10th Grade Honors Lit.
16 May 2014
Dominance of Super Powers
Throughout the history of the World, the greatest powers have competed for dominance over other powers. A nation will go to extreme measures in this competition for dominance. In the actions of this race for supremacy, brutality in warfare is carried out to maintain the legacy of a power's superiority. The brutality of the Superpowers' actions taken to display dominance are often fronted by humane excuses that are painted as morally just for the benefit of the superpowers conscience and image.
October 3, 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia; American forces invaded a target building in attempt to snatch-and-grab powerful lieutenants of the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in hopes of weakening his current rule. In Mark Bowden’s novel, Black Hawk Down, he describes this invasion by the American forces on the Somali’s. The Americans originally had entered Somalia with a humanitarian goal to provide resources. However, this humanitarian plan turned into a military advance. America seized the opportunity to display its superiority because “there’s no question we’ll win the gunfight” (Bowden 21). This “humanitarian mission” by the Americans turned into a use of brutality for a selfish display of dominance.
In George Orwell’s short story, “Shooting an Elephant”, Orwell is a sub-divisional police officer in Burma, a country under British control in the Imperialism era. Orwell, who represents the British as a Superpower, is confronted by the obligations of duty and integrity when he has to shoot an elephant that went “must.” So he is forced to use brutality to display his dominance by shooting the elephant in front of the natives; he later justifies his brutality with the humane excuse: “I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant.”(Orwell) The brutal actions taken by Orwell to complete his goal of displaying dominance were than fronted by another humane excuse to benefit his conscience and image.
On August 6th of 1945, President Truman made the “difficult and dreadful” decision to drop the world’s first atomic bomb. World War II was coming close to a final end and this weapon could end it within days. Truman, as the new President, was left to make the executive decision