the Dead
“There is something rather odd in the way America has come to fight its wars since World War II”. So begins a recent opinion piece by Shelby Steele, entitled “White Guilt and the Western Past”, and subtitled “Why is America so delicate with the enemy?”
A good, if rather loaded, question, and Steele, a historian and Hoover Institute fellow, is not a bad choice to attempt an answer. Let’s follow his argument for a bit.
He starts by making an obvious point that virtually everyone overlooks: America could end the Iraq insurgency virtually in a heartbeat, if it had the resolve to do so. It doesn’t. “Despite our vast power,” he says, “we are only slogging along . . . in Iraq against a hit-and-run insurgency that cannot stop us even as we seem unable to stop it. Yet no one --including, very likely, the insurgents themselves--believes that America lacks the raw power to defeat this insurgency if it wants to. So clearly it is America that determines the scale of this war.” And that scale, he adds, is, by design, one of “minimalism and restraint”.
Gird your loins, my fellow pale-skinned Anglo-Saxon overlords, here it comes: what has hobbled the western world, particularly the U.S, in its conduct as a superpower, is “the world-wide collapse of white supremacy as a source of moral authority, political legitimacy and even sovereignty”. Ah yes, the presumption of the supremacy of white skin, as sort of a shorthand for western culture. The presumption which built empires, transferred wealth on a massive scale, and consigned many men, women, and children of unfortunate hue to slavery, exploitation, and grim death, had, Steele writes, played itself out by the end of World War II. One third world revolution after another, he says, led to its utter defeat as an organizing principle:...
Read the rest here.