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John Simkin

Empire of Disorder: American Imperialism in the 21st Century

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One of the interesting phenomena (for me, at least) about the current military campaign in southern Afghanistan is the apparent inability of the United States to get NATO countries to commit soldiers and equipment to the fight. I've just read an account of the ructions at the NATO summit in Poland, where extreme pressure has apparently been brought to bear on Germany and France in particular to send helicopters and soldiers to reinforce the few thousand NATO soldiers in the south - thus far to no avail.

I'm sure that previous US administrations would not have been submitted to this public humiliation. On the other hand, perhaps previous administrations would not have been in the position of asking the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to fight on the borders of Pakistan …

I wonder if this lack of ability of the Americans to enforce their will on their European allies will prove to be long-lasting, and spill over into other areas of policy.

This highlights a major problem with the new American Empire. For example, the Romans had their auxiliaries and the British were very good at persuading local people to become part of the occupying force (both Stalin and Hitler were fascinated by the way the British did this). The Soviet Union was also able to get other Warsaw Pact countries to provide troops.

Bush has tried to get other countries to supply troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (the coalition of the willing). Most countries refused in Iraq. They have also been reluctant to put troops in dangerous areas of Afghanistan. This is the main concern of critics of Blair’s foreign policy at the moment. The former aide-de-camp to the commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan recently resigned in protest at the tactics being used in the Helmand province. He says that the British policy of bombing and strafing villages is only increasing recruitment to the Taliban. In other words, the British are imitating the military tactics of the US that failed so disastrously in Vietnam.

The only countries left willing to provide troops to carry out frontline duties are the UK, Australia and a couple of right-wing governments in Eastern Europe. Italian and Spanish governments were also willing to do this before they were ousted from power. This is understandable as it is impossible to convince the electorate of these countries that it is in their interests to support these invasions.

The US will eventually end up completely isolated. By this time the American people will hopefully come to their senses and will elect someone willing to scale down their military adventures. That is elect a government that is not being sponsored by Halliburton, Bechtel or the other multinational companies that make their money from wars.

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The US will eventually end up completely isolated. By this time the American people will hopefully come to their senses and will elect someone willing to scale down their military adventures. That is elect a government that is not being sponsored by Halliburton, Bechtel or the other multinational companies that make their money from wars.

A majority of the American people have already gotten wise to Bush. A large percentage of Republicans running for re-election are running as "independent" Republicans, that is, as Republicans who are willing to diverge from Bush on important issues. In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger's pro-Bush speeches are aired by Dems as a way of discrediting him. I'm afraid Terminator 5 may be coming soon to a theater near you, after all...

IF the trend continues and a non-neo-con gets elected in 2008, the U.S. will be in a fairly good position, IMO. It will have set a good example for other democracies--"SEE, we had a complete idiot run our country into the ground for 8 years, and nobody murdered him, nobody overthrew him, and we survived. THEREFORE...Democracy works" At such time, IF the newly elected president has a LICK OF SENSE, he/she will embrace the UN and sell Bush's behavior as an over-reaction to 9/11, and not as a reflection of the American people's ill will... If this occurs, the U.S. may yet find a way to use its Empire-like status for the benefit of mankind.

Trying to stay positive...

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Guest Mark Valenti
The US will eventually end up completely isolated. By this time the American people will hopefully come to their senses and will elect someone willing to scale down their military adventures. That is elect a government that is not being sponsored by Halliburton, Bechtel or the other multinational companies that make their money from wars.

There are no meaningful geopolitical boundaries, those are bureaucratic relics that will continue to be supported by their own momentum. A snake eating its own tail. Though they are obsolete, they will continue to be marginally observed as a means of keeping track - of the flow of people and goods.

In the place of states, there are multinational corporate income streams, fueled by military projects.

Whichever drama the U.S. political strategists choose to present to the public, it is no longer a matter of statecraft. It is stagecraft on a global scale. And I think this has been true since around 1900.

MV

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Snippets from posted text in black, my comments in blue

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

I think there is one major difference. When the Romans, British, Soviets took over a country they remained in power for a reasonable period of time. In doing so, they created order. Eventually, of course, they were removed by the host population because the valued freedom over order.

For the last 100 years or so, the US has attempted to control countries by its use of economic power. Only on rare occasions has it been forced to send in an occupying army. When it has sent in the troops, such as in Vietnam and Iraq, it has never gained complete control and therefore has been unable to provide any protection to the host population. Therefore it has become the “Empire of Disorder”.

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Snippets from posted text in black, my comments in blue

The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies.

I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

I think there is one major difference. When the Romans, British, Soviets took over a country they remained in power for a reasonable period of time. In doing so, they created order. Eventually, of course, they were removed by the host population because the valued freedom over order.

For the last 100 years or so, the US has attempted to control countries by its use of economic power. Only on rare occasions has it been forced to send in an occupying army. When it has sent in the troops, such as in Vietnam and Iraq, it has never gained complete control and therefore has been unable to provide any protection to the host population. Therefore it has become the “Empire of Disorder”.

This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact.

The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier?

I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable.

This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort.

I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means.

I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power)

Cheers as you say on your side of the Pond. Have a Nice Day, as the sun-glass wearing CHP likes to say over here while handing a speeding ticket to the driver.

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This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact.

The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier?

I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable.

This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort.

I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means.

I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power)

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not attempting to defend the British Empire. I agree that it was just as unpleasant as the current American Empire. If we do a body count the British Empire was far worse than the one being led by Bush. I was only trying to show the added problems that a modern empire has to endure.

There is another major difference between past empires and the present one. Empires were usually popular with the masses. Only those with a fully developed political consciousness opposed the development of the British Empire. (Of course, some members of the middle and upper classes opposed it on moral grounds.) The home populations benefited economically from these foreign adventures. For example, the ruling classes in Britain were able to give the working classes a higher standard of living because of the exploitation taking place in other countries. This is the main reason that Marx was proved incorrect with his theory that capitalism would result in a lowering of the standard of living of the working class in industrialized countries to the point where a revolution would take place. In that sense, imperialism saved capitalism.

The American Empire is much more difficult to justify to the masses back home. It is clearly a very expensive operation. It has also resulting in the deaths of a lot of Americans. Unlike the British Empire, it is not producing a higher stand of living. Nor does it provide more jobs for Americans. In fact, the main concern of modern industrialists is to use its military might to guarantee its investments. This includes obtaining cheap labour in the underdeveloped world. The American Empire is more about selling jobs than obtaining new ones. What is more, it can’t even keep the price of oil down (the reason Rupert Murdoch told us why we had to invade Iraq).

The only way the empire can be sold to the American people is by the notion that life would be far worse without it. That is, a world ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. (In the past it was a world ruled by communists.) We are constantly being told that the war on terror is really a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the occupied people. It is also a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the American people. So far, the American media has gone along with this nonsense. However, with the growth in alternative news sources, this also will prove to be a losing battle.

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This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact.

The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier?

I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable.

This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort.

I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means.

I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power)

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not attempting to defend the British Empire. I agree that it was just as unpleasant as the current American Empire. If we do a body count the British Empire was far worse than the one being led by Bush. I was only trying to show the added problems that a modern empire has to endure.

There is another major difference between past empires and the present one. Empires were usually popular with the masses. Only those with a fully developed political consciousness opposed the development of the British Empire. (Of course, some members of the middle and upper classes opposed it on moral grounds.) The home populations benefited economically from these foreign adventures. For example, the ruling classes in Britain were able to give the working classes a higher standard of living because of the exploitation taking place in other countries. This is the main reason that Marx was proved incorrect with his theory that capitalism would result in a lowering of the standard of living of the working class in industrialized countries to the point where a revolution would take place. In that sense, imperialism saved capitalism.

The American Empire is much more difficult to justify to the masses back home. It is clearly a very expensive operation. It has also resulting in the deaths of a lot of Americans. Unlike the British Empire, it is not producing a higher stand of living. Nor does it provide more jobs for Americans. In fact, the main concern of modern industrialists is to use its military might to guarantee its investments. This includes obtaining cheap labour in the underdeveloped world. The American Empire is more about selling jobs than obtaining new ones. What is more, it can’t even keep the price of oil down (the reason Rupert Murdoch told us why we had to invade Iraq).

The only way the empire can be sold to the American people is by the notion that life would be far worse without it. That is, a world ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. (In the past it was a world ruled by communists.) We are constantly being told that the war on terror is really a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the occupied people. It is also a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the American people. So far, the American media has gone along with this nonsense. However, with the growth in alternative news sources, this also will prove to be a losing battle.

A very neat summation, John.

I submit that the reason the US media maintains this lie is because they have a large financial stake in it. Peace and international co-operation doesn't sell advertising space.

Pretty soon now the citizens of the US should realise the 'War on Terror' is merely another brand label being used to line the pockets of its sponsors.

It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

Edited by Mark Stapleton

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It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

Define "death throes." Do you actually see America on the verge of collapse? Or headed dfor a slight decline?

I suspect the latter. I believe today's inter-locking economies insures that if America collapses, it will drag most of the world down with it.

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It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

Define "death throes." Do you actually see America on the verge of collapse? Or headed dfor a slight decline?

I suspect the latter. I believe today's inter-locking economies insures that if America collapses, it will drag most of the world down with it.

A significant decline. I think America will be supplanted as the world's preeminent economic force by China and the EU. America built its economic success in the 20th century, when oil was cheap. The era of cheap energy is now over, IMO, but America retains a massive reliance on increasingly expensive carbon based fuels. It's a real handicap. Successive Governments have failed to face the issue, partly because of oil industry influence, partly because of the political unpopularity of such measures. Serious threats to America's oil supply, such as war in the Middle East, combined with its huge military spending and level of debt, could cause an economic collapse, IMO.

Also, America will have to address the growing economic problems faced by its population. Working poor and working homeless is a distinctly American phenomenon. The War on Terror has resulted in a massive wealth transfer away from the public and into the hands of the military and armaments industry and its shareholders. It can't be sustained long term, especially since America posesses very little social welfare infrastructure to cushion the fall for those who are adversely effected by this wealth transfer. Also, globalisation has cost America its manufacturing base.

Widespread economic hardship will force people to focus on what's important. Only then will they force their leaders to curtail the massive waste of public money caused by stunts like the war on terror, the war on drugs and military adventures in foreign countries.

Edited by Mark Stapleton

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Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world.

Not a conspiracy, but not really a coincidence, either. There is something I can't define in a single word that worms it's way between those two options. To really get to the heart of it, you need to read the history of Corporate Law, specifically how US courts came to extend the use of the 14th amendment to include corporations. That decision led inexorably to what we see today.

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Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world.

Not a conspiracy, but not really a coincidence, either. There is something I can't define in a single word that worms it's way between those two options. To really get to the heart of it, you need to read the history of Corporate Law, specifically how US courts came to extend the use of the 14th amendment to include corporations. That decision led inexorably to what we see today.

I understand it dates back to KKK Judge Hugo Black's rulings that defines groupings as 'individuals' which enabled educational institutions to circumvent de-segregation orders.

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The culture of electoral democracy has particularly weakened the notion of politics. The idea that politics must necessarily take the form of a transparent, electoral and parliamentary democracy with eligible parties on the left and on the right, with a normal level of corruption instead of massacres, has perverted our sense of the stakes involved. One need not adhere to conspiracy theories in order to admit that oligarchic, and therefore antidemocratic, sovereignties and empires exist. Working to clearly define these phenomena is necessary for an effective reorganization of the left. The American program of "democracy for all" is all well and good, but it sounds like a missionary toasting at a cannibal banquet. The problem must be dealt with at its source. There can be no democracy without the victory of popular power over the oligarchy. (Alain Joxe)

--------------------

I agree with this paragraph and its been what ive been trying to internally type for some time now.

Elections in the United States have become the opposite of democracy.

By this I mean they serve to obscure the true nature of power and manufacture a false consenses that is not based on the realites of power. Take for example the recent STEALTH primary campaign of Hillary Rodham Bush. Her strategy was keep it off the airwaves because she new how mad the politically litterate base of her party was at her for shutting up for five years while the Executive Branch shed its legilative limb.

The true work of the Hillary campaign was done by the NYT. First they went after Lieberman, because they knew their DLC--right democratic line was becoming two transparent. Lieberman was the more blatent Bush enabler, but Clinton was the hinge, and played a much more important structural role in the party of the professional Bush enablers.

The NYT's idea was to sacrifice Lieberman to save Hillary. Sure enough, a week before the elction the times typed something to the effect of 'though hillary hasn't been exactly brave in foreign policy her record is very differnt from Lieberman' It then went on to type some fine print that Hillarys typsists typed in 2002 or 3. The main point of this fine print was that NO ONE IN OUR NATION EVER HEARD IT WHEN IT MATTERED, IE WHEN SOMEONE SPEAKING OUT CLEARLY MIGHT HAVE STOPPED THE PSYCHOTIC IRAQ INVASION.

So, in the realm of MEDIated politics, Hillary was not Lieberman- Light, she was Orthodox Lieberman, Orthodoxer than any true hustings could ever bear. It was she who cloaked Bushes extremism with the wholecloth of the party itself. Lieberman's function had been aberational flak-catcher, and his played his role in August.

50-60% of Americans are against the Iraq war now. They do not have a single senator articulating thier principles. Burke suggested that a representative not have to litterally represent the views of his constituents. Here in the US, we have trumped Ed: in our new theory of representation 1 senator out of a hundred can represent 40-60% of the population, and he can die in a small plane crash (Wellstone) as the wiser intonation of the general will are manifest in the new republic. Poli sci profs take note.

The net result? 60% might be for or against something passionately, but they will never get thier talking head on TV that is required to galvanize a general opinion into a clearly articulated policy option. This guy understands how American media- fascism works. Brown shirts not required, but definiately not excluded either.

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Until now, the hope for peace has been at the root of the imagination of war. In fact, "peace is normally the goal of war. On the contrary, war is not the goal of peace," as Saint Augustine once told us. If the interior peace of a state is sometimes restored by the invention of an external threat of war, this exportation of violence owes more to a hellish peace than a divine one. If it is true that we have entered the era when globalization will erase the frontiers between internal and external wars, we can also anticipate that it will either eliminate peace or preferably that it will erase the boundary between internal peace and external peace, so that peace can become the global objective for eliminating war.

Current wars now appear to be managed like wars of repression by "liberal states" against "terrorism," but this is a temporary appearance, due mostly to the American media effort that requires its allies to demonstrate their solidarity in strange or even absurd terms corresponding to the American view of the outside world, an extreme neo-Darwinist, behaviorist and autistic view of their "tribal wisdom" that was understandable for a family of pioneers penetrating the plains of the Far West, but highly defective for those who would seek universal royalty.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle.

--------------------

The highly respected historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr wrote in 1991, "The Disuniting of America. Reflections On A Multicultural Society." The foreword included the following...... "Instead of a transformative nation with an identity all its own.America increasingly sees itself in this new light as preservative of diverse alien identities. Instead of a nation composed of individuals making their own unhampered choices, America increasingly sees itself as composed of groups more or less ineradicable in their ethnic character....Will the center hold? or will the melting pot give way to the Tower of Babel?"

Posed as a literal question, an answer to the above could be:

No the center has not held, and irrespective of the events of the last six years, there is a certain element of The Tower of Babel, as an expression used to define American culture here and now, which is not a good thing if no one is listening, to the other, or if one side is presenting a disingenious propoganda campaign designed to increase it's suppresion of civil liberties, while maintaining the guise of noble intentions.

Are the American people watching the Bush Administration currently undertake a hegemonic militaristic last stand before it's Era of Empire ends, simultaneously mixed in with a corporatized media at the beck and call of the apparatus of government, some people would say yes.

To wit, circumstances are even more adversely affected, by the 'framing the debate' conundrum of which the slogan "This is your Media, This is Your Media on Drugs" description seems apropos. American political campaigns, for the most part do not have civilized discourse only searches for dirt on the other, and mudslinging, although that is only an opinion.

Particularly galling is framing the debate as a World Wrestling Federation match-up between the Democrat's and the Republican's, instead of a coherent logical dialogue about America's future. Why? Because those same Democrats pass the bill's that the President send's to Congress and the last time I looked there were no gun's pointed at their heads when they voted, and which is equally disturbing in the long run, if one is expecting those same Democrat's to ostensibly, pull America back to the center.

Are American's being more or less asked [subconciously, perhaps] to act as if there are no credibility issues with 'the War on Terrorism' as it is presented via the media? i.e. credibility re Invading Iraq because they were in cahoot's with Al-Qaeda, or how consensus, only in the most bastardized sense was derived, and, of which the Administration seek's to play down, successfully to those who are willing to sleepwalk through a defining moment in history.

My only experience with the totalitarianism of the last century was reading about it in books, nonetheless I am acutely aware of the fact that in history, each generation to a degree [on a national level] has to be re-educated on the horrors of war and the fact that freedom in it's purest form, was purchased with human blood, and eternal vigilance is required to maintain it. But in today's media quagmire, if you say those words and you are not to the right of Attila the Hun, your patriotism is 'suspect.'

If one accept's the last premise, it is nauseating to see what is arguably a "People Magazine Mentality" willing to fork over civil liberties, in no small part, due to a media that is, dare I say, stuck on stupid to the detriment of us all.

This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time, Robert. Thank you.

Ter

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This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact.

The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier?

I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable.

This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort.

I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means.

I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power)

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not attempting to defend the British Empire. I agree that it was just as unpleasant as the current American Empire. If we do a body count the British Empire was far worse than the one being led by Bush. I was only trying to show the added problems that a modern empire has to endure.

There is another major difference between past empires and the present one. Empires were usually popular with the masses. Only those with a fully developed political consciousness opposed the development of the British Empire. (Of course, some members of the middle and upper classes opposed it on moral grounds.) The home populations benefited economically from these foreign adventures. For example, the ruling classes in Britain were able to give the working classes a higher standard of living because of the exploitation taking place in other countries. This is the main reason that Marx was proved incorrect with his theory that capitalism would result in a lowering of the standard of living of the working class in industrialized countries to the point where a revolution would take place. In that sense, imperialism saved capitalism.

The American Empire is much more difficult to justify to the masses back home. It is clearly a very expensive operation. It has also resulting in the deaths of a lot of Americans. Unlike the British Empire, it is not producing a higher stand of living. Nor does it provide more jobs for Americans. In fact, the main concern of modern industrialists is to use its military might to guarantee its investments. This includes obtaining cheap labour in the underdeveloped world. The American Empire is more about selling jobs than obtaining new ones. What is more, it can’t even keep the price of oil down (the reason Rupert Murdoch told us why we had to invade Iraq).

The only way the empire can be sold to the American people is by the notion that life would be far worse without it. That is, a world ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. (In the past it was a world ruled by communists.) We are constantly being told that the war on terror is really a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the occupied people. It is also a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the American people. So far, the American media has gone along with this nonsense. However, with the growth in alternative news sources, this also will prove to be a losing battle.

A very neat summation, John.

I submit that the reason the US media maintains this lie is because they have a large financial stake in it. Peace and international co-operation doesn't sell advertising space.

Pretty soon now the citizens of the US should realise the 'War on Terror' is merely another brand label being used to line the pockets of its sponsors.

It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

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This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact.

The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier?

I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable.

This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort.

I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means.

I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power)

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not attempting to defend the British Empire. I agree that it was just as unpleasant as the current American Empire. If we do a body count the British Empire was far worse than the one being led by Bush. I was only trying to show the added problems that a modern empire has to endure.

There is another major difference between past empires and the present one. Empires were usually popular with the masses. Only those with a fully developed political consciousness opposed the development of the British Empire. (Of course, some members of the middle and upper classes opposed it on moral grounds.) The home populations benefited economically from these foreign adventures. For example, the ruling classes in Britain were able to give the working classes a higher standard of living because of the exploitation taking place in other countries. This is the main reason that Marx was proved incorrect with his theory that capitalism would result in a lowering of the standard of living of the working class in industrialized countries to the point where a revolution would take place. In that sense, imperialism saved capitalism.

The American Empire is much more difficult to justify to the masses back home. It is clearly a very expensive operation. It has also resulting in the deaths of a lot of Americans. Unlike the British Empire, it is not producing a higher stand of living. Nor does it provide more jobs for Americans. In fact, the main concern of modern industrialists is to use its military might to guarantee its investments. This includes obtaining cheap labour in the underdeveloped world. The American Empire is more about selling jobs than obtaining new ones. What is more, it can’t even keep the price of oil down (the reason Rupert Murdoch told us why we had to invade Iraq).

The only way the empire can be sold to the American people is by the notion that life would be far worse without it. That is, a world ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. (In the past it was a world ruled by communists.) We are constantly being told that the war on terror is really a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the occupied people. It is also a battle for the “hearts and minds” of the American people. So far, the American media has gone along with this nonsense. However, with the growth in alternative news sources, this also will prove to be a losing battle.

A very neat summation, John.

I submit that the reason the US media maintains this lie is because they have a large financial stake in it. Peace and international co-operation doesn't sell advertising space.

Pretty soon now the citizens of the US should realise the 'War on Terror' is merely another brand label being used to line the pockets of its sponsors.

It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

It might take a few more thousand 'working homeless' for this to sink in. The empire is in its death throes.

Define "death throes." Do you actually see America on the verge of collapse? Or headed dfor a slight decline?

I suspect the latter. I believe today's inter-locking economies insures that if America collapses, it will drag most of the world down with it.

What we will see is a fairly steady decline in the standard of living of the American people. According to some Marxists, this kind of situation could lead to a revolutionary situation. Given its past, I think this is very unlikely.

However, it will create a crisis for the American capitalist system. The right-wing will split and we may well see the emergence of a neo-fascist movement. Others will retreat from imperialist ambitions. If the masses do not move either to the extreme right or left, I suspect they will either become apathetic or will resort to crime.

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