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American Hypertrophy and Strategic Options: Toward a Geostrategy for Global Peace

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Abstract

In his essay, “The Vicissitudes of Things,” written in 1597 toward the end of the Anglo-Spanish wars (1585 to 1604), which were part of the much wider Eighty Years War involving the Dutch secession from Spanish empire (1567/68 to 1648), Sir Francis Bacon observed at least three factors that could cause major power and regional wars:

Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state and empire, you may be sure to have wars. For great empires, while they stand, do enervate and destroy the forces of the natives which they have subdued, resting upon their own protecting forces; and then when they fail also, all goes to ruin, and they become a prey…. The great accessions and unions of kingdoms do likewise stir up wars; for when a state grows to an over-power, it is like a great flood, that will be sure to overflow…. When a warlike state grows soft and effeminate, they may be sure of a war. For commonly such states are grown rich in the time of their degenerating; and so the prey inviteth, and their decay in valor, encourageth a war.

In contemporary circumstances, the first potential cause of war (the breaking and shivering of a great empire) could refer to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which having previously subdued the populations around it, is now subject to terrorist attack and the formation of counteralliances. The second potential cause of war is overexpansion, in which the state is seen as overflowing its appropriate bounds and upsetting the global equilibrium, like a giant flood.

Keywords

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Major Power
  • Khmer Rouge
  • Strategic Option

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Notes

  1. M. K. Bhadrakumar, “Turkey not done with the Kurds,” Asia Times Online (June 12, 2007) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IF12Ak05.html.

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  10. One variety of neoconservatives, who had been dubbed “superhawks” during the cold war, called themselves “vulcans.” Superhawks, which appear to have metamorphosed into vultures with their eyes awash in visions of black gold in the case of Iraq, have also been dubbed by their critics as “chicken hawks” in that a number managed to escape military service during the Vietnam War or have had no military expertise whatsoever despite their advocacy of the use of unilateral force. On vulcans and chickenhawks, see James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans (Viking, 2004).

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© 2007 Hall Gardner

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Gardner, H. (2007). American Hypertrophy and Strategic Options: Toward a Geostrategy for Global Peace. In: Averting Global War. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230608733_11

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