U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships steam in formation during their military manoeuvre exercise known as Keen Sword 15 in the sea south of Japan, in this November 19, 2014 handout provided by the U.S. Navy. REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro/U.S. Navy/Handout
Dominic Tierney, National Interest: Does America Need an Enemy?
Americans need something to fight for—before they find someone to fight against.
IN THE first century BC, the Roman historian Sallust wrote that the republic had descended into internal strife because of the destruction of its enemy, Carthage, in the Third Punic War. Fear of the enemy, or metus hostilis, produced domestic cohesion. Without an adversary, Romans turned their knives inward: “when the minds of the people were relieved of that dread [of Carthage], wantonness and arrogance naturally arose.”
Something similar may be happening today. There are numerous explanations for the current discord in the United States, ranging from globalization to the splintering of American communities. But one big factor is being largely ignored: the lack of a foreign threat. External threats can unify diverse populations. Psychologists have shown that people quickly form “in-groups” and “out-groups” (us versus them), whether it’s two sports teams going head-to-head or two nations at war. The desire for mutual protection, and sometimes for vengeance, can reduce enmity between in-group members and create a “one-for-all” mind-set.
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WNU Editor: If you run an empire you will always have an enemy. Is the U.S an empire .... no. But politics being what it is .... having an external threat does quiet domestic opposition to one's policies and programs.