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Dawn of the American Empire
#1
David Brooks has got it right...

The New York Times
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February 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Iraq Syndrome, R.I.P.
By DAVID BROOKS

After Vietnam, Americans turned inward. Having lost faith in their leadership class, many Americans grew suspicious of power politics and hesitant about projecting American might around the world.

The Vietnam syndrome was real. It lasted all of five years — the time between the fall of Saigon and the election of Ronald Reagan.

Today, Americans are disillusioned with the war in Iraq, and many around the world predict that an exhausted America will turn inward again. Some see a nation in permanent decline and an end to American hegemony. At Davos, some Europeans apparently envisioned a post-American world.

Forget about it. Americans are having a debate about how to proceed in Iraq, but we are not having a strategic debate about retracting American power and influence. What’s most important about this debate is what doesn’t need to be said. No major American leader doubts that America must remain, as Dean Acheson put it, the locomotive of the world.

Look at the leaders emerging amid this crisis. The two major Republican presidential contenders are John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, the most aggressive internationalists in a party that used to have an isolationist wing.

The Democrats, meanwhile, campaigned for Congress in 2006 by promising to increase the size of the military. The presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is the leader of the party’s hawkish wing and recently called for a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan. John Edwards, the most “leftward” major presidential contender, just delivered a bare-knuckled speech in which he castigated the Bush administration for not being tough enough with Iran. “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table,” Edwards warned.

This is not a country looking to avoid entangling alliances. This is not a country renouncing the threat of force. This is not a country looking to come home again. The Iraq syndrome is over before it even had a chance to begin.

The U.S. has no material need to reconsider its dominant role in the world. The U.S. military still has no serious rivals, even after the strains of Iraq. The economy is humming along nicely.

The U.S. has no cultural need to retrench. Vietnam sparked a broad cultural revolution, a shift in values and a loss of confidence. Iraq has not had the same effect. Many Americans have lost faith in the Bush administration and in this particular venture, but there has been no generalized loss of faith in the American system or in American goodness.

There hasn’t even been a broad political shift in favor of the doves. The most important war critics are military types like Jack Murtha, Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb, who hate this particular war but were superhawks in other circumstances.

Finally, there has been no change in America’s essential nature. As Robert Kagan writes in his masterful book “Dangerous Nation,” America has never really been an isolationist or aloof nation. The United States has always exercised as much power as it could. It has always coupled that power with efforts to spread freedom. And Americans have always fought over how best to fulfill their mission as the vanguard of progress.

What’s happening today is just another chapter in that long expansionist story. Today’s debate in the Senate flows seamlessly from the history Kagan describes. Most senators agree that the tactical question of sending 20,000 more troops is not the central issue. Their core concern, they say, is finding a new grand strategy to stabilize the region.

Most senators want a much more aggressive diplomatic effort to go along with the military one. (If President Bush said his surge was part of an effort to establish a regional diplomatic conference, he’d have majority support tomorrow.) But they don’t question the need for America to play a leading role. They take it for granted that the U.S. is going to be in the Middle East for a long time to come.

When you look further into the future, you see that the next president’s big efforts will not be about retrenchment, but about expansion. They’ll be about expanding the U.S. military, expanding the diplomatic corps, asking for more shared sacrifice, creating new interagency bureaus that will give America more nation-building capacity.

In short, the U.S. has taken its share of blows over the past few years, but the isolationist dog is not barking. The hegemon will change. The hegemon will do more negotiating. But the hegemon will live.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

This is why America will prevail...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xElIik0Ys0
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#2
Quote:This is why America will prevail...
Emm, this editorial merely presents an opinion and a bit of patriotic backpadding that everything is fine and the expansion of US influence will continue no matter what. S1
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#3
Understand, I'm not happy about this. I am an isolationist one of the prime reasons being I think we should stay a Republic and eschew empire. But, as I have pointed out in other posts, the rest of the world is completely misreading the American reaction to Iraq which is not fear or panic at the war but instead anger at the Bush administration's formulation and prosecution of the war.
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#4
Well Yankeecat, I have not taken the opportunity to welcome you yet.
So.....welcome.
Thank you for the article also.

I would like to fantasize about being a hardworking 'isolationist' working my farm sometimes...but I would be fibbing. )

I'm very interested in how you would define the "empire" that we should eschew.
In my mind, the empire that "happened" because of the US is simply unique in history. For one simple example, we thrive on the successes of our former enemies, once the murderors have been cleaned out.

We have afforded billions of people a shot at more freedom than they ever even imagined before there was a US model and force in the world.
Not only political freedom, but a chance to grow out of freedom from poverty, ignorance, and pure personal survival.

I would enjoy your thoughts on "empire" things we should avoid.
Best regards
Ken
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#5
Let me jump in also. The word "empire" does not pertain to the old definition anymore: at least as far as the US is concerned. The US is the very first country that has taken a largely free market approach to economics, standing upon the backs of the John Smiths, Lockes, Says, Bastiats, and others. It is an economic empire, but unlike the previous, that empire is open to as many members as wish to join. It is not an exclusive one, as with Rome, USSR, or others.

Huge difference, and we should publically acknowledge this.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
H. L. Mencken
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#6
very nice en-pointe' ,John.
(is that how you spell it lol )
Bean
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#7
Yankeecat Wrote:This is why America will prevail...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xElIik0Ys0

----------------------------------------
America will prevail, yes.

But it has to change its attitude in some areas in foreign policy.

/track_snake
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#8
track_snake Wrote:----------------------------------------
America will prevail, yes.

But it has to change its attitude in some areas in foreign policy.

/track_snake

Well, imo the US just needs to explain itself better. A lot of people don't understand its actions and a superpower can become pretty scare then.

Anyway, internal development is still far more important imo, the US has the advantage of being a front-runner with regard to reform but there is still plenty of work to do. The age of globalization that ended in the thirties is back and it will have an enormous impact. Just look at the political and economic power of the BRIC in 10-15 years.
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#9
Yankeecat, please check out my question to you in the (US POLITICS FORUM) here. I haven't seen you there, but it is a forum you could enjoy.
Bean
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#10
Yankeecat Wrote:Understand, I'm not happy about this. I am an isolationist one of the prime reasons being I think we should stay a Republic and eschew empire. But, as I have pointed out in other posts, the rest of the world is completely misreading the American reaction to Iraq which is not fear or panic at the war but instead anger at the Bush administration's formulation and prosecution of the war.
Well, good luck to you.
The "rest of the world" might have a different, yet valid perspective to offer - something to consider.
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#11
To expand on John L's remark more:

America is the polar opposite of historic empires. Those empires took most of the wealth of the lands they conquered and shipped it back to the homeland. They instituted taxes on the newly conquered that kept feeding the home country. They made sure that the governments in the new countries were run by their men or were clear puppets. They were as brutal as they needed to be to keep order and control.

So the word "empire" clearly does not apply to the US, in its historical meaning.
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#12
jt Wrote:To expand on John L's remark more:

America is the polar opposite of historic empires. Those empires took most of the wealth of the lands they conquered and shipped it back to the homeland. They instituted taxes on the newly conquered that kept feeding the home country. They made sure that the governments in the new countries were run by their men or were clear puppets. They were as brutal as they needed to be to keep order and control.

So the word "empire" clearly does not apply to the US, in its historical meaning.

That is very true jt. Even the Union of Soviet Socialists did this exact thing with Germany, at the end of WWII. All other empires looked at wealth as a "zero sum game", with the pie being static and constant. With an economic empire, such as the US's, this theory is being refutted. Wealth is constantly being generated, and it continues to increase, to the point, where ALL participants put into the pot, and reap the benefits.

That is why China is going to have to eventually make a command decision in the near future. Is it going to pursue the new 'economic' path, or going to continue along the old road? And the last one will only lead to it's ruin, in the end. I suspect that this is why the US is playing soft with them, hoping that they will come to see the wisdom of 'trade' not 'conflict'.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
H. L. Mencken
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#13
Quote:America is the polar opposite of historic empires.
Not really.
It's a modern, different version of "empire".
The US has toppled governments and sponsored favourable ones, using military force or secret services and proxies. Iran 1953 anyone, for example?

It's the same missionary superiority which characterised European colonialism: Bring culture, civilisation and 'our' values to the barbarians.
Corporatist expansion is facilitated by this, supported by the military if necessary.
The US don't have the largest military machine for nothing.
But expansion is primarily achieved by economic means, supported by modern media the Europeans didn't have at their disposal.
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
Reply
#14
Quote:America is the polar opposite of historic empires. Those empires took most of the wealth of the lands they conquered and shipped it back to the homeland. They instituted taxes on the newly conquered that kept feeding the home country. They made sure that the governments in the new countries were run by their men or were clear puppets. They were as brutal as they needed to be to keep order and control.
So the word "empire" clearly does not apply to the US, in its historical meaning.
jt,
you have demonstrated your perception problem several times, thank you for adding more evidence. America, in fact, does exactly, what you describe. 'Governments in the new countries run by their men or puppets, as brutal as they need to be to keep control. You take most of the wealth of the lands you conquer and ship it back to the homeland.' Absolutely. That's what your grotesquely blown up military and defence budget are good for. Historic empires brought education, industries, healthcare, civilization. You destroy all this. You bring misery only. As soon as you sucked everything up, you throw your puppets away.
Read a lot about the 'Hmong' recently, that's a poeple from Laos you abused for your dirty war against them more than 30 years ago, didn't you, John? Afterwards, you conveniently forgot them, and they stayed in refugee camps in Thailand. To be expelled now, back to Laos. There are no treaties how they will be handled by the Laotians, one can expect nothing good for the Hmong. Expect nothing good for Iraq and Afghanistan either. What is touched by America, is in ruins.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#15
quadrat Wrote:
Quote:America is the polar opposite of historic empires. Those empires took most of the wealth of the lands they conquered and shipped it back to the homeland. They instituted taxes on the newly conquered that kept feeding the home country. They made sure that the governments in the new countries were run by their men or were clear puppets. They were as brutal as they needed to be to keep order and control.
So the word "empire" clearly does not apply to the US, in its historical meaning.
jt,
you have demonstrated your perception problem several times, thank you for adding more evidence. America, in fact, does exactly, what you describe. 'Governments in the new countries run by their men or puppets, as brutal as they need to be to keep control. You take most of the wealth of the lands you conquer and ship it back to the homeland.' Absolutely. That's what your grotesquely blown up military and defence budget are good for. Historic empires brought education, industries, healthcare, civilization. You destroy all this. You bring misery only. As soon as you sucked everything up, you throw your puppets away.
Read a lot about the 'Hmong' recently, that's a poeple from Laos you abused for your dirty war against them more than 30 years ago, didn't you, John? Afterwards, you conveniently forgot them, and they stayed in refugee camps in Thailand. To be expelled now, back to Laos. There are no treaties how they will be handled by the Laotians, one can expect nothing good for the Hmong. Expect nothing good for Iraq and Afghanistan either. What is touched by America, is in ruins.

Hey, "Q": when one is monochromatic(totally colour blind), it is difficult to "see" the reason why people do certain things, and discriminate, based upon sight. It is easy for that same person to suspect that there is something wrong with the other person.

BTY, your intellectual monochromatic nature is showing here. Wink1
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
H. L. Mencken
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#16
quadrat Wrote:Expect nothing good for Iraq and Afghanistan either. What is touched by America, is in ruins.
Be fair, Bush has said "We don't do nation building",



.......nation destroying yes.
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire
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#17
Monsieur Le Tonk Wrote:
quadrat Wrote:Expect nothing good for Iraq and Afghanistan either. What is touched by America, is in ruins.
Be fair, Bush has said "We don't do nation building",



.......nation destroying yes.

BTW Pepe, how is your little corner of EUROPE doing? Are you losing demographically, as is your neighbor?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
H. L. Mencken
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#18
Camel-shagging Muslim hordes are conquering Europe, enslaving the socialist Euro dhimmis and beheading those who don't submit to Sharia law.

The only thing which can save us is the heroic advance of the US and the coalition of the upright defenders of civilisation to stop this barbary and spread democracy in the Middle-East.

:lol:
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#19
stroll,
you're kidding, I hope. :lol: I rather try my luck with the Muslims, history tells me the Saraceens have always been more cultivated than crusaders. Especially those who left all civilization behind when they went of to a new world, the profound contempt for law and order was the main reason to immigrate.
Can anybody tell me what exactly is bad with this sharia? America idolizes it's barbaric death penalties too.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#20
quadrat Wrote:stroll,
you're kidding, I hope. :lol: I rather try my luck with the Muslims, history tells me the Saraceens have always been more cultivated than crusaders. Especially those who left all civilization behind when they went of to a new world, the profound contempt for law and order was the main reason to immigrate.
Can anybody tell me what exactly is bad with this sharia? America idolizes it's barbaric death penalties too.

You should really try not to let your hatred of Americans and Christians twist all of your perceptions. Open your eyes and look around you, is there any religio with which Muslims are not in conflict with? It is obvious that you don't want to know anything bad about Shria so is it worth explaining to you? Just consider one point, under Sharia you would be sentenced to death for your lifestyle. Hey, perhaps you are right, there are redeaming factors about it. :twisted:
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