President Theodore Roosevelt made the African Proverb, “Speak softly but carry a big stick” popular in the US. As part of Roosevelt’s Foriegn policy diplomacy, it was a method for handling international matters with tact while still aggressively maintaining and pursuing Western hegemony. It was called “Big Stick Diplomacy.” It was a tactic which served well until the information age, when everyone could see a lot clearer what the “big stick” was doing a lot better than the soft speech was saying. And so there was a pivot to remake America.
As we’ve seen in recent years, the information age makes it harder and harder to be two-faced and still retain decorum in political matters. Even as the last scenes of the final act played out in the Capitol Insurrection on Washington, many were already preparing for what some see as the hope of a fresh new start. Never asking themselves how the National guard got dispatched under the old regime to competently protect and usher in the new one.
While many were breathing a sigh of relief in the US and abroad, the mechanisms that dispatched national guards on Innaugeration day were still in action. On January 21, just one day after the USA innaugerated its 46th president, Congress introduced a bill to extend US hegemony once more.
According to the US Congress it was established that, “14 – A bill to identify and combat corruption in countries, to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption, and to evaluate foreign persons engaged in grand corruption for inclusion as specially designated nationals under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”
What does this mean? It means the US is seeking intervention and classification on corruption in sovereign foreign states with possible concrete repurcussions through various mechanisms that no doubt will cost millions in intelligence and military muscle. It will be financial and international feat of particular ambition during a world wide pandemic which has hit the US particularly hard. The bill, however has already been introduced and referred to the Foreign Relations Committee.
And so it begs the question, where is the US actually headed? And what does that truly mean for the international community ad and Americans, as the once largest economy struggles to find its way back to significance. With a purported 25 million cases and 417,000 deaths, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center; the collective economic and human loss has been huge.
Even with that staggering loss, the US is looking toward recapturing an age that may have long expired with the advent of the previous administrations vision of what a great America looks like. That vision has galvanized a highly politicized and determined American populace despite the changes in the White House. Congress is also pushing forward more foreign reaching legislation, as a Senate Resolution seeks to influence the International Olympic Committee to “rebid 2022 Winter Olympics Games to be hosted by a country that recognizes and respects human rights.”
This clear confrontation against the ever-burgeoning PRC, is evident in the US polity as it functionally pushes forward similar legislation as the former–speaking softly, but carrying the same big policy stick determined to target US-Sino relations. The legislation sites that on January 19, 2021 the US Department of State “determined” that the PRC had committed genocide against a local minority group.
As the new administration has been busy with executive orders concentrated mostly on domestic concerns, Congress has been working steadily on extending its international reach. On the day after Inauguration, Congress also set forth to regain control of dictating military protocols in the nuclear arms field. According to the Congressional Record, just one day after Inauguration Day, Congress issued H.R. 54 which, “Reaffirming the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States must lead the world in preventing further nuclear proliferation, while also reducing and eventually eliminating all nuclear weapons.”
The Washington polity is aggressively pursuing US foriegn policy hegemony at a lightening pace. Even while the US has a stockpile of nearly 6000 nuclear weapons with nearly 1400 deployed according to the Arms Control Association, it once again seeks the mantle of nonproliferation. A cause so fiercely pursued in the past, that it resulted in preemptive attacks against the sovereign country of Iraq against UN advice witha wiley band of alies that included Germany and the UK . . . that unfortunately yielded nothing and cost the American people 2 trillion USD as reported by the US Congressional Budget Office.
As the US continues to grapple with a policy and a tone that manages the new international arena toward its self interest; it’s clear that that symbolism might be the most compelling component to America’s new “era of unity.” Still many American voices for greater domestic fortifications faulter, and energies now pivot to a quickly-fading and ever-elusive international hegemony. The South did not rise again (squelched by its countrymen): but now remains the question, will the West?