U.S. Imperialism


In the Mideast, America Casts an Imperial Shadow
By Rashid Khalidi
Washington Post Outlook, 2007-11-11, page B3

[I agree almost wholeheartedly with this commentary.
Here is an excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

[S]ince 2000,
no one in a position of power in Washington
seems to have bothered to read any history.
Believing that the demise of the Soviet Union
meant an end to checks and balances at home and to limits abroad,
seduced by the blandishments of shallow-minded theorists
who believe that
the rules that applied to all previous great powers
do not apply to the United States,
the current administration has plunged into not one but two land wars in Asia.

[Well, there is one part of history that the media elite
have demonstrated great, one might say almost infinite and obsessive,
interest in:
the Holocaust, Hitler, Munich 1938
have been used almost ceaselessly as
practically the only valid paradigms
for interpreting twenty-first century world affairs
as they relate to America, Israel, and the Muslim world.

Of course,
I view this as proof positive of the Zionist control over the media.]

Once upon a time, after Korea and Vietnam,
the words “land war in Asia” might have inspired caution in Washington.
But slaying the “Vietnam Syndrome”
that limited the executive branch’s power to act abroad
was an uncontrollable obsession
for the clique that has surrounded several presidents since Richard M. Nixon,
including such notables as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
These were men who, by and large,
had never seen combat,
knew little of war and
scorned history, geography and expertise based on personal experience.
Some of them were probably unaware that Iraq was in Asia,
and would not have cared if they knew.

[The conclusion:]

Iraq has changed everything.
In Washington, a city obsessed with the present,
it was easy to forget that as recently as a few years ago,
the United States was not particularly disliked in the Middle East
and that
al-Qaeda was a tiny underground organization with almost no popular support.
It was equally easy to forget that in the last phases of the Cold War,
the United States had managed to protect its interests in the Middle East
with no land forces on the ground, through an over-the-horizon presence.

al-Qaeda in Iraq threatens the security of entire districts of the country;
policymakers hint at a “South Korean” model
of an indefinite U.S. military presence in Iraq;
the Pentagon is weighing long-term plans
for U.S. bases all over the region;
Washington seems to assume that U.S. national interests
require our troops to fight their way across West Asia and North Africa
to stop “the terrorists,”
failing which we will find them
crawling up the beaches of Miami and Long Island.

This is madness.

People in the Middle East are angry at the United States
not because of our values, many of which they share:
democracy, free enterprise,
even many of our cultural values such as
love of family and respect for religion.
They are angry at us, essentially, because
our forces are doing things in their back yard
that we would never tolerate
from foreign troops in our own region.

We are the greatest power in world history.
But that will make not a whit of difference to the outcome in Iraq.
We will not -- we cannot -- force the Iraqis to do what we want,
any more than the British could
toward the end of their own attempt to rule Iraq,
although they managed to hold on
for much longer than our doomed occupation will.

Our political leaders must recognize that
force does not solve the problem of terrorism.
The real terrorists --
those blowing up civilians in marketplaces and office towers,
as opposed to Iraqis resisting U.S. occupation --
can be dealt with only by means far more subtle than military might.
Dealing effectively with this elusive enemy
requires patience and
a far more precise, carefully targeted and politically sophisticated toolkit
than the mighty bludgeon of the U.S. armed forces.

No true U.S. interest has been served
by the invasion, destruction and occupation of Iraq.
We have done incalculable harm to that tragic country
and to our position in the world.
Perhaps we can limit the damage if we substitute a little humility
for the blind hubris that led us into this disaster --
an understanding of the limitations of armed force
and “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind,”
especially those whose hearts we hope to win.

Road to Empire
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-28

An illegal treaty with Iraq seals our fate

[Its concluding half (emphasis is added):]

For an administration ostensibly devoted to “free markets,”
this sort of crony capitalism is a disgrace.
It is, in short,
good old-fashioned imperialism
of the sort embodied by the British East India Company.

So what are the Iraqis getting
in return for allowing the wholesale looting of their natural resources?
Fifty thousand U.S. troops stationed permanently in the country,
mostly in urban areas –
the plan is for 14 “enduring bases,” as we found out back in 2003.
In spite of all the palaver about “foreign” threats,
there is no doubt that we are now in the business of
protecting the Iraqi “government” from their own people.
In return,
favored American corporate interests will be allowed to strip the country bare.

This agreement formalizes Iraq’s status as a de facto U.S. protectorate, a province of the empire – an American beachhead in a radically destabilized Middle East that could easily be used as a launching pad for future (and even more ambitious) wars of “liberation.”

There’s just one big problem for the War Party: the Iraqi constitution requires a vote by the Parliament in order to give the Status of Forces Agreement (or this preliminary declaration of intent) the force of law. And that looks problematic, at best, given the weakness of the Maliki regime. As Liwa Sumaysim, formerly tourism minister and now a member of the Iraqi Parliament from the fiercely nationalistic party of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, put it: “The Iraqi parliament must have the final word on it.”

Can the American Congress say the same? I think not.

The Americans are careful to cloak their illegal and increasingly untenable military occupation of Iraq in all sorts of pretensions to legality: they refer to the UN resolution, which sanctions Iraq as a “terrorist” state and a “threat” to “international peace.” The Bush administration will go to the Security Council once again for a renewal of this formal mandate – even though it declares, in effect, that Iraq remains a pariah among nations, which rankles the Iraqis. The idea is to transition over to a bilateral Iraqi-U.S. agreement that supersedes the UN framework and codifies the terms of the occupation in Iraqi law.

Whether the Iraqis will go for it, or the more nationalistic elements, such as the Sadrists, manage to stall approval of the declaration and derail the U.S.-Iraqi “negotiations” over the exact content of a future Status of Forces Agreement is a pretty even bet. What you can count on, however, is that we won’t hear a peep out of the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives, which doesn’t at all mind being in recess while the president commits us to an open-ended occupation – and America takes a giant step down the road to empire.

Neocon columnist Jonah Goldberg complains that
“the word ‘empire’ substitutes for an argument;
there are no good empires,
just as there are no good fascists, or racists, or dictators.”
What he doesn’t say is that this argument is only good in America:
why, even the supposedly antiwar archbishop of Canterbury,
as the denizens of National Review’s “The Corner” recently noted,
has hailed the alleged achievements of British imperialism
as compared to the vulgar American version.
The British routinely point to their imperial past as a source of pride,
as do American Anglophiles.
The French, the Spanish, and the Italians
all revel in the supposed glory of their past conquests:
it’s only the Americans who disdain the very idea of having an empire,
and, indeed, instinctively sense something profoundly un-American
about the whole concept of Washington, D.C.,
as the capital of a global imperium.

That’s what ordinary Americans think, at any rate:

the elites, on the other hand,
believe they are uniquely qualified –
and, indeed, have a duty –
to rule over the peoples of the world ...
for their own good, of course.

To believe otherwise is to stand condemned as an “isolationist,”
a dreaded epithet reserved for
any politician or public person who refuses to get with the program
dares challenge the fundamental assumptions upon which
U.S. foreign policy has been built since the days of Harry Truman.

So you don’t believe the U.S. has any business
stationing its troops in 100-plus countries?
What are you, some kind of isolationist dinosaur?
Don’t you realize that we have a moral obligation to be “engaged“ in the world?
It scarcely merits mentioning that this sort of “engagement” means a policy of perpetual war,
and that, in particular,
the neoconservative dream of a remade Middle East
is a prescription for a regional conflict
that would dwarf the current level of conflict in Iraq
by several orders of magnitude.
Which is why it is never acknowledged, at least in “mainstream” venues,
yet that is the future being mapped out for us.

That Congress is in recess as this most important step is being taken
is emblematic of
our elected representatives’ abdication in the foreign policy realm,
and specifically
of their constitutional duty to review and ratify – or reject – treaties.
Yet their abstention is hardly a big surprise:
after all, this is the same sorry collection of solons
who stood passively by while we were lied into war,
then complained that they didn’t know,
they couldn’t help it,
and it was all the Republicans’ fault, anyway.
This deft maneuver by the Bush administration
will give the Democrats an ample out
if and when they inherit the occupation.

Our hands are tied, they’ll cry,
as their antiwar base demands a U.S. withdrawal.
We must stand by our agreements, or else we’ll be seen as unreliable.
And, hey, what are you, anyway – some kind of kooky “isolationist”?!

Of course, the Senate could reconvene,
at the pleasure of Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader,
and debate, in an emergency session,
the U.S.-Iraqi declaration and the prospect of a permanent U.S. presence –
but the Democrats (at the leadership level [what does Jack Murtha say?])
don’t consider this a matter of great urgency.
To the Beltway crowd, Democrats as well as Republicans,
the Empire is a fact of life, and – when the balance sheet is drawn up –
a good thing.
After all,
who, other than themselves,
is better qualified to run the world?

[Answer: Local self-determination is better.
Let people decide how they want to be ruled, based on their local preferences.]

And if you can’t handle that, my friend,
then you most certainly are one of those dreadful “isolationists.”

A Civilian Partner for Our Troops
Why the U.S. Needs A Reconstruction Reserve

By Richard G. Lugar and Condoleezza Rice
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-12-17

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Over the past decade and a half,
the United States has learned that
some of the greatest threats to our national security
emerge not only from the armies and arsenals of hostile nations
but also from
the brittle institutions and failing economies
of weak and poorly governed states.

We have learned that
one of the central tasks of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future
will be
to support responsible leaders and citizens in the developing world
who are working to build effective, peaceful states
and free, prosperous societies.

[What these leading Republican voices on foreign policy are advocating
is precisely what Democratic president Clinton was castigated for
in the well-known 1996 Foreign Affairs article
“Foreign Policy as Social Work”.]

Un-Happy Hegemony
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2007-12-29


Bizarro Imperialism
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-08-22

How it works, and who profits

Economic Collapse: The Financial Death of the US Empire
by Doug Bandow
Antiwar.com, 2008-10-10

The American Empire, RIP
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-10-10


Imagine an Occupied America
by Rep. Ron Paul
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-10

Why They Hate Us (I): on military occupation
by Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2009-11-23

[The (II) is the article
Why they hate us (II): How many Muslims has the U.S. killed in the past 30 years?”.]


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