By Alex Gonzalez
In 2006, Lawrence M. Mead wrote an essay called Why Anglos Lead that was praised and heavily circulated in conservative circles in. In the essay, Mead argued that American primacy is not an accident of this or that administration. Rather, it reflects the special capacity of English-speaking countries to lead the world order. Samuel Huntington in his book Who Are We had similar argument on why Anglo Culture are innately confident in war, a Fighting Spirit.
Lawrence M. Mead arguers that even though a minority of Americans today have British roots, we all inherit a political culture initially formed by the British–English-Speaking people or “Anglos“. What I add is chiefly the argument that all these resources ultimately stem from the Anglo’s political achievements: Good government at home is the ultimate reason for Anglo leadership abroad. The Anglo nations—singly or in concert— have taken a special responsibility for the world order. Somehow, they are available to deal with chaos and aggression abroad, as other countries usually are not. One or another of the Anglos has led all the major military operations of the last fifteen years. As a result,
According to Mead, our capacity to project military force abroad comes from a good government at home, a Legislative and Executive branch that coalesce behind the military. Mead argued that:
The British passed the rule of law, and capitalism, on to the colonies…. In American, political and economic competition can be seen as free-for-all, but it is undegirded by a formidable legal order.
But wealth and order alone cannot fully explain Anglo primacy in the world. Other wealthy nation like Germany, and or the European Union, cannot project any military force abroad.…It is true that NATO and the UN peace keeping operation, non-Anglo nations often participate. But they usually contribute only token forces, or their forces are untested for battle and thus of limited value.
Moreover, The Anglo’s capacity to project force is in part “habit.” They have been sending armies abroad for centuries.
The British sent armies when they expanded their trade; they build their empire that way. The U.S. has built the biggest and strongest military in history that can send military operations to any corner of the world within 24 hours to protect its interests.
But a deeper reason for this American primacy is good government. Just as capable regime made Anglo cultures wealthy at home, so it helps then project power abroad. Anglo governments combine strong executive leadership with a legislative consent. Both feature make for effective war-fighting oversea.
In Britain, Parliament pre-empted the power of the monarchs rather that the other way around, but without compromising the authority of the regime. Still, today, the essence of British government is a strong executive that requires parliamentary consent. The American Constitution creates added checks and balance within the regime, but in foreign policy, the arrangement is still British. The president has undoubted power to initiate war. But Congress must provide support and funding. Actions approved by both braches are likely to succeed abroad.
When President W. Bush sought support from Congress before going to Iraq, he initiated a ritual that English kings initiated in the 13th Century. The need for popular consent can delay Anglo acceptance of conflict. But what looks like weakness is ultimately strength. Once Anglo support is won, Anglo governments fight resolutely. Popular and legislative consent give Anglo nations “confidence in war.”
If you read Mead full essay, which i suggest you do, one can see that, as an Anglo culture, our strength comes from ability to project power abroad after both branches of government–Congress and the President–work together in support of military actions. culture As a result, the current political paralysis in Congress between Democrats and Republicans may weaken this Anglo character and diminishing the “confidence in war” in the military, and its ability to project force. Our foes, China, Russia, Iran can see this congressional trivial partisan feuds and gridlock as a fractured Anglo government with no consent, and thereby, no ability to fight wars effectively, or project force, resolutely.
Moreover, a fractured government at home will enable the U.N. and NATO to have more influences in our military since they will perceive political gridlock in Congress as a weakening in our “Anglo Model”– NATO can only act after the five U.N. Security Council members approve any military actions. However, as Robert Kagan famous essay Of Paradise of Power, or more commonly known Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus, where he argues that:
rather than the threat of force and unilateralism, Europe believes conflicts are best resolved through peaceful diplomacy and multilateral engagement…”America’s power and its willingness to exercise that power — unilaterally if necessary — constitute a threat to Europe’s new sense of mission.’
Thus, Europeans always want American to operate under international organizations like the UN and the International Courts to try to weaken on de-legitimize the willingness of America to act unilaterally. A as result, more Congressional gridlock to oppose humanitarian attacks on Syria will most likely will result in Russia, China and Europe perceiving the U.S. as a weakened super power. And I am sure Willian Kristol agrees with me since this message of weakness will also play role on the Israel issue.
Similar, progressive liberals in Congress already calling the idea of a Syria air attacks “more imperialism” or simply another “war for oil..” And the other side, you see Republicans in the House opposing any attacks on Syria as another opportunity to diminish Obama’s second-term legacy, and not give democrats any congressional victory.
Moreover, Tea Party isolationist like Rand Paul, and Southern Republicans who used to be hawkish Republicans, now are behaving like “dovish” Republican progressives, making emotional arguments, to make Obama’s argument look weak, even though senior Republican senators are urging Obama to act. But this is the same group of Republicans in the House that has voted multiple times to stop Obamacare and spent months taking Benghazi while avoiding taking one single serious vote on immigration claiming the bill is subjected to the Hastert rule.
Progressive liberals in the House traditionally have opposed any military strategies claiming that that money out the spent at home in social services, thus their opposition is nothing new. But Republicans ought to be cautious not to come across as too isolationists–especially tea partiers who have not showed any understanding of foreign policy–in attempting to weaken Obama since it may only embolden our foes and affect the morale of the military because as Lawrence M. Mead argues, only when the Executive and the Legislative branches agree, the “Anglos fight resolutely.” too, pandering to the international community will only diminish our ability to act unilaterally in the future, as Robert Kagan argues.
Sadly, nothing of what is happening right now I Congress reflects what Lawrence M. Mead called the Why Anglos Lead but rather erosion in our political discourse over trivial partisan feuds. Therefore, the erosion of our institutions caused by political gridlock will ultimately have a detrimental effect on our “Anglo” charter and effective credibility to project force in the world.
Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst, Founder of Latino Public Policy Foundation (LPPF), and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or @
Read the full essay by M. Mead Below.