Skip to comments.In Defense of Empire
Posted on 04/15/2014 11:38:07 AM PDT by Lorianne
It can ensure stability and protect minorities better than any other form of order. The case for a tempered American imperialism. ___ Throughout history, governance and relative safety have most often been provided by empires, Western or Eastern. Anarchy reigned in the interregnums. To wit, the British may have failed in Baghdad, Palestine, and elsewhere, but the larger history of the British Empire is one of providing a vast armature of stability, fostered by sea and rail communications, where before there had been demonstrably less stability. In fact, as the Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has argued, the British Empire enabled a late-19th- and early-20th-century form of globalization, tragically interrupted by a worldwide depression, two world wars, and a cold war. After that, a new form of globalization took root, made possible by an American naval and air presence across large swaths of the Earth, a presence of undeniably imperial dimensions. Globalization depends upon secure sea lines of communication for trade and energy transfers: without the U.S. Navy, thered be no globalization, no Davos, period.
But imperialism is now seen by global elites as altogether evil, despite empires having offered the most benign form of order for thousands of years, keeping the anarchy of ethnic, tribal, and sectarian war bands to a reasonable minimum. Compared with imperialism, democracy is a new and uncertain phenomenon.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
On the eve of Tax Day, this is an ironic — or appropriate? — article. Empire costs money, big money. Americans have to pay higher taxes - less money to feed, clothe and school our children — to fund our political establishment’s imperial ambitions.
The whole damned Balkans doesn't mean as much to me as one veteran homeless and needing help, or one kid, born here, who can't get all the education needed to realize his potential
It is always a precarious balance. When do we step in to put out the brush fire that could rage into a wildfire, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars? Is it the Ukraine? It is troubling indeed. The thing that makes me angriest is that our NATO partners have fallen down on their NATO committments and yet most of them are the ones that are threatened by Putin’s Russia.
We have treaty obligations here, NATO treaty obligations. Obviously not to Ukraine, but certainly to NATO member Poland who would be directly threatened by a Russian takeover of the Ukraine. Poland incidentally is one of the few NATO members who does live up to it’s committments. They are a staunch allay to the U.S.
Pretty good, balanced article.
It should be noted that the benefits of empire have been enjoyed mainly by the groups you never hear about in history, the peasants who aren’t slaughtered by invaders. The losers in empire are often the local elites displaced by the imperialists. They lost their freedom. The peasants never had any.
With occasional possible exceptions, modern empire has not been a paying enterprise. All the taxes and products extracted from Africa did not pay the imperialists a fraction of the money they spent conquering and administering it. South Africa probably excepted.
Yet the modern world we take for granted exists largely because the USA fills the imperial role. And is roundly denounced for it.
I find the "cost barrier" argument much less compelling -- we could make all of our global power projection obligations debt neutral if we really wanted to.
Actually, when you do it right, Empires are supposed to generate revenue.
Kind of like how communism has never been done right? Or how Mussolini made the busses run on time? Or like how the British East India Company united a subcontinent? I suppose imperialism is great as long as you’re doing the conquering - and winning. The whole idea stinks of tyranny to me.
I've often thought that the purpose of invading and controlling Africa has been to prevent it from organizing itself. It has been kept undermined and self-destructive by funding madness in careful patterns throughout the last 200+ years. What couldn't be controlled or stopped if it got big enough, has been turned against itself and made to self-destruct.
Europeans, at least, while they’ve been hanging around the edges of Africa, were utterly unable to penetrate it until the latter half of the 19th centurny, when medicine finally advanced to a point where Europeans could survive for more than a few months.
That is meant quite literally, BTW. Review the records of the slaving operations along the coast. Factors and soldiers guarding the forts had an average lifespan measured in months. The only European force that was able during this time to operate even slightly in tropical Africa were the Portuguese, and that was probably because of a considerable infiltration of African blood, giving them partial immunity against the diseases that extirpated every other European force.
You can assume, if you like, that African raiding tribes and Arab slavers were unintentionally serving the interests of distant Jewish or bankster wire-pullers, but those wires would get awfully frayed by the time they got down to that level. Sometimes bloody chaos is just bloody chaos because that’s what comes natural to the inhabitants, not because somebody’s imposing it on them.
Communism never has been done right, because that is an oxymoron. The others aren’t.
Musso did make things run on time, and John Company did unite a subcontinent. Whether those things were worth the cost is of course another question entirely.
BTW, if anybody knows of a truly unbiased take on the cost/benefit ratio of the British conquest of India, I’d love to read one. The pre-independence British analyses tend to claim it was mostly benefit, while the post-independence leftist British and Indian ones claim it was all just rape and pillage.
Seems to me the truth is somewhere in between, but you can’t get at the truth from someone just out to find ammo for a pre-determined position.
Personally, I suspect India at the moment is a good bit ahead of where it would be had there not been a conquest, while Pakistan is not.