The United States of America: Captain of the Ship named “M/V World”

May 18th 2016

Since 2008 through the present, the United States of America has witnessed the emergence of certain conflicting political and policy positions, which have cast a caliginous penumbra over America’s greatest suit, stability of purpose. America as a stable nation exhibits “four characteristics; namely, ideological stability, political stability, stability in power and policy stability [i].”We substitute “pillars” for characteristics because after more than 240 years, founded in 1776, of existence, the characteristics have been so entrenched and are better designated as pillars. While there is divergence of opinion on the importance of each of these four pillars, we would argue that ideological stability is the foundation for the orderly development and implementation of the other three pillars.

Americans are loathe to shift their basic political beliefs. Those beliefs are grounded in a common ideology, which has always included the elements of personal pursuit of liberty, equality, a generally limited government, “popular sovereignty” i.e. the highest power in government is held by the people, the rule of law, free enterprise, respect for market economy, and private property ownership. The constant thread in ideological stability is America’s persistent endeavor to create a more inclusive and perfect society. As such, any attempt to alter the central aspirational pillar of ideology undermines the other pillars of stability and by extension the very fabric of the nation.

The ideology espoused by the founders is neither absolute liberalism nor absolute conservatism, but rather a concatenation or blending of both political philosophies in a marriage born out of compromise of the two endpoints of the ideological spectrum. The message here is clear. Although both political philosophies in isolation may indicate a penchant, a political philosophy must and should never be advanced in a manner to hold hostage the stability of the nation. This has been the lesson of the past eight years. Thus, a word of caution to those who naively embrace the so called “outsider” chant the guerre without serious consideration or understanding of its impact on the four pillars of stability that have defined the nation for centuries. Suffice to point out that a majority of these same voters continuously voted for the people they have now duped “establishment”. Ironically the “outsiders” may have to summon the resources; knowledge, expertise and experience of the “establishment” to be able to fathom and navigate the challenges of effective policies of governance. Like on a ship, structure is quintessential, for without structure, chaos lurks and we flirt with instability of the four pillars.

As if anyone needs to be reminded, the United States of America is the captain of the ship we call “M/V World”. Just as on a ship, which we have named the “M/V”, when a citizen in Cypress observes a compass pointed at 000° N, she would be facing towards the Arctic ocean and to her East would be Europe, and Asia. Similarly, to her South East, would be Middle East Africa, New Zealand and Australia and to her West would be the Greenland, Canada, USA, Central and South America. Just as a ship experiences at sea, the world is surrounded by water; the five oceans; namely, Arctic, Antarctica, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. However, unlike on a ship, the World’s movement is virtually imperceptible and that motion has nothing to do with the forces of floatation.

Unlike the world, a ship is characterized by nine Main parts; namely, smokestack or funnel, stern, propeller, rudder, anchor bulbous bow, bow, deck, and superstructure. The front part is the bow, the right side is known as starboard, the rear is called the stern and the left side of a ship is, Portside. Unlike the world, which for all practical purposes is stationary, a ship is buoyant and floats even when moored at a dock. Docking of the vessel may require the use of dock and fender lines. The purpose of course is to secure the vessel and provide a platform and pontoon Ladders or gangway access to port in order to discharge and/or receive cargo, alimentation, supplies, power, crew and passengers in the case of passenger or cruise ships.

On a ship, the captain has the primary responsibility of the safety of the crew, passengers, and all persons aboard, whether legal or illegal (stowaway) and the vessel itself. The authority of the captain arises by virtue of and is often defined by the laws of the flag state and international norms. To accomplish this primary responsibility, the captain organizes the vessel in such a manner as to achieve maximum division of labor, efficiency and control and operation of the systems of the vessel. The captain is assisted by a crew which is charged with the responsibility to man such stations and perform such tasks as are necessary to assist the captain to ensure efficient operation and safety of the ship.

Similarly, as captain of the ship named, “M/V World,” the United States of America is by default the guardian of the security of the world. The stability of the United States as previously described has positioned the United States to accept and play a pivotal leadership role at the United Nations, in particular and in the world, in general. Some have argued that America cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. Of course, America is not the policeman of the world, but guardian of world peace and stability. America brings to any international negotiating table, instant credibility, which can only be the product of the four pillars of stability identified herein.

Those who argue that America cannot be policeman of the world either fail to or misconstrue America’s role in the development, management and maintenance of stability in international relations. The emergence of the preeminence of American political, economic and jurisprudence have established America as a stable, trustworthy and inspiring nation. In conjunction with its massive resources and technological advances, America is the country most positioned to collaborate and build consensus with other nations in the resolution of international conflicts and protection of world security.

However, America’s role as the guardian of world peace and security is grounded on the principles of the rule of law and the advancement of human aspirations. These principles are at the core of the American constitutional system of government from which the nation draws its authority. In fact, when the Executive (President), Legislative (Congress) and Judicial (Supreme Court) branches of the American government act in unison, American power is at its zenith. Equally important to the authority of the United States to act as the guardian of world security is the charter of the United Nations [UN] and in particular, Article (2) (4). Under the UN Charter, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States of America is directed, or often called upon, to assist in the enforcement of UN mandated actions. In this regard, the United States of America needs and often seeks the collaboration of the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the other 195 countries in the world [ii]. The ability of the United States of America to consistently secure the collaboration of other nations is in part a function of America’s goodwill, and most importantly, the trust engendered by its ideological stability.

Proponents of isolationism must know that were the United States to adopt such a policy, it would be doomed to failure given the 24/7 news cycle, the internet and rapid means of transportation and communication between nations. Moreover, the United States cannot be a leader of and an example for world nations and concomitantly be isolationist. These two principles are diametrically antithetical and isolationism invites the very phenomenon we detest the most, insecurity. Isolate America and the tallest wall in the world would be ineffective because such a policy would significantly impact and limit communications and collaboration with other nations, irrespective of whether they are friends or foes.

When a ship security apparatus locates and apprehends stowaways, the captain of the ship does not cask the perpetuators overboard, but rather provides nourishment and protection until they are turned over to the proper authorities. The ship’s manifest may have the names and other information about the crew and the passengers, but certainly would not contain information about the stowaways. Yes, like the captain of a ship, the United States must not only protect itself, but must also protects all people within its borders and under its jurisdiction [iii]. Without access to the resources of other nations, America would be operating in the dark when it comes to international affairs. Isolationism as a political or policy tool ignores the symbiotic reality between world security and American national security.

[i]James Anderson, Public Policy Making, (2000), Pp. 37-43.

[ii]The US State Department recognizes 195 independent countries around the world, but that list of countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America. For example, it includes Kosovo, but does not officially include Taiwan, as China claims that Taiwan (the ROC) is simply a province of China.,May 3, 2016.

[iii] Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008) The United States of America must protect all people within its borders and under its jurisdiction even including its enemies, affirmed the U.S. Supreme Court.