Patience Please: An American Empire Takes Time

Spot on; and even better: correct.

Too bad, that as Mark Steyn says, we've not an imperialist bone in our bodies. That, unfortunately, leaves us with a much less palatable option in this war, one you've addressed before.

Posted by Clayton Barnett at December 20, 2006 5:24 PM

Great screed. But I think you need to cut back a little on the coffee. If you wrote that thing all at once, you've got to be exhausted.

Posted by Mike Anderson at December 20, 2006 7:21 PM

"...that if they don't like our Stealth bombers, they'll really hate our ballistic missile submarines."

I'm going to have that entire paragraph painted on the tailgate of my pickup.

Bravo, sir.

My wife asks my opinion about the Long War from time to time. I tell her that nothing will happen until we bury a few tens of thousands more Americans.

Yep, it makes her sad. I don't even follow the week to week stuff anymore. No point. And I say this as a guy who up until 2005 could show you the location on a map of every area command, FOB, and yes, so help me, major infrastructure project in either Afghanistan or Iraq... plus some others happening in random 'stans and African backwaters. Oh, Bush might go Chicago Rules on Iran and Syria, maybe even do a little pruning in Warzirastan (this week's spelling) on a low-level, tactical, and mostly-sorta plausibly deniable plane, but we have come to the point in the play where minor and major players stand in front of the closed curtain and speak in ad libers and asides as the hidden stage is reset. For The People, God bless their short attention span hearts, have spoken. Mostly by not speaking, true, but the result is the same.

The grand maneuvers aimed at Democratization and the high minded vision/hope/pragmatic goal of an internally reformed Islam are about run to naught.

Got Milk? Forget that; stock water, antibiotics, and ammo, instead.

Posted by TmjUtah at December 20, 2006 7:41 PM

Gerard, if my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfater; if America was just ambivalent about the prospect of an empire, there would be an American empire right now. The problem with your arguement is not just that Americans have never thought about an empire or have mixed feelings about it, but Americans do not want an empire.

In the 19th century, the United States possesed the structural, technological, and demographic means to occupy and rule most of the Western Hemisphere. However, we limited ourselves to the vast thinly populated parts of the North America. Only after the Spanish-American war did we acquire anything resembling an empire, ie the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. We've since given independence to the Philippines and have tried every decade or so to get Puerto Rico to accept statehood. The Spanish-American war is only one example, and similar arguements could be made from American actions surrounding World War I, World War II, or the Cold War. The American people have never desired an empire, and when the opportunity for one have arisen, the American people have ignored or rejected the opportunity.

The advice of Roosevelt was/is always at the heart of American foreign policy: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." You might notice, and I'm sure our enemies have, that there's nothing in that proverb about using our big stick - not that we haven't used it before. Our enemies very well might have forgotten that you can't admire the architecture of pre-1945 downtown Hiroshema, but if so, then we have done a poor job of reminding them.

Nothing in the history or character of the American people indicates that we desire a global empire, and so the idea of establishing one is as plausible as establishing a kosher deli in Mecca. If we lose a city, then this might change, but it would be much more keeping with the American character to extract quick, bloody, terrible vengence against our enemies.

Because there will be no American empire and because a significant number of Iraqis prefer to kill each other for regional dominance, our list of options in the Middle East become fewer and worse with each passing year. God willing we'll find a solution before the bottom of that list where the dreaded 'g' word waits.

Posted by LRFD at December 20, 2006 9:29 PM

Gerard -

I just return from a month in the hinterlands of Japan to the more modern area near Tokyo enroute to the US for the holidays. For the past month, in spite of having 'high speed internet' (relatively) at my hotel, I am able to access American Digest again. For some reason, you must have aggravated a sysadmin in the hinterlands. I kept getting an 'Error 403 - Forbidden on this server'. Keep up the good work, though I would fail to remember where you may have ever said anything untrue or mean about the Japanese.

This post made me laugh in places and shake my head in others. For lack of a better outlet in the cold evenings of rural Japan, I have caught up on the bloggers that I like to read with the exception of American Digest because that rogue sysadmin would not allow it.

I have come to pretty much the same conclusion as you, we (America) are accused of pursuing Empire but we neither really wish to have that Empire nor are truly in pusuit of it. Should we desire it, as so many on the Left seem to think, we could have it with relatively little effort. Who could stop us? But, we have spent much treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet the price of gas is at all time highs. Ah, but the BUSHHITLERHALLIBURTON cabal has become rich on it! I forgot!

I truly fear that it is as you say, that our enemy will keep prodding until they are successful and enleash a more massive devastation on the US than they have been able to do so for or we finally grow tired of the constant drip, drip, drip of the negativity thrust in our direction and unleash the dogs. That will be a sobering day.

I seem to remember that I first came to a blog and I thought it was this one, American Digest, because of an essay on a smuggled nuke going off in one of the US cities near the border. That particular essay started an exploration down intellectual paths that I am still exploring to this day. If you did not write it, then it still resounded with many of the same themes as expressed in this one.

Please keep writing. The viewpoint is truly valued by this individual. Thanks...

And Merry Christmas!

The Hobo

Posted by Robohobo at December 21, 2006 5:49 AM

You must have read Orson Scott Card"s Empire.

Posted by Kevin Baker at December 21, 2006 5:49 AM

As usual, well reasoned and superbly written.

Some say we are an empire whether we want it or not. Others may say (primarily the Left) we want an empire because we are ultra aggressive. You argue rather convincingly that we don't have such lofty ambitions. I agree. That we only want the peace to have our 4th of July bar-b-ques and pursue life liberty and happiness is most assuredly true.

What we don't want is to be constanmtly attacked by a bunch of back alley thugs who fight dirty and want us to submit to their brand of religion.

I submit that the questions before us are:
1. Can we, or should we, try to introduce democracy to the Islamic world?
2. Can we, or should we, try to get Islam to reform?
3. If the answers to 1&2 are no, then it becomes a question of what must we do to convince the Muslim world to live peacefully with the non-Muslim world?

Introducing democracy or religious reform into the Muslim world will require us to assume much of the accoutrements of empire. On the other hand, using the force necessary to deter them from attacking non-Muslims is something, though not relished, we are capable of doing and doing quite quickly. All that is required is the leadership that understands what must be done and has the will to do it.

Posted by Jimmy J. at December 21, 2006 10:43 AM

the usual hypocritical. dishonest, right wing garbage from another fascist warmongering braindead blogger. Keep panderings to reactionaries and theocons, they are the only ones who can take your crummy crap seriously. I guess this is just another piece to make right wing scumbags feel like noble victims, By the way, the incompetent who set up this page should check the tab order on this form, when I hit tab, I should go to the preview button. But when God is on your side, who cares about details?

Posted by Jakester at December 27, 2006 3:50 PM