View Poll Results: What force does the American Empire have on the world?

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  • Wholly Benevolent

    3 6.25%
  • Rather Benevolent

    15 31.25%
  • Hardly Benevolent

    5 10.42%
  • Not one way or the other

    2 4.17%
  • Slightly Malevolent

    3 6.25%
  • Malevolent

    3 6.25%
  • Very Malevolent

    3 6.25%
  • America is not an Empire

    14 29.17%
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Thread: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

  1. #31
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
    Then was Thomas Jefferson denoting America would have an empire when he talked about America's "Empire of Liberty"? Please, explain that to me.

    Empire noun. -
    a powerful and important enterprise or holding of large scope that is controlled by a single person, family, or group of associates


    "The essence of empire is not fighting, is not conquering, it’s training indigenous forces to project power on their own, in their own interest but also in your interest."

    –Robert Kaplan
    The possible group of associates would be considered the oligarchy. Now please tell me how that can possibly work within a republic's framework; there is not master branch where all the power in embedded (yet).

    I think TJ, as I call him from time to time (we go way back), was trying to be poetic.
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    The possible group of associates would be considered the oligarchy. Now please tell me how that can possibly work within a republic's framework; there is not master branch where all the power in embedded (yet).
    Actually, a group of associates could denote a plethora of different things. Yes, it could mean an oligarchy, but it also could just as well mean a representative democracy, or a republic. That is why ancient Athens and Rome befit the definition of empire even though they themselves did not have an emperor, and that is why you could just as well apply the word in relation to America's role in the world for essentially the past few centuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy
    I think TJ, as I call him from time to time (we go way back), was trying to be poetic.
    I agree. He was poetically explaining the nature of America's anti-Imperialist Imperialism, and his beliefs have resonated through American foreign policy up to the present day. It was, after all, TJ(heh) that made the Louisiana Purchase and in the Barbary States launched America's into her first savage little war.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
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  3. #33
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
    I suppose it comes from peoples' perception that empires were always out for self-profit and were completely un-idealistic, which couldn't be farther from the truth. We are an empire in a distinctly American sense.
    There is nothing distinctly American about our empire. Also, much of our policy is driven by self-profit and is un-idealistic, though I certainly agree idealistic ends can be a goal of an empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Areopagitican View Post
    There is not one American base currently operating in any country, anywhere in the world, where the dutifully elected and acknowledged government of said country does not specifically approve of American forces. If by that standard alone, I maintain that America is not an empire.
    If you believe all those countries have been dutifully elected governments then we're really gonna need to have a discussion about your standards. Also, we've had bases in some of these countries for a while, before they became dutifully-elected democracies and the terms of these treaties can be hard to annul. Cuba's government would love to kick us out of Gitmo, but the treaty we have with them requires us to agree on leaving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    You cannot correctly associate "Empire" and "Republic" by etymology nor by definition, as an empire requires a monarchy. The fate of the territories that the United States occupies is not in the hand of a monarch, but a conglomerate of elected politicians, and by proxy, the American people.
    That's an absurd comment and I really get tired of this BS misdirection. If you wish to understand you should especially look at its origin or history. The term empire derives from Latin imperium, which means "power" and was used in very broad terms including simply the power of Roman law and this usage continued even into the time of the Holy Roman Empire. If we seek to apply this to a country than we should consider this and its usage elsewhere. The Dutch Empire through most of its existence was ruled by a republic and many have referred to the Soviet Empire. Clearly the relationship between the term empire and power remains and there is no requirement for a monarchy. Indeed, the ancient Roman usage showed no direct relationship between the terms imperium and imperator, the source for the word emperor.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
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  4. #34
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    You are aware that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy right? The U.S. exerts too little control to be called on empire, but you are dead wrong about local feelings on our bases.
    I don't think he said anything about local "feelings". What he did say was absolutely correct.

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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light View Post
    There is nothing distinctly American about our empire.
    I suppose not if you subscribe to the Howard Zinn: Empire vs Humanity paradigm, but otherwise the stark differences between America's empire and those of the past are numerous and large. Unlike Athens, we don't force any nations to our alliance nor do we tax those under us. But more importantly, our ideals have evolved a lot since the time of Pericles Athens, and so to say the two are essentially the same would be an inherent fallacy. And of course the differences with the other two Western Empires are so obvious it is a waste of time for me to lay it out... Then there's the case of many other empires throughout history that don't represent the Western, liberal tradition. Those are not so distinct and again, the differences are staggering enough to present themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light
    Also, much of our policy is driven by self-profit and is un-idealistic
    How is that exactly? I can point to tangible, credible evidence that our foreign endeavors from the Barbary Wars up to Operation Iraqi Freedom have idealistic causes as the driving force. What ACTUAL evidence do you have to the contrary? No rhetoric, I want facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light
    though I certainly agree idealistic ends can be a goal of an empire.
    Well, when your ends are a liberal government, and you're means to achieve that end are "liberalizing" the country, then both your end and the means to reach that end are idealistic.
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
    -TR

  6. #36
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubub View Post
    I suppose not if you subscribe to the Howard Zinn: Empire vs Humanity paradigm, but otherwise the stark differences between America's empire and those of the past are numerous and large. Unlike Athens, we don't force any nations to our alliance nor do we tax those under us. But more importantly, our ideals have evolved a lot since the time of Pericles Athens, and so to say the two are essentially the same would be an inherent fallacy. And of course the differences with the other two Western Empires are so obvious it is a waste of time for me to lay it out... Then there's the case of many other empires throughout history that don't represent the Western, liberal tradition. Those are not so distinct and again, the differences are staggering enough to present themselves.
    I think maybe you need to look a little more in to our relationships with foreign countries. We actually have forced nations into our alliances and though we have not taxed countries exactly we have wrung other economic concessions out of them. There is a difference of style, but not substance.

    How is that exactly? I can point to tangible, credible evidence that our foreign endeavors from the Barbary Wars up to Operation Iraqi Freedom have idealistic causes as the driving force. What ACTUAL evidence do you have to the contrary? No rhetoric, I want facts.
    The Barbary Wars? Are you serious? What idealistic cause do you think was driving that? As for Operation Iraqi Freedom I suppose that depends on whether you consider pursuing a New American Century an idealistic cause. I guess it could be argued that imperialism is itself an idealistic cause, though usually not driven by the idealism being proclaimed to the masses by those pursuing the path of imperialism.

    Well, when your ends are a liberal government, and you're means to achieve that end are "liberalizing" the country, then both your end and the means to reach that end are idealistic.
    Liberalizing has non-idealistic benefits. Introducing privatization to a country that previously had nationalized industries opens it up to exploitation by foreign business interests. Also, manipulating the ignorant masses into supporting your favored candidate is far easier than instigating a coup against a dictator. You look into the National Endowment for Democracy and our general Cold War policies you will find we typically invest money and other resources all to insure a candidate favorable to U.S. interests takes power. During the Cold War we even made use of false-flag terrorist operations to sway elections, bribed politicians, and disseminated propaganda all in an effort to insure the candidate or party we wanted to win would win.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light View Post
    I think maybe you need to look a little more in to our relationships with foreign countries. We actually have forced nations into our alliances and though we have not taxed countries exactly we have wrung other economic concessions out of them. There is a difference of style, but not substance.
    Forced nations into our alliances? You've got to be kidding me. Whose capital, please remind me, have we sent our tanks in to keep them in line?



    The Barbary Wars? Are you serious? What idealistic cause do you think was driving that?
    Freedom of the Seas. It's a big love fest for people interested in that sort of stuff.

    Liberalizing has non-idealistic benefits. Introducing privatization to a country that previously had nationalized industries opens it up to exploitation by foreign business interests.
    Nationalized industries consistently and constantly perform worse than their private counterparts. Private competitors have always been better than nationalized industries. Notice how the share of the world's GDP national governments control has declined consistently since the 60s (you can google it). If anything, not opening up creates more exploitation.

    Also, manipulating the ignorant masses into supporting your favored candidate is far easier than instigating a coup against a dictator. You look into the National Endowment for Democracy and our general Cold War policies you will find we typically invest money and other resources all to insure a candidate favorable to U.S. interests takes power. During the Cold War we even made use of false-flag terrorist operations to sway elections, bribed politicians, and disseminated propaganda all in an effort to insure the candidate or party we wanted to win would win.
    There is undoubtably a checkered past to American Cold War foreign policy, and while I personally believe that each of those "terrorist operations" were required; by your own standards American foreign policy following WWII has created a world that is freer, less violent, and more prosperous by every standard you can find.
    Last edited by Areopagitican; 06-20-10 at 12:11 AM.

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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Areopagitican View Post
    Forced nations into our alliances? You've got to be kidding me. Whose capital, please remind me, have we sent our tanks in to keep them in line?





    Freedom of the Seas. It's a big love fest for people interested in that sort of stuff.


    Nationalized industries consistently and constantly perform worse than their private counterparts. Private competitors have always been better than nationalized industries. Notice how the share of the world's GDP national governments control has declined consistently since the 60s (you can google it). If anything, not opening up creates more exploitation.



    There is undoubtably a checkered past to American Cold War foreign policy, and while I personally believe that each of those "terrorist operations" were required; by your own standards American foreign policy following WWII has created a world that is freer, less violent, and more prosperous by every standard you can find.
    There's no sense arguing with this guy, in a recent argument I had with him he actually claimed that the U.S. was somehow responsible for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

  9. #39
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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Areopagitican View Post
    Forced nations into our alliances? You've got to be kidding me. Whose capital, please remind me, have we sent our tanks in to keep them in line?
    Do I really need to recite the litany of incidents where the U.S. has invaded Latin American countries, especially those in the Caribbean, to remove a government we oppose or prevent a government we support from falling? I assure you that practice is not limited to the Americas either and overt military action is far from the only means we utilized.

    Freedom of the Seas. It's a big love fest for people interested in that sort of stuff.
    If by that you mean freedom for our ships then you are correct, but that is hardly an idealistic cause. Our commercial ships were being attacked and so we retaliated.

    Nationalized industries consistently and constantly perform worse than their private counterparts. Private competitors have always been better than nationalized industries. Notice how the share of the world's GDP national governments control has declined consistently since the 60s (you can google it). If anything, not opening up creates more exploitation.
    I'm not sure where you are going with this, because the point was that "liberalizing" a country is not a sign by itself of pursuing an idealistic cause. Reversing the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry would be liberalizing their economic policy, but it also gave U.S. oil companies a considerable stake where they previously had none.

    There is undoubtably a checkered past to American Cold War foreign policy, and while I personally believe that each of those "terrorist operations" were required; by your own standards American foreign policy following WWII has created a world that is freer, less violent, and more prosperous by every standard you can find.
    I think U.S. foreign policy had nothing to do with making the world freer and definitely hasn't made it less violent. Prosperity is the result of scientific advances rather than foreign policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Ferris View Post
    There's no sense arguing with this guy, in a recent argument I had with him he actually claimed that the U.S. was somehow responsible for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
    We were more than responsible for it, it was a desired consequence of U.S. actions. Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Carter Administration noted that U.S. support for mujahideen prior to the invasion was a major factor in the invasion and was cited as a pretext by the Soviets. When the invasion happened it allowed the U.S. to give the Soviets their Vietnam, those are Brzezinski's words.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
    - Khalil Gibran

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    Re: Is the American Empire a Benevolent force for the World?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light View Post
    We were more than responsible for it, it was a desired consequence of U.S. actions. Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Carter Administration noted that U.S. support for mujahideen prior to the invasion was a major factor in the invasion and was cited as a pretext by the Soviets. When the invasion happened it allowed the U.S. to give the Soviets their Vietnam, those are Brzezinski's words.
    You see ladies and gentlemen the U.S. was responsible for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, you heard it here first. Also, interesting to know, according to this guy the U.S. is responsible for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The more you know. Oh FYI the interview in which Zbigniew allegedly admitted to sending arms to the Mujahadeen is a fabrication, he never made those statements he maintains that no arms were sent until a week after the Soviets invaded and this assertion is easily verifiable because the records are open the accusation that he ever said that is not backed by the historical records and it just happens that the portion of the interview that he allegedly made these comments were not recorded or videotaped. Gee what a surprise.

    Last edited by Agent Ferris; 06-21-10 at 12:28 AM.

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