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Is America An Empire Now?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Sunstone, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is America now an empire? What do you think? Why?
     
  2. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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  3. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    We have been for some time: Puerto Rico, the Marianas Islands, the Philippines, Cuba for a while, Panama and in a less direct manner in other CA countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and now add Iraq to the list.
     
  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Does the US need to occupy extensive tracts of other people's territory to be an imperial power?
     
  5. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    That's sort of the idea behind an "Empire" though I'd say that using economic means to dominate the local government and economic affairs is the same thing.
     
  6. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    At the high watermark of the Roman Empire they had 37+ foreign military bases.
    At the apex of the British Empire they had 36.
    The Pentagon now lists 737 "official" foreign US military bases, and it's widely acknowledged that there are a great deal more, some of them quite large. The US has garrisoned the planet. The US military budget exceeds that of the entire rest of the world!

    Then there's the issue of the US economic hegemony. America's made a banana republic of much of the developing world for decades, and dominates the world economy.

    Is the US an empire? Is the Pope Catholic?
     
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  7. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    no comparison its utter nonsence is the US an empire? no is Bush an emporer? no . pure America bashing , the US has a sphere of influence and it has allies but get real

    look at british military bases for 2006 we have more now than when we were an empire

    http://www.dasa.mod.uk/natstats/tsp6/tsp6_jan06.pdf
     
  8. lamplighter

    lamplighter Almighty Tallest

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    Well some would call Bush a dictator though, look at the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (PATRIOT Act). The PATRIOT Act has removed so many civil liberties in one fell swoop that George W. Bush now holds the record for removing more civil liberties than any other president. We also have an embargo on Cuba which has placed a great deal of economic oppression on its people, but so has the country's dictatorship so we're both to blame for the crimes against its people. America also has a rather large cultural impact on most of the world as well. So like Seyorni said "Is the US an empire? Is the Pope Catholic?".
     
  9. Francine

    Francine Well-Known Member

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    And all this to fight some bozos with surplus 105mm shells buried in the road, rigged to go off with a $10 garage door opener.
     
  10. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Is there something about being at the top of the heap that induces paranoia or insecurity in a people? The expansion of the Roman Empire was largely motivated by the Latin's fear of their immediate neighbors, for example.

    Other countries with militias barely sufficient to repulse an attack by a coalition of Boy Scouts are happy and secure. Other countries experience internal attacks by foreign political rivals without feeling compelled to invade or topple the administration of their attacker's country of origin.

    Eisenhower's warning has come true. The military is America's pre-eminent industrial product; the cornerstone of the US economy. But without manufacturing conflict worldwide there would be no market for it.

    We are not really in peril of invasion. What military opposition the US faces is largely a product of our own military and economic adventurism.
    Odd as it may seem, I think there's currently in inverse relationship between military spending and national security.
     
  11. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    you have taken on the role of world police man and i for one am glad of it , and dont forget the cold war if it wasnt for the USSR you probably wouldnt havethe military size you do now
     
  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Good point. The USSR was a great bogeyman to scare the hoi-polloi into funding the military-industrial complex. When it fell, the industry needed a new bogeyman, fast.

    Frankly, though, I'm not entirely comfortable with my tax dollars supporting a world police force, particularly inasmuch as they seem to be ignoring problems in Darfur and Afganistan while plowing billions down an Iraqi rat-hole.

    Isn't policing the world the job of the United Nations? Shouldn't we be directing our energies into honing the UN into a lean, mean protector of world peace?
     
  13. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    i totally agree
     
  14. Fluffy

    Fluffy A fool

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    Whatever America is now, I feel that it is sufficiently different to the common understanding of "empire" as to make such a comparison unintuitive and misleading.

    I feel it would be better to focus on specific attributes that demonstrate the extent of America's reach rather than focusing on this sort of analogy.
     
  15. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    So what is the common understanding of empire? How does it differ from the US' current situation?
     
  16. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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  17. Fluffy

    Fluffy A fool

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    The common understanding of an empire is of a monarch or other dictator who brutally subjugates other peoples and other lands to their own will.

    Now it may be the case that this does apply to the modern America. However, people don't view America in that light and I don't see what we can gain by taking up the arduous task of convincing them that they should.

    Surely it would be more productive, more intellectually honest and much easier to point out the specific facts that demonstrate America's power and then question whether this should be so?
     
  18. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    I think the US is entirely congruent with most definitions of empire. Evidently Fluffy does not. I was inquiring about how s/he sees the US as different from empire.
     
  19. Fluffy

    Fluffy A fool

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    Heya Seyorni,
    I believe that there are 3 elements that one needs to consider when evaluating an argument:
    1) Does the conclusion follow from the premises?
    2) Are the premises true?
    3) Is the argument convincing?

    Hopefully, it is clear that none of these questions are dependent on each other and so we could have any combination of answers here. The first two deal with the structure of the argument whilst the last explores how it is perceived. If the answer to 1) is yes then I call the argument valid. If the answer to 1) and 2) is yes then I call the argument sound. If the answer to 1), 2) and 3) is yes then I call the argument strong.

    I feel that a sound argument can be constructed to show that America is an empire. I just don't think that it will be very strong. Therefore, I suggest that we first need to take each premise and make them common knowledge so that people in general will find the conclusion less difficult to swallow.
     
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  20. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Interesting.

    What attributes of empire do you find lacking in US foreign policy?
     
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