Modern history has seen the various empires come and go, each having been the dominant military of its particular time enabling it to conquer and occupy the lands of others.
The Ottoman Sultans and Austrian Emperors, proud of their military prowess and ability to put down revolts, probably had difficulty imagining the extinction of their empires and their being reduced to Turkey and Austria, two small nations among a thousand others.
The sun never set on the Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish and English empires' occupations as they successively replaced each other as number one overseas European military power.
None were able to sustain their occupations (the northern part of Ireland and the Malvinas or Faukland Islands being the two large exceptions, remnants that will surely soon be freed from British control naturally).
Czarist Russia had managed better, for its conquered and occupied peoples were not overseas but neighbors, as was the case of the nascent imperial United States occupying the lands of nations native to North America.
The British were forced to leave India and China and were driven out of Kenya by requited homicidal violence against its vulnerable live-in exploiters. They were driven out of their American colonies two centuries earlier. The end of the fading French empire's occupations, rescued temporarily by the U.S., came with Laotian, Vietnamese and Algerian wars of independence.
The Deutsches Reich, and its collaborating Japanese Empire risen to first rank world power occupiers (thanks to American capitalist investment) usually lost control of occupied nations to popular partisan guerilla forces before the actual arrival of Allied troops.
The American empire's claim, "We seek no territory beyond our own,'' though hardly a political deception ever taken seriously abroad, served well at home to hail American exceptionalism as its armies roamed the earth and its merchant based society gained control of half the world's wealth and natural resources.
Today's U.S. wars of occupation and its having put most nations under its doctrine of right to bomb are evidence of an unproclaimed but murderously real American Empire of banking institutions and far flung world wide net of a hundred and seventy-five military installations.
From the seed of the appallingly ignorant racist pseudo philosophy of Manifest Destiny "justifying' a belligerent and primitive use of its navy, (as when Commodore Perry sailed into a Yokohama harbor and threatening to open fire), and its gunboats (on Chinese rivers and elsewhere) to force trade agreements, a nascent American commercial empire grew and converted itself into a more planted and seemingly permanent form of foreign hegemony beyond its intermittent occupations.
With its powerful military, the United States has managed to occupy nations at will throughout its history, witness the dozens and dozens of invasions and both short and long (decades long, in the case of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic), in Latin America, in the Philippines and recently in other Far Eastern and Middle Eastern countries.
But limitations on its use of military cropped up early on and have continued to augment themselves.
In the 1920s, it felt obliged to withdraw two U.S. armies from revolutionary Russia, and found it too troublesome to continue its occupation of the Dominican Republic.
In the 1930s, Roosevelt felt it wise to withdraw the Marines from a nineteen year occupation of Haiti to herald in his defensive "Good Neighbor" policy;
In the 1940s, the newly forming empire American bankers and captains of industry helped build boldly attacked the U.S. navy in both the Pacific and the Atlantic.
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