…through the lens of past

In recent years, with the continuing crisis in Iraq, we began to doubt the functionalities of the unipolar, unilateral world which we have grown so accustomed to since the Fall of Berlin Wall may. In the face of our alternate choices, it may probably even be our safest.

Throughout history, we have seen our choices: unilateral empires, a power struggle between two empires (the most recently the Cold War) and a barbaric age in between the fall of one empire and the rise of another. We are currently in the last scenario.

Religious fanaticism is on the ascendant; the Western World is preoccupied with a toiling war in the Middle East; China supplies the essential goods for the wider world and holds it hostage with its astounding trade power—it sounds like a description of the Crusades-era world, a thousand years past. However, such description also rings some bells in today’s world. Indeed, if one will name our present era in the historical terms, I would put forward the name ‘neo-Dark Ages’.

It is true that we have our cutting edge technology. The denizens of the Dark Ages did have their own in sanitation, agriculture and warfare. It is true that we have more social freedom—the Dark Ages too had seen their own share of the most liberal governances of the past millennium (only in pre-Renaissance era came the Inquisition which terminated all these). Most strikingly of all, both our worlds thrive in a vacuum left void by the fall of an empire.

The history of the world has been the history of the empires. The original Dark Ages were born in the tent where Romulus Augustulus formally surrendered to Odoacer, but conceived with the sack of Rome under Attila the Hun. Our present one’s beginnings are less prominent even in retrospect. The birth pangs came with the slow disintegration of the British Empire (and her social hierarchy) but the age was impregnated on two days when we let terrorists win.

The 1914 assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was carried out by the Black Hand, the Serbian state-sponsored terrorist organization. The attack was righteously vindicated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the risk of endangering his own sovereignty. However, another terrorist take-over in Russia passed unnoticed. Vladimir Illyich Lenin and his band of Bolsheviks were nothing more than regicides and anarchists, who when got the supreme power betrayed their own inner wolves and colored the entire Siberian tundra red with their vengeance and hatred. Britain, France and the U.S., the victors of the First World War, let these anarchists win fearing the labor unrests in their own backyards.

That marked the official beginning of appeasement and disarmament, which accompanies the Western Powers throughout the 20th century. It culminates with Chamberlain’s the ‘Peace of Our Time’ but regrettably didn’t end with Chamberlain. Disarmament was always in the air throughout the Cold War. Reagan appeased Iran in the Contra Scandal. With such politicians, it is no wonder that the greatest leaders who forged the world as we know it are Lincoln, FDR and Churchill, the men who didn’t fear to lead their countries into war to fight for the righteous cause.

It took four centuries from the fall of Rome to reunite Europe; under Charlemagne, the new Roman Empire was again founded. After Charlemagne, it was one empire after another (the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman, the Spanish, the Napoleonic, the British and the German) that replaced his realms and that brought Europe to forefront of the world.

The fall of the British Empire is coupled with the power-struggle between the Soviets and the Americans known as the Cold War. The Cold War rivalry produced greatest scientific and humanitarian achievements of the 20th century: the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Apollo Missions, World Wide Web, etc. However, after the end of the Cold War, human race had lost not only its ability to fight but also its ability to survive.

(To be continued)

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