Of Paradise and Power

 by Robert Kagan.

Summary of the Book

 Prior to WWI and WWII, European countries were competing against each other militarily.

What they saw happened in WWII caused them to determine to something so that it will never happen again. So, they stopped building military power, and instead relied on other methods of resolving disputes.

 In WWII US made them win, and they realized the might and loved the presence of US in Europe . After WWII in cold war decades, US protected them against Russia , and they did not spend much in military, but grew economically. That is the paradise of US or the West.

 While the Europeans now want to resole world conflicts non militarily, US, being militarily strong and giant does not want to surrender its freedom of decisions upon any global organization.  Thus Europe depends upon the US , but still does not want to support US in its unilateral stance.

 Below is quote within << >> from the last part of this small booklet of about 100 pages.

 << The problem is that United States must sometimes play by the rules of Hobbestian world, even though in doing so it violates Europe's post modern norms. It must refuse to abide by certain international conventions that may constrain its ability to fight effectively in Robert Cooper's jungle. It must support arms control, but not always for itself. It must live by a double standard. And it must sometimes act unilaterally, not out of a passion for unilateralism but only because, the United States has no choice but to act unilaterally.

             Few Europeans admit, as Cooper does implicitly, that such America behavior may redound to the greater benefit of the civilized world, that American power, even employed under a double standard, may be the best means of advancing human progress - and perhaps the only means. As Niebuhr wrote a half century ago, America 's "inordinate power,' for all its "perils," provides "some real advantages for the world community." Instead, many European today have come to consider the United States itself to be the outlaw, a rouge colossus.  The danger- if it is a danger- is that the United States and Europe could become positively estranged. Europeans could become more and more shrill in their attacks on the United States . The United States could become less inclined to listen, or perhaps even care. The day could come, if it has not already, when Americans might not more heed the pronouncements of the EU than they do the pronouncements of ASEAN of the Andean Pat.

             To those of us who came of age in the Cold War, the strategic decoupling of Europe and the United States seems frightening. e Gaulle, when confronted by FDR's vision of a world where Europe was irreverent, recoiled and suggested that the vision "risked endangering the Western world." If Western Europe was to be considered a "secondary matter" by the United States , would not FDR only "weaken the very cause he meant to serve- that of civilization?" Western Europe , de Gaulle maintained, was "essential to the West. Nothing can replace the value, the power, the shinning example of the ancient people." Typically, he insisted this was "true of France above all." But leaving aside French amour propre, did de Gaulle have a point? if Americans were to decide that Europe was no more than an irritating irrelevancy, would American society gradually become unmoored from what we now call "the West"? it is not a risk to be taken lightly, on either side of the Atlantic . >>

 A couple of points are worth noting:

 1) Europe and US are united under the banner of the "West" or Christendom. While Europe talks of no war any more and wants to use non-war solutions, it relies on sheer brute unilateral power of US to protect it, even if Europe goes against US. This I see as two faces of Christendom. Similarly Islam also has two faces: The Islamists and the human right Muslims within world human right org.s

 2) The paradise of the "West" that never want a war again, needs a giant military power - US - to keep the paradise alive and well. This basically is the non ahimsa stance of a powerful.

 3) It is said that Gandhi's ahimsa got freedom for India . Now, what percentage of people actually marched against the armed Brits nonviolently? Very few percentage of the population. Why this made the Brits to quit India ? Because:

             a) They wanted to show the world that they are nice people, not quitting would not be nice of them.

             b) Suppose they continue beating and killing the unarmed small army of Gandhi, there is a fear that the vast majority of the population may get really angry and violent even if Gandhi had said them not to be violent. If that happens, they cannot get back alive. All know that there is always some limit as to how much injustice/violence one can tolerate when one is not at any fault or has done no wrong. This fear could also have forced them to quit.

             c) Of course it is known that the Brits were tired of WWII.

 This also comes to the same point that absolute ahimsa cannot work for a society/ nation.

Therefore, kshatriya spirit is needed in each varna , and each varna can fight in many non violent ways. In the time of peace a nation needs to prepare and be ready to fight any time.



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