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Should the U.S. Offer Iraq Statehood?
Sierra Times ^ | May 5, 2003 | J. Neil Schulman

Posted on 05/05/2003 9:31:30 PM PDT by J. Neil Schulman

Should the U.S. Offer Iraq Statehood?

By J. Neil Schulman © 2003

Despite the endless repetition from campus Trotskyists and unreconciled supporters of Ohio Senator Robert Taft’s 1952 presidential bid, the United States of America is not now, nor has it ever been, an empire.

If the United States were an empire, the Stars and Stripes would today be flying over Ottawa, Mexico City, Havana, Panama City, Managua, San Salvador, Manila, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Saigon, and Kuwait City. At least.

The United States does not have colonial ambitions, and that defines imperialism. We back friendly foreign regimes and sometimes aid even unfriendly ones, when we perceive it in our strategic interest. Too often the enemy of our enemy is a friend, even if the “friend” is as miserable as Stalin, Mao, Marcos, Somoza, or Saddam, and too often we’ve had to clean up the mess afterwards.

But there is nothing that I can find in the Federalist Papers, in the Constitution of the United States -- even in the writings of Old Rightists and New Leftists -- that says the maximum number of states allowed in the Union is 50, or that for a state to be added to the union its people have to be English speaking.

America is not a territory. It is a revolution. Its founding document declares,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence is not merely applicable to a particular time and place. The least important thing about it is the secession of colonies from its homeland. It is a statement of how human affairs should be organized, and is as applicable in Asia - or on Mars - as it was to Massachusetts and Virginia.

So the question needs to be asked. If the peoples of Iraq, just liberated from a brutal dictator, ever voted in a referendum that their future lay with the Americans who have spent their blood and treasure to free them, would it be imperialism, or merely American, to welcome them into the Union?

We say we believe in separation of church and state. Should we keep a state out of the union because the majority of its people are of a different religion than most of us? Utah doesn’t seem to have been much of a mismatch, has it?

English is not their first language. But if one added up the square mileage of all the neighborhoods in the United States where English isn’t spoken as a first language, might not it equal the square mileage of Iraq?

Iraq would not be physically connected to the United States. But neither is Hawaii. And just a few years before it became a state, the most common first language of Hawaii was Japanese.

I can hear the howls already: This proves American imperialism! It’s about the oil! He wants Iraq’s oil!

Not me. I want orbital solar-power satellites, interplanetary nuclear spaceships, and countertop cold fusion. If fifty years from now the United States is still burning petroleum, America will have failed the test of progressive capitalism.

Like most Americans, I’m a provincial isolationist at heart. It took hijacked American commercial passenger jetliners being crashed into American office buildings for me even to notice that there were foreigners who really hated us. Americans like me don’t even like foreigners enough to want to colonize them.

But we don’t define America by race, religion, or ethnicity. If our cultural strength has come by inviting diverse foreigners to immigrate to our shores, is it much different to invite twenty-four million of them to bring their country with them? I don’t recall reading anywhere that a necessary precondition for becoming an American was being homeless and penniless.

I know this is a long shot. The American Bill of Rights is a Harsh Mistress. Becoming an American – becoming a person who defines his or her identity not by the past but in possibilities for the future, and habituating easygoing tolerance rather than inbred xenophobia – is hard work.

But wasn’t that the point of America in the first place?

Copyright © 2003 by J. Neil Schulman. All rights reserved.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN is the author of two Prometheus award-winning novels, Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, short fiction, nonfiction, and screenwritings, including the CBS Twilight Zone episode "Profile in Silver." His latest novel, a finalist for this year's Prometheus Award, is the comic fantasy Escape from Heaven. His articles have appeared in publications ranging from National Review to the Los Angeles Times. His personal website is

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: america; american; antiamericanism; colonialism; constitution; empire; imperialism; independence; iraq; mesopotamia; oil; politics; revolution; state; statehood
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To: nomad
I accept that Marxist, leftist philosophies are going to generate terrorists as readily as do the Islamicists. However, it grieves me deeply when someone raised to be a conservative, Christian person can turn that way, and I think it's one heck of a cautionary note.

For some reason our current President is unwilling to do the hard job of securing our borders. I don't mean closing our borders--I mean securing them. For example, we need to provide a legitimate, controlled way of allowing laborers to come and go as they are now, with more safety for all concerned and real accountability for those who hire and house them. Not one person should be dying of thirst in the desert, raped by smugglers, left to wander the country uncontrolled, looking for work that might or might not be there. The current situation is unacceptable in so many ways, but we have let the Democrats set it up as if it's an issue of racism against's not, but the President has let them get away with that. I agree with you that we could fix that.

That has nothing to do with the concept of giving Iraq statehood...we have 2 million Americans in prison right now, so by your argument, all US States should be removed from the Union, since we have non-law-abiding citizens in substantial numbers in our midst.
41 posted on 05/06/2003 3:24:51 PM PDT by ChemistCat (My new bumper sticker: MY OTHER DRIVER IS A ROCKET SCIENTIST)
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To: ChemistCat
The civil war answered the question of LEAVING the union, but I thought this article was about them ENTERING the union? Our criminals, as American citizens, are a problem only we should deal with, but you certainly can`t support the concept of importing more from ANY country?

However, you are still missing the point, given the fact that we are capable of creating our own, we don`t need to import any more terrorists and should in fact be doing every thing in our power to prevent their entry. Besides there IS a difference between some thug sticking up a liquor store for crack money and some Islamo-nuts flying planes into buildings in a hair-brained attempt to destroy our way of life. That craziness just seems to justify a more intrusive Government, look at the whole Homeland Defense machine, while I personaly trust GW, what if another Slick Willy gets into office? Judging from the anti-individual rights vitriol the left spouts those Islamo-creeps could just get their wish. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure or, keep them the hell out!

42 posted on 05/06/2003 9:53:06 PM PDT by nomad
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To: nomad
Um, that post wanders enough that I can't track your argument. Either that, or I'm too tired to follow it. I'll read it again tomorrow, I guess.
43 posted on 05/06/2003 10:02:23 PM PDT by ChemistCat (My new bumper sticker: MY OTHER DRIVER IS A ROCKET SCIENTIST)
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To: grania
You're forgetting one of the biggies. What a great source of cheap labor this would be.

Except as a state, everyone would get at least the minimum wage.

They would also get two US Senators, a bunch of representatives in the House, they would vote for president, and they would be subject to our laws, such as the ADA, the Civil Rights Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc. etc.
44 posted on 05/20/2003 1:25:13 AM PDT by Praxeas
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To: Praxeas
I think Iraq should be put on the path to Statehood. Offering nations U.S. Statehood would be less imperialistic than altering their governments by replacing leaders through coups like we do now. In the past, we ruled by proxy through the Shah of Iran, Pinochet of Chile, Noriega of Panama to name a few. Offering Iraq statehood would enable the Iraqis to govern themselves and participate in the government of the USA as a whole.

Also, making nations states of the union will add to America's wealth and power rather than draw on it. Once we finish rebuilding Iraq, if Iraq bacme a state, it will ad 25 million to America's population and $1 trillion to the GDP. Right now, our allies nor our "colonies" pay any taxes to maintain our armed forces. With statehood, they will have to.

And I think we should make Iraq, Liberia, and Afghanistan states. I think we ought to offer statehood to every Canadian province. I think we ought to purchase Greenland from Denmark and Siberia from Russia.
45 posted on 08/28/2003 8:43:16 PM PDT by Falconist
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To: Falconist
I think that any new states should at least be in this hemisphere.
46 posted on 08/28/2003 8:50:48 PM PDT by gogeo (Life is hard. It's really hard if you're stupid.)
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To: gogeo
I think we should expand in this hemisphere too. I think we should buy Greenland from Denmark, offer each Canadian province U.S. Statehood, and admit every Latin American nation into the union first as a territory and then as a state. The USA should emcompass ALL of America from pole to pole.

But Iraq, Afghanistan, and Liberia should be encouraged to join the union too. Once we rebuild those nations, other nations will want to join the USA too. Eventually, we will become the United States of Terra and unify the world under the government and rule of law of the U.S. Constitution, the prosperity of free-enterprise, the health and saftey protection of American law, the freedom of the U.S. Bill of Rights, the flag of the stars and stripes, and hopefully above all the cross of Jesus Christ.
47 posted on 08/30/2003 7:18:12 PM PDT by Falconist
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To: Falconist
One world governemnt, only on our terms?
48 posted on 08/31/2003 10:24:42 AM PDT by gogeo (Life is hard. It's really hard if you're stupid.)
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To: gogeo
Well if you look at the contenders for world leadership, China, India, Islam, the EU (led by France and Germany) and the UN, I think America is the best candidate for the job. I don't trust anyone else.

Even though America does some bad things in running its empire, America has been the most benevolent imperial power. No nation has rebuilt nations after conquering them since Greece and Rome. Germany, Korea, Japan can attest to that.

I would like to see U.S. Statehood extend to every nation excluding Israel. I see Israel remaining a seperate nation yet including in its borders Israel proper, Lebanon, the Siani Penisula, and Syria.

I would like to see the world united under the U.S. Government. But probably, we should remain in our own hemisphere for now. Maybe 200 years down the road, a UST will be possible.
49 posted on 08/31/2003 1:47:21 PM PDT by Falconist
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