The Waning of Pax Americana

On Thursday, January 10th, we attended a program at the Lakewood Library titled The Waning of Pax Americana regarding the past, present and possibly future status of the role of the United States in world affairs. As Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Pax Americana, it means “American peace: used for the period of relative tranquility from circa 1945 to present day in regions where U.S. power has extended.” The flyer advertising this program read that “since 1945, Pax Americana has promised peaceful international relations and an open economy but in championing “America First”, isolationism and protectionism, President Trump has shifted the political mood towards selective U.S. engagement. What implications do these policies have? ”

During the course of the ensuing discussion, there seemed to be a consensus that it would be very dangerous for the United States to adopt a pre-World War II isolationist mode because nefarious Russian and/or Chinese influences might attempt to fill the void. But, at the same time, it must be acknowledged that old practices such as the trade agreements may not have worked for the benefit of all as they were supposed to and may have to be re-envisioned so that the average person will be less concerned about his/her job being outsourced.

The discussion was lead by Dr. Javier Morales-Ortiz who, among other roles, U.S. an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Baldwin-Wallace University. According to the university’s website, “he is an adventurer with a talent for criticizing world politics with uncompromising ferocity, has a compassionate heart, and a soft sense of humor.”

When we asked Dr. Morales-Ortiz about immigration issues in the United States, he reminded us that that issues concerning the foreign-born are generating a lot of political heat throughout the world at this time. For example, a fence was recently built in Hungary to prevent refugees from the Middle East from passing through there in order to reach Germany.

We liked listening to Dr. Morales-Ortiz because he seemed to be quite practical as he warned us against the simplification of the complicated challenges we now face. Instead, he urged that responsible leaders who will behave in a bipartisan manner conduct a productive discourse. What’s more, Dr. Morales-Ortiz readily acknowledged that we are living in a time that is certainly troubling but nevertheless quite interesting.