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Is America an Empire?

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posted on Sep, 5 2005 @ 06:52 PM
Is America an Empire? The geniuses who created the 5WH (who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, and how?) system allow for a well-organized skeletal system for an efficient analysis of any problem or solution, past, present, or future.

In the English Lanquage, I believe it is not an empire, although other nations and languages may believe so.

When is it appropriate, if appropriate at all, to attempt to become an empire?

What would happen to U.S. human life expectancy if it became an empire (a forecast model through 1,000 years)? World human life expectancy?

posted on Sep, 5 2005 @ 07:03 PM
Could you rephrase that, I'm not quite sure exactly what your asking, I will however answer the question that is the name of the thread.

An empire is a system of government in which an emporer or emporess is the supreme ruler of the land, and holds that position there whole life, and gain that position by birth, so no, America is not an empire, it is a corrupt democratic republic though.

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 01:09 AM
America is like a huge prison, people have to wake up and relize the world around them isnt what it seems, i think it is not an empire but more of a corrupt monarchy....

posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 02:48 AM
Well people like mark twain seemed to think it was back in 1900's already.

They formed the Anti-imperialist league in responce to the US invasion of the philippines in 1890 something.

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 06:14 PM
All major powers are, in a sense, empires. An empire is essentially a network of foreign interests, often directly controlled but sometimes autonomous, through which a nation meets needs which can not be met domestically. This could mean access to resources, trade routes, markets, or positions of strategic military importance for the defense of either the nation or it's external interests (its empire).
Therefore if a nation holds considerable influence or direct control over any foreign territory, it is an empire.

The United States is an empire because it holds military superiority over several strategic foreign locations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and various pacific islands.
The United States is an empire because it has in the past annexed previously sovreign lands adjoining it and even remote from it by purchase, conquest, or consent of recently independent republics (as technically the case with Texas), and continues to administrate over non-annexed territories and possessions as well.
The United States is an empire because it maintains privlidged military access to strategic locations in sovreign nations such as South Korea and Japan.
The United States is an empire because it exerts economic and political influence over technically sovreign "allies" which have little choice in the matter. This is a very broad and arguable aspect of imperialism which catches most nations, and presents the interesting situation where a given small nation can fall under the sway of multiple empires at once. Many nations in Africa fit this description.

Under those criteria above, virtually every European nation is an empire. Most maintain foreign possessions, most maintain military bases abroad for the protection of trade routes and economic interests, most exert influence over weaker nations to secure their access to economic interests abroad.

Economically speaking, China could be argued to be one of the most expansionist empires in the world today.

Russia is an empire, if granted a decaying one. They claim disputed islands in the Pacific, they maintain influence over sovreign nations in Central Asia.

The real question is whether or not there is anything inherently wrong with imperialism. Most would probably agree that it empires should not be coercive in achieving their aims, especially where expansion by military means is concerned (although I might find a little grey area there even). When it comes to economic imperialism however, I believe that you have to judge it by its fruit. In cases where "imperialism" brings industry to undeveloped areas while producing a boon to the "empire's" economy, what's so awful about it?

posted on Oct, 10 2005 @ 11:44 PM
I would say we're an empire, though I much prefer that we be a constitutional republic and cut out the interventionist stuff.

I'm an isolationist.

posted on Oct, 11 2005 @ 01:52 AM
With all due respect, I do not believe in isolationism, because no one person can choose to be isolated, unless of course they are really good at hiding. Otherwise, everybody else has to agree to let you be isolated. Ask the Chinese about this.

I see the question not as one of whether or not to be isolated, but whether to fight abroad, or at home. Homefield advantage isn't all it's chalked up to be. I'd much rather fight abroad.

Not to pick at you, just offering a little prompt for discussion.

[edit on 11-10-2005 by The Vagabond]

posted on Nov, 21 2005 @ 09:19 PM
The USA is not an empire in the exact form that we saw in the 19th century. Today we spread McDonald's, capitalism, american culture not the christian religion and we don't directly conquer backwaters we export our culture to them, eventually making the USA a global empire, if we succeed in spreading our culture far and wide. We also influence minor countries into fully aceeding to our wishes, for the right sum of money of course.

If this is imperialism it is a very stealthy kind indeed.

Also, isolationists remind me a bit too much of the concept of burying one's head in the sand and if I can't see the problem it doesn't exist. This is fundamentally wrong as humans are social creatures and must interact with each other. Indeed if we turned completely inwards where would all the oil come from.

posted on Nov, 21 2005 @ 09:24 PM
After the Spanish-American war the United States was at its empire height. After World War Two this changed.

posted on Nov, 21 2005 @ 09:38 PM
we only have bases in other countries because we beat them in wars and they let us stay there. you really cant call iraq an imperialist move yet because its only one country. now if our leaders decided to go after more then i'd say yes it is an empire

posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:41 AM

Originally posted by KrazyIvan
we only have bases in other countries because we beat them in wars and they let us stay there.

Well in general that is correct for example we just completed our pull out of Uzbekistan and we left the Philippines when we were told to move it along. However their is one exception to that rule. I believe Cuba has wanted us out of Guantanamo for over 40 yrs and we still haven't left.

As whether the US is an empire the best comparison I have been able to find is the Roman Rebublic (you know before the empire) I mean they were powerful not only militarily but also politically economically and culturally. And they had a form of representative government which also had a fair amount of money running through it. So I just like to call us the New Rome

posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 01:52 AM
I really agree with The Vagabond definition of the American empire except for the statement that every European Nation is an Empire. Sure they were at one time but not now and they are so much better off for it.
Crazy Ivan, You post saying that we have bases in other countries beacuse we beat them in wars is so naive. Check out he number of bases we have around the world

89 countries , 13 million square miles and counting The reason for this is higly complex, though economics and trade sanctions come into mind.
Of course America is an Empire every super powe on earth has been why would this one be any different?
This is a title of a Gore Vidal book and I feel it realtes to Americas international influence perfectly
America didn't want the cold war to end And they dont want the war terroism to end. Like it or not war feeds our economy and existence.

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 09:24 PM
I should have qualified my assertion that most European nations are empires. There are many nations in Europe which have lost major wars and/or been released from foreign occupation in just the last 60-100 years, and they obviously are not in any position to be empires on the level Britain or France.

It doesn't take foreign possessions to be an empire though, although several European nations do hold them- (and we're not just talking about uninhabited islands along major commercial routes or small territories off the coasts of the nations who hold them. We're talking about distant strategically important locations with reasonably high populations).

Strong undue influence which prejudices a nation or a regime against its rational sovereign interests, or which encourages preferential dealings with one nation over another, is a mild form of imperialism.
When you undertake military operations to destabilize nations which rival those which deal favorably with you, that's definately imperialistic.
When support military surrogates in strategic locations, that's imperialistic.

Russia arms Venezuela, France destroyed Cote d'Ivoire's airforce for the benefit of Burkina Faso, Germany and France armed and diplomatically supported Iraq for preferential economic dealings, Britain follows America around plundering what we plunder and raping who we rape, then there are foreign territories to consider:

Denmark retains Greenland and the Faroe Islands- strategically important to the North Atlantic.

France retains numerous islands in the South Pacific, West Indies, and South America, the later two areas being important strategic anchors in the event of trouble in the Caribbean, South America, or even the United States.

The Netherlands still controls the Antilles and Aruba.

The British Indian Ocean territory includes the famous Diego Garcia, which hosts US military forces to work in cooperation with Britain in the middle east.

Like I said, there's nothing inherently wrong with being an empire; you judge it by its fruits. Being taken under a fair and benevolent empire's wing can be the best thing that ever happened to a territory, but its still imperialism.

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 04:04 PM
I think your right in saying that being an empire isn't an inherently bad thing. Look at Rome they lasted about 500yrs as a republic then another 500yrs as an empire. And in modern times look at the American overseas empire that developed between 1898 and 1955. Take Japan basically still a medieval society until 1945 and after a generation of American led reforms they became argueably the most modern society on earth. Take India under British leadership a large collection of warring kingdoms with despotic rulers was turned into a powerful united nation with a great democratic tradition.

posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 07:38 PM
An empire is a situation in which one country dictates terms to other countries for the dictating country's benefit.

Somebody mentioned the Roman Republic. Good example. This shows, first that an empire doesn't have to be a monarchy, and secondly that imperial control doesn't have to be asserted through direct annexation and administration. Some Roman provinces were directly governed, but Rome also controlled territories through "client kings" -- monarchs who administered their own affairs, but were bound by treaties to pay tribute to Rome and to follow Rome's lead in foreign policy.

If we recognize any nation with an analogous relationship to the U.S. as being in effect a "client kingdom" -- or client dictatorship, which is more common nowadays -- then we should conclude that the American Empire includes:

All of Latin America except Cuba

All of the Middle East except Iran

Much of sub-Saharan Africa

Most Pacific island nations (although I'm no longer sure about the Philippines)

All of Southeast Asia except Vietnam (and we're working on them)

Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan, all are outside the U.S. empire without being hostile to us. Yet they're all gray areas; as the world's mightiest power, we exert a lot of influence on them, but they do sometimes defy us in terms of foreign or trade policy, and that level of independence means they aren't really imperial possessions. Going back to Rome again, an analogous country would perhaps be Egypt. Throughout the Republic, Egypt was independent of Rome, yet Rome intervened several times to control which Ptolemy was on the throne in Alexandria, and at one point annexed the Egyptian island of Cyprus -- without going to war. So Egypt was in an inferior position, but was still not an imperial possession or client kingdom.

It was also asked whether an empire was a good or bad thing. That's a difficult question, and the only answer is: both.

Empires reduce the instance of internal wars, and can bring peace across borders that would otherwise be warlike. However, they also tend to promote wars at the empire's borders that might otherwise not happen.

Empires drain subject territories of resources and wealth. However, if the empire is substantially more advanced than the subject nation, the subject nation can gain a long-term benefit. Good example: India. Subjugated by the British Empire for over a hundred years, exploited and plundered, India gained two things it had never had before as a direct result, nationhood and democracy. Until winning its independence from Britain, India had never been a unified nation, but rather a conglomeration of independent and frequently warring small monarchies.

So India did gain a huge benefit from having been part of the British Empire. Nevertheless, I think it's safe to say that most Indians have no inclination to return to British rule. They also paid a high price for that gain.

For the imperial nation, empire carries a high monetary cost which exploitation of the subject territories may or may not cover. For a democracy, it also carries a subtler penalty. Empire and democracy do not mix. Empire is always imposed by force, not by the consent of the governed, and is in and of itself a violation of democratic principle. A nation cannot simultaneously practice it and be true to those principles. Empire requires the maintenance of powerful standing military forces, breeding a military culture separate from the civilian culture, and always a potential threat to civilian rule. Empire results in a flood of wealth into the imperial nation, which enriches its people disproportionately, and the consequent empowerment of a wealthy elite compromises popular sovereignty.

The fall of an empire almost always means war. We saw that after the breakup of the Soviet Union. If the U.S. were to cease being an empire, the resulting international power vacuum would almost certainly lead to many wars. At the same time, of course, wars deliberately pursued by the U.S. for imperialistic purposes, such as the current fiasco in Iraq, would cease. On balance, though, history shows that war would increase, not decline.

The international structure has always been dominated by empires, ever since it became technologically feasible to build one. The results have been mixed, but certainly there have been many bad ones for all concerned.

What kind of international structure could exist other than empires? I think that's worth thinking and talking about.

posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 11:27 PM
One Step Forward asks a good question about other potential systems.

The way I see it, modern imperialism operates on disparity in currency value. If corporations in Country A(merica) can exploit the poverty of Country B to get the material to make widgets very cheaply, then get the widgets assembled in Country C just as cheaply, then sell them all back in Country A and Country D at a huge profit, naturally they will, so Country A will be doing great, Country D will be doing pretty good, but Countries B and C have their workforce working for peanuts on export commodities, so they can't too many imports and they can't buy everything they need domestically because their economy is built on producing export luxuries.

Except for items which can't be obtained in this manner, the general rule seems to be that you import from poorer nations and export to richer ones, which generally establishes a rule of economic exploitation that could be considered imperialistic.

There are good examples in East Africa- what the hell is a country like Ethiopia doing growing coffee???

I think the alternative would be some sort of binding international law on economic communities that would restrict such predatory trade practices and forcing nations to trade within a certain range of economic parity.

For example- let's say that within a region you have an assortment of countries. Some have high populations, maybe ports, and some capacity for generating electricity, but are starving. Others have the potential to generate plenty of food, but don't have the infrastructure to maximize crops or to export. Others have oil or natural gas. Others have metals and cement.
You need foreign investment as a catalyst, but if those investments are regulated so as to be channeled to the right industries, you can build an exchange between those nations which is far more beneficial to them that trading with wealthier nations.
Electricity for manufactured goods, manufactured goods for food, food for oil and natural gas. You don't get the same kind of massive payout for the elites, but you raise the overall quality of life, employ the population, and lay the foundation of an economy which will eventually begin to payout in the long term.

There's only one little problem- it requires governments to serve the people instead of following the money. Also to accomplish it reasonably quickly would require a fairly low yield (at least in the short term) foreign investment.

In the end, I think the greatest barrier to a purpose-driven economy (the purpose theoretically being to ensure adequate production of necessities) is land ownership.

If the farmer grows all of the grain that becomes bread and beer, and obviously doesn't take nearly as much of those comodities as he enables the production of, why is it that he can't afford enough bread and beer and still have plenty of surplus income for other needs?
Well, the farmer has to pay for his land, as do the baker, brewer, and other producers, which creates markups.
On the national level military spending is one of several good analogies to the mortgage payment- a healthy portion of what is produced is channeled into the production of military goods that are not inturn put into circulation, but instead stagnate until they are needed, and even then rarely produce a profit.

There's the catch .22. Social land ownership would seem to be the answer, with a form of one-world socialism (using the term generically, not specifically referring to any one system as it would take a great deal of consideration to determine the particulars) being the cure for imperialism, but historically socialism, especially in the form of communism (granted there are differences) has not been very effective, and in fact in many cases has acted as a massive "mortgage payment" at the expense of the citizen but to the benefit of the "landlord" (government).

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