This acronym, used by the Austrian branch of the Habsburg monarchy at the time it was said that “the sun never set on their empire”, summarised the Latin sentence: “Austria Est Imperare Orbi Universo – it is the mission of Austria to dominate the world”.
Replace Austria with America and you will have a perfect summary of a document signed by Donald Trump titled “National Security Strategy of the United States of America – December 2017”.
In 55 pages, the highest American authorities strongly confirm their desire to impose globally their leadership and thereby their refusal to join a multipolar world that effectively reduces their sphere of influence.
The messianic vision of the preponderant role of the United States of America in the world remains more than ever the creed of American foreign policy: “America will lead abroad” affirms the document. Since we cannot repeat better, the arrogant formula is well known: “what is good for America is good for the world”.
The emergence of other powers is seen as a challenge, a “threat to the United States, its allies and partners” and there can only be one dominant influence in the world – that is the US.
To restore US supremacy, the document establishes American policy in four pillars: security, economic and energy dominance, increased military strength, and exaltation of American values.
The US presents itself as an advanced model of democracy and a fundamental human rights advocate admired around the world. They see themselves as the leaders of a community of democratic states dedicated to the good of their people through a free market economy, a strong private sector and the rule of law. They offer the rest of the world an alternative to China and isolate countries like Russia.
Nonetheless, the double standards of the US are indeed very troubling.
In the name of “American values”, the US government overthrew democratically elected governments that were protecting their people against the actions of private US companies. In the name of defending democracy, the US government supported the cruelest dictatorships in Latin America and supported Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal and Colonel’s Greece. In the name of defending the rule of law, democracy and human rights, the US government violated international law by invading and destroying countries that did not threaten it in any way: more than fifty countries have been victims of the United States since 1945; according to the work of American academics. Since 1950, the total number of deaths resulting from American interventions or occupations in the world amounted to 1.3 billion. In many cases, the justification of US interventions in the name of values has in fact protected US private interests. That’s what Mr Trump’s National Security Strategy document calls “protecting our interests”.
Among the victims of this American desire to dominate the world, I will cite only one example: a small country adhering to its neutrality, anxious to protect the integrity of its territory, and never having attacked any other country in modern history.
It became the most bombed country in the history of humanity because it made choices that did not please Washington. The American actions created conditions for the victory of the genocidal Pol Pot regime. More than two million Cambodians were exterminated as darkness descended over the country in a bid by Pol Pot to reverse time to Year Zero.
Between 1970 and 1979, the population of Cambodia decreased from 8 to 4.5 million, of whom 600,000 had fled their country as it was transformed into a burning hell by the murderous Khmer Rouge.
Now here comes the irony: just because Vietnam had liberated Cambodia from Pol Pot and his fellow murderers, the US decides to impose a total embargo on the country.
For 12 years Cambodia suffered without any international help for reconstruction and development. And all that in the name of American values?
Raoul M Jennar, PhD, is a Political scientist