Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Imperialism Is Not Merely Irritating

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/12/09

- Advertisement -

Tom Engelhardt tells us, in a well written piece titled


 "Obama Officials Talk About Countries Like They Own Them -- Anyone Else Think That's Strange?"-




"It's the norm for U.S. civilian and military leaders to say about what other countries "-must do'; that's called imperial attitude"-



This, he feels, is not such a good idea.
" For all our kindly talk about how the poor Pakistanis just can't get it together democracy-wise, the U.S. has a terrible record when it comes not just to promoting democracy in that country, but to really giving much of a damn about its people." "And this brings us to perhaps the most extreme aspect of the mentality of our national security managers -- what might be called their empathy gap. They are, it seems, incapable of seeing the situations they deal through the eyes of those being dealt with." They take it for granted that America's destiny is to "engineer" the fates of peoples half a world away and are incapable of imagining that the United States could, in almost any situation, be part of the problem, not a major part of its solution." I have no argument with Mr. Engelhardt, whom I admire greatly--except one.  He does not go nearly far enough, and in this failure runs the risk of distracting people from awareness of how truly serious this "empathy" gap may be. Imperialism is not merely irritating, as his article suggests, it  may be just plain dangerous, for us. Apparently it isn't politically correct on the Left to suggest that those we bother cannot effectively bother us back.  Mr. Engelhardt in fact, makes fun of the idea. He also ignores the fact that ongoing imperialism (the difference between Obama and Bush in this regard may not be all that great) has a much darker side than merely attempting to control foreign powers. To all in the world but us, it appears that our powers-that-be study George Orwell's 1984 as a blueprint for the future. Too many people, not enough energy; too little water, too much anger; etc. -- much easier to let people die than to include them. They're overpopulating anyhow--no need to explore  how our undermining the natural development of their societies may have contributed to this condition.

- Advertisement -

What no one will discuss openly, it seems,  is whether imperialism is in fact merely Machiavellianism, clumsy but doable; or social pathology. Can imperialism keep us safe at terrible cost? Or is it likely to bring cataclysm upon us all?  Mr. Engelhardt may well regard this suggestion as contributing to a kind of hysteria he rightly deplores, but I perceive more than enough evidence to  suggest that it needs to be seriously addressed by the best minds in the land. 

- Advertisement -


David Weiner has been a sociology professor, high school teacher, community organizer, and anti-racism activist for more than half a century. Nowadays he teaches sociology and social psychology at a community college.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Great Game in the Middle East

Imperialism Is Not Just Immoral, Either

Imperialism Is Not Merely Irritating

Reading Howard Zinn

Are We Creating a Global Death Culture?

What can a young citizen do?


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Society, it goes into chaos. That chaos could caus... by Starla Immak on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 11:01:37 AM
During Britain's heyday as a great imperial po... by Archie on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 1:38:24 PM
Even the US is ripe for imperial picking.  Ob... by Philip Dennany on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 2:10:40 PM
"Mr. Engelhardt may well regard this suggesti... by William Whitten on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 3:52:35 PM