When The American Empire Doesn’t Strike Back

The Federalist | 7/12/2019 | Michael Rosen
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In the tiny kingdom of Francophone Americanophiles, Bernard-Henri Levy reigns supreme.

More or less unique among his countrymen, the French philosopher, journalist, and activist favors the United States and Europe vigorously vindicating human rights and advocating for freedom, including through the use of force, around the globe. In The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World, a characteristically trenchant and poignant polemic that is part cri-de-coeur, part battle cry, Levy urges Western leaders and their populations to restore their once unquestioned commitment to global leadership, especially as darker forces gather strength.

Empire - United - States - Kings - Signify

The empire represents the United States, while the five kings signify Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China — aggressive, autocratic powers jockeying for regional and even global hegemony.

The United States, Levy argues, “lacks something of that splendor, that self-confidence, that hubris that characterized, for example, the absolute power of seventeenth-century France or Renaissance Italy. It lacks, and will long lack, the imprimatur, the scar, of total authority.”

Spirit - Responsibility - Entries - World - War

Still, he gratefully acknowledges the American spirit of responsibility that motivated our entries into World War I and II alike, “a belief in the exceptional role of an American nation called upon to pick up the torch that had fallen from the fragile hands of the prophets and apostles of the City of God; and the mission was to carry that torch into dark lands.”

Levy traces the recent Western retrenchment from global engagement to several causes. First, he has no love lost for President Trump, whom he says has recklessly antagonized our European allies for no good reason, but he aptly notes that Trump’s predecessor — responsible for a “pivot to Asia,” a Russian reset, and absent from the 25th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall — set an almost equally poor example.

He also contends...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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