Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The un-American Empire

"Not only is playing the Game of Empire bad for the USA," reminds Steve Sailer, "the USA is really, really bad at playing the Game" — Playing the Game of Empire. I would add that the reason "the USA is really, really bad at playing the Game" is that empire is not in our nature.

I remember a Somali warlord rightly saying as much after the events depicted in the film Black Hawk Down (2001). To neoconned Americans of the imperial mindset, this was an insult. To leftist dupes, who think that imperialism is the final stage of capitalism, this made no sense. I took it as a compliment. We are republican by nature, not imperial. You can't have it both ways. Many of the problems we face as a country today are the result of going against our true nature.

Two quotes enshrined on this blog's sidebar come to mind. "I am often asked if I am a republican or a monarchist," said Archduke Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius of Austria. "I am neither, I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic." It is just as asinine to imagine America as an empire.

Said Congressman Ron Paul, "What we need is more confidence in ourselves, and a stronger belief in our traditions, so that we never are tempted to initiate force to make others live as we do. If we truly have an economic and political message worth emulating, our only responsibility is to set a standard that others will want to follow." Our traditions are republican in nature, and our people are isolationist by temperament.

To return to Mr. Sailer's point about America being "really, really bad at playing the Game," this paragraph in Ivan Eland's Ungrateful Allies comes to mind:
    Despite plundering their colonies at gunpoint (for example, the Spanish Empire looted the gold from Latin America) and creating sheltered markets for their goods overseas (for example, British mercantilism), even the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists. The informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective. U.S. forces cannot plunder, and rich allies, such as South Korea, excessively restrict their markets to U.S. goods and services.
Congressman Ron Paul and other libertarians understand this, and one populist figure, say what you will about him, also understands the folly of this arrangement, and the message is "resonating with many potential voters" — Donald Trump: Making Foreign Countries Pay Up. But that sentiment appeals not to our better angels; as does the message of Congressman Ron Paul, and as does Patrick J. Buchanan's thesis, summed up in his tome, A Republic, Not an Empire.

Thomas Fleming summed it up succinctly today, saying, "As a major power, the United States is an embarrassment, and its leaders are not so much evil as imbecilic" — Rule by Assassination.

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