We’re of the opinion that 1917 – 2021 will mark the “American Century” and that its end is bookended by the disastrous end of our nation-building experiment in Afghanistan. Watching the heartwrenching scenes from America’s botched exit from Afghanistan has prompted us to think a lot about what a global superpower owes the world.
After all, our parallel universe is a thought experiment in what life could be like if it were ruled by a global superpower that was ruled by a succession of empresses.
The history of that Empire isn’t a straight line toward true greatness. It’s a history that is often written with blood, strategic impatience, and occasional madness. The history of the Empire of Australia has true horror in it: torture, large-scale destruction of entire civilizations, and enough aggressive espionage to keep the likes of James Bond busy well past retirement.
She is a direct counter to her mother and grandmother, two of the more brutal and aggressive dictators that the Empire has seen. While neither was as bloody as some (The Red Lion) or as insane (Eleanor XVII), neither was a model leader for their nation or the world.
The question of what a global superpower owes the world is something that Eleanor XXXIII has thought about a lot. Her answer to that question animates her entire approach to the rest of the world at a time when the power (control) of the Empire is being challenged in a major way for the first time in hundreds of years.
We make reference to a speech that E33, is said to have given upon her ascension to the throne, referred to as The New Deal (a deliberate echo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt). While the speech itself hasn’t been written (as of this writing, anyway) we can outline some of the themes that she would have touched upon:
- Economic development throughout the world is a priority. Nobody should live in abject poverty and it is the duty of the richest, most-powerful nation in the world to actively participate in the betterment of people throughout the world. This is a moral imperative.
- There are global problems that require global leadership to address. This means that a superpower must build a coalition to address them and when necessary lead financially as well. Climate Change, for example. The Plastics Crisis, as another. Basically, the human destruction of the entire global ecosystem and environment. This is both a moral imperative and an existential threat.
- The use of power for the defense of the put upon is a sticky wicket. On the one hand power can be used in a way that becomes bullying. Power can also be used to impose standards that are not universal but rather culturally specific. What is needed is the agreement upon a universal standard by a body of representatives from a large, inclusive group of nations. If this sounds like the United Nations implementing a universal delcaration of human rights, that’s exactly what is in mind. From that declaration should flow a process of enforcement by those with power to defend those without. Even the strongest must be constrained by the collective when necessary. This necessitates a radical shift in the political power structure of the world of the Empire Universe—one that the world and certain factions with the Empire itself may not be ready for.
As the United States seeks to extricate as quickly and messily as possible from its twenty-year war, the Empire of Australia offers a further counterpoint. The Empire has never willingly parted with territory. Only one insurgency has ever succeeded against it: Cascadia’s War of Independence. Otherwise, the Empire takes what it wants and doesn’t give in. However, two of the Empire’s territorial holdings have special status as “Protectorates”. What this means in practice is that these two areas are slightly more self-governing than other areas of the Empire. Officially, neither territory has been fully annexed as part of the Empire—denoting strategic patience that can last hundreds of years. What if the United States had taken a different approach to Afghanistan than a twenty-year occupation and instead committed to a 100-year occupation? Would that have changed anything?
It’s an interesting thought experiment but certainly, there are some neo-cons out there who would happily scream “Yes! Yes! Yes!” at the thought.
The reality for the Empire of Australia is that they aren’t constrained in the same way by public opinion that a semi-democratic republic like the United States is. Instead, it is subject to the whims of its current full-powerful monarch. She may change her mind at any time for any reason and the future of entire nations and peoples may depend upon it.
It’s important to remember that just as the United States has a temporary leader who may make certain decisions about the future of its people and its foreign entanglements, so does the Empire of Australia and whatever choices may be made by Eleanor XXXIII currently, her daughter may make different decisions—just as E33 is making different choices from E31 and E32. Chances are, as a leader in her 30s, however, this Eleanor will be around for a lot longer to see her vision to fruition.