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Sunday, March 27, 2005

U.S. Expansionism: Recipe for Disaster

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s poor-man’s-equivalent of a Bill O’Reilly, starts off a recent piece with the statement “war leads to peace.”

By now most will quickly recognize the Orwellian context of such a statement.

But this is a sign that Bush’s apologists are becoming less ingenious in their methods as they continue to bludgeon the American people with a nervous PR campaign defending the war in Iraq (and what they hail as its results in the region). As they become even less sure about any “exit strategy” they are simultaneously conditioning the American people that there is no exit strategy because the United States has no plans of making an exit. The people of the Middle East have been suspicious of this all along, yet no one (at least on the record) wants to admit that U.S. forces in the region are facing a guerrilla insurgency of unflagging resolve. Years from now it will be much harder to convince anyone that our interest in the region is about anything except oil.

That this war was (and is) an illegal one based on treaties signed by the United States seems to matter very little to the Bush cheerleaders. My main concern is that when the dust settles we are not going to be living in the same America that I know and love. We’ll be living in an America that has finally concluded that the expansion of our economic interests is all that ultimately matters—those who get in the way of this process will be crushed. It will be easier to crush those who oppose the U.S. expansionism living outside the United States but a little more difficult to silence war critics living in the United States, i.e., U.S. citizens.

All this reminds me of the record left by Tacitus of the latter days of the Roman Empire—Rome toward the end was surrounded on all sides by an increasingly hostile world. Expansionism breeds discontent among neighbors. Some expansionism of course is necessary to the health of the state. Populations grow, jobs are created, territory is explored, lands conquered. Many would argue that the United States has some responsibility to somehow enlighten the peoples of the world and teach them the democratic/capitalist processes to create some business interest that would lead to more cooperation and less disparity among the nations of the world. Underlying any effort in this direction would be an effort to gain the upper hand. Thus, by outward appearances, attempts made by the United States to lend a helping hand to developing nations only leads to further resentment. Therefore, the United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place in a world where, increasingly, the efforts of the European Union and China are undercutting American gains. This situation will only become worse as America’s self-reliance wanes. Jobs are being outsourced at an alarming rate. China is becoming the leading economic and military force in the world. The U.S. military is the most technologically advanced in the world, true, but with sheer force of numbers the Chinese military is a force that would prove almost insurmountable.

Saddam Hussein is locked up and that’s a good thing; this goes without saying.

What we are left with is the glaring fact that military might is only part of the equation. Whether or not the middle east is moving toward democracy and whether or not freedom is “on the march” is only a small part of the equation. We, since the invasion of Iraq, are on a collision course with some destiny that none can really reckon. The United States has moved into uncharted waters with the Bush administration at the helm. They would do well to realize that history provides many examples for those who would forgo liberty for the sake of empire. The Romans toward the end of their period of reckless expansionism realized to late that it is better to be loved than feared.

Mr. Bush, tyrants have few friends on this earth and their legacies are quickly forgotten. The United States, no longer separated by geographic distance or oceans, is in lock-step with a quickly changing world. Unless our foreign policy starts spreading some real prosperity around the world very soon, we will realize too late that our imperialist tendencies are only ensuring our downfall. Spreading real prosperity doesn’t happen at gunpoint.

Joe Scarborough at MSNBC is myopic to the point of absurdity making the claim that our foreign interests are best served by waging some perpetual war against all the nations of the world. Show some sincerity and intelligence, Joe. The propaganda is wearing thin. Of course it’s in the best interest of the United States if a wave of democracy spreads throughout the Middle East. But is that what’s really happening? The United States has neither the resources nor the will to become the world’s perpetual police force. Have you seen the size of the current budget deficit? You don’t seem too worried about it, Joe. Y’know Emerson wrote an interesting piece called "Self-Reliance" perhaps you should read it. Reading it may help you. Or maybe not.

The powers that be don’t "read too good" do they?

We need real, charismatic leadership to restore faith in America among our allies. Why is it that the United States has to fight tooth and nail to forge alliances with our traditional allies to fend off groups of bloodthirsty terrorists? Gaining support for this should not be difficult. Why is it?

It’s because it’s all too obvious to the informed observer that the Neo-Cons are not so worried about America’s safety they’re merely worried about their own bank accounts.

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