I really object to the argument that the US is an empire. It has not gone around the world establishing colonies and shipping out settlers to them. Nor has it gone around conquering various parts of the world and incorporating them into something like the British empire.
I also think the idea that militant religion dooms empires is a bit ridiculous. My impression from reading a lot of history is that empires frequently fall at the hands of other empires.
And besides, what about the Islamic empire? That was an empire that was completely fueled by religious fanaticism.
The definition of the word "empire" is as follows:
A political unit having an extensive territory or comprising a number of territories or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority
By this definition, the US is an empire. And for the record, the US has gone around conquering various parts of the world and incorporating them. Here are some examples in no particular order: Most of Texas Alaska Hawaii Midway Islands Puerto Rico American Samoa US Virgin Islands Federated States of Micronesia Marshall Islands Northern Mariana Islands Palua Guam
This is not to mention acts of American agression abroad in numerous countries such as: Korea Vietnam Afghanistan Iraq and numerous others
The US may not have been as extensive as the British empire, but it is still an empire. An objection to this would be ridiculous.
Thank You! That first person probably watches Bill O'Reilly everyday, subscribes to Reader's Digest, and can't imagine life without American Idol. . . It's important to remember that a political entity does not necessarily have to have possession of a physical territory to assume control. That is to say, by subjugating foreign economies (like that of Africa) to its own, America has its thumb in just about every pie it can. . . Other ex. of arrogant American aggression include Latin America in general (talk to Salvador Allende's ghost or the Sandinistas of Nicaragua), Canada (talk to Marc Emery), and here at home: blacks, poor people, "illegal" immigrants, doctors. . .to name a few. You were right on N. Jan, except for the way you spelled ignorance:)
that first post is so unbelievable my mouth dropped open. There are many books this person should read, but I highly recommend Gore Vidal's Perputual War for Perpetual Peace. In this very short book, Mr. Vidal offers a table illustrating every recorded act of US agression in the history of our country. The rest of the book may be considered an editorial, but this one section (towards the middle) is irrefutable empirical data. I urge you to buy a cheap used copy of this paperback book, and pass it along when you're finished.
We might not plant our flag in as many places as the British did, but we do control it nevertheless. Seventeen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, our military still has bases all over the world, our state department decides which rulers control which countries, etc., etc.. The United States is the largest empire the world has ever known.
...over one thousand places around the world in which we conduct intelligence gathering and/or have a military presence. We don't need to fully occupy the world in the traditional sense to be an empire in the modern world.
Suggest reading Chalmer Johnson's "Empire of Sorrows" in lieu of just your bible.
Perhaps it would be better to think of empire as a state of mind, rather than a collection of territories. Looked at it in those terms, the present administration's actions seem perfectly suited to the old ideas of empire that were evident in the heyday of the British hegemony, or even earlier, in the Roman or Greek empires. It's a mindset, and a dangerous one.
Which Islamic empire are you talking about? Are you referring to the Ottoman Turks? That period of rule in the Muslim world, which was quite extensive in its reach, was actually quite respectful and inclusive of the religions practiced in conquered areas. As long as you paid your taxes (which were often a little higher for non-Muslims), you were left alone, and actually many non-Muslims contributed to Ottoman society in various ways, all the way up to serving as advisors and diplomats. Ironically, for hundreds of years particularly during the European dark ages, the Muslim world was usually more welcoming of Jews, for example, than Christian Europe. There are exceptions of course. The first that comes to my mind are the Almohads in medieval Spain, but as history proves, religious fanaticism can and has cropped up in all religious groups at many different points in history to contrast against the more open-minded members of said religion.
Point being, there isn't/wasn't one Islamic empire just as there was one Christian empire. Please get your facts straight.
Other people have already addressed the US as empire thread.
Heh, don't forget Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Cuba ... actually, a frighteningly large number of Central and South American countries. I know you wrote "and numerous others" at the end, but I think a lot of Americans forget or just never learn the extent of US involvement in our neighbors' business in the past.
While I take issue with the US being compared to Rome, I have not problem with it being called an empire in the strict definition of the word. Comparing it to Rome is complete lunacy as we do not have a single person at our head who calls himself/herself God and truly has absolute power.
I know, some nutcases out there will say that George Bush is just that, but they are as foolish as the nutjobs who thought Bill Clinton should be removed from office for deviant (or not so deviant anymore) sexual behavior. I wish both sides would start being sane humans and understand that most of the people on both sides really are decent human beings who want a better world.
The reality is that the US is an empire and, I'm sure, many conqured nations would think it an evil empire. I can't help but feel some remorse for how my ancestors treates the Indians, Mexicans and others, but today, we are doing much good in the world (I'm not speaking of war - I'm speaking of the billions we pour into the economies of other countries) and hopefully we will continue to exist for a very long time and will continue to "do more better and less badder" as my little boy would say.
Um...have you heard of all the military bases we have on every continent? (The presence of the bases we have in Saudi Arabia is one of the reasons Bin Laden declared a holy war against America.) Our military spending dwarfs all other nations. In addition, American culture invades other countries to an astonshing degree. Are there any countries left in the world that don't have at least one McDonald's? I'd call that an empire.
Please! The U.S. is NOT an empire? I suppose the former Soviet Union wasn't an empire either! With a military presence in close to 50 countries, control of the world finance (IMF, World Bank), veto power on the U.N. Security Council, and multi-nationals that are brimming with profits at the expense of their host popluations, how in the world could you say the U.S. is NOT an EMPIRE? A nation doesn't have to 'colonize' another people to rate empire status (although the 3+ years of occupation in Iraq are starting to look colonial). Economic, as well as domestic subservience fit the bill well in regards to world hegemony.
I suggest you find another definition of the word empire that's a little more complete.
I agree, but look at coporate and cultural type imperalism rather than being barbaric in the sense you are talking about, but also look at cia coups of argentina, indonesia, and Iran. They were dictators who tortured thousands installed by are very compassionate corporatist loving country.
We are indeed an empire. Beyond the examples listed above, let's not forget about our repeated overthrowing of governments we did not like for some reason or another -- Arbenz in Guatamala, Mossadegh in Iran, Sukarno in India, Allende in Chile, Ortega and the Sandanistas in Nicaragua, etc., etc. Of course, behind much of this stands the School of the Americas. Nor should we forget the military, naval and air bases we foist on other countries, sometimes with the payoff of dangling trinkets of foreign aid. Also, speaking of dangling trinkets, you cannot overlook the use of the IMF and World Bank as agents of economic imperialism. I'd argue that, contrary to the post to which I am responding, that through a combination of direct and indirect control, our empire is just as extensive if not more so than Britain's.
As far as occupation goes, there are plenty of examples of America colonizing. Japan's modernization after 1868 and through WWII is a great example of Western ideas. The Harris Treaty was the document that basically pried the Japanese economy open so that the US could fully exploit them (http://wwwa.britannica.com/eb/article-9039352?hook=29816). And then there was America's continued involvement with Japan after WWII--demanding surrendar and then MacArthur and SCAP going in and completely reworking their government and economy to create soothing democracy. In fact, Wikipedia cites about twelve AMERICAN military facilities still in Okinawa. I would say that the US has a pretty impressive defense net cast over the entire world.
On another note, "Maskirovka," I encourage you to share with us what history books you've read to develop the opinion that "empires frequently fall at the hands of other empires."