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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/26/12

America: The World's Remaining Imperialist Power

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Message Sam Amer

When one thinks of imperialism, one usually thinks of the UK in its hey day when the sun never set on the British Empire. One would also think of France and its colonies in North Africa and South-East Asia, or the Netherlands and its Indonesian colony, or Italy with its Ethiopian colony, or even Spain and Portugal with their vast South American empires. These imperialist nations of the recent past used brute force to conquer and enforce their control over their colonies. They were quick to punish errant colonies by crushing any revolts therein, using their superior arms. They always needed to occupy the countries they colonized to maintain control and to ensure their hegemony over their hapless inhabitants.


Times have certainly changed. Nowadays, you don't need to physically keep military forces in colonized lands to suppress its peoples and control their destiny. You can achieve the same using other means. Some of the means used are obvious such as violent threats and political pressure and some not so obvious, using economic power. The imperialists still need to maintain superior military forces and show that they are ready to use them. This demonstrates, to both friends and foes alike, that they are not to be disobeyed. The colonizers also forge alliances with other like-minded countries, mostly ex-colonialists, to help them police their colonies and maintain their hegemony over them.


If we look at the United States today, one can easily see the prime example of the modern imperialist power, followed closely by its puppy Israel. The United States maintains the strongest and most advanced military in the world. It has alliances with like-minded countries in NATO and is forging similar ones in other parts of the world. Israel is also the strongest military power in its region. The United States and Israel frequently demonstrate their willingness to use military force to achieve their ends. The United States military budget is greater than that of the next fifteen nations combined. It has over 400 military bases spread all over the world and is capable of deploying those forces anywhere in the world within hours. It is willing to use, and has used, its military, to subdue other nations to its desires. Similarly, Israel's military budget is greater than the sum of the military budgets of all the countries that surround it. For Israel, attacks on its neighbors using its superior military power are incessant. Its colonization and complete subjugation of the Palestinians is legendary. For the US, the American-led wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Grenada, Cuba and Afghanistan come to mind. Both the United States and Israel are now threatening to start another war with Iran for no other purpose than to extend their hegemony over the entire Middle East. If this is not modern-day colonialism, I don't know what it is.


Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran never actually presented clear and identifiable security threats to the United States per se. The US, with its chorus of like-minded nations, is also applying severe economic pressure on Iran to make sure the Iranians do not develop nuclear weapons. This is done without much regard to the suffering of the Iranian people. This is a repeat to what the United States did with Iraq. The United States is determined to direct the much older and historic Persia on how to conduct its foreign policy, how to rule itself, what it can and cannot do, and how to administer its own economy. The United States does not see any conflict in that other nations such as France, the UK, Russia, India, Pakistan and even lowly Israel "etc. already have nuclear weapons. In the mind of the United States, Iran should not have nuclear weapons, period.


It is clear that the American attitude towards the rest of the world is in need of major examination. As it stands now, all other nations must implement the American view of world affairs. Otherwise, the Americans will attack militarily or otherwise. The United States has appointed itself the global leader and policeman. It assigned itself the prerogative of waging "preventive war'. By its trigger-happy behavior, the United States signals to other recalcitrant nations the fate awaiting them should they mess with Uncle Sam. The US and Israel have also established for themselves, targeted assassinations as the centerpiece of their national-security policies. They have given themselves the right to met punishment on those who dare disagree with them. They have acquired for themselves the legitimacy to place their forces on other people's lands without their consent. The Americans always have military bases close-by. They also have long-range aircraft, aircraft carriers, space weapons, drones "etc. that can be summoned in just minutes. Most of the offensive weapons that Israel uses is also US made.


In one-way or the other, the entire civilized world is America's colony. No country can assume any position contrary to that of the United States without severe punishment. It is the unwritten law. If Egypt, for example, dared to chart an independent course for it disapproved by the United States, US military aid would be immediately suspended, loans from the International Monetary fund and other financial sources would dry out and relations with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Kingdoms would be jeopardized. Just look at what happened to Iraq or what is now happening to Iran. The United States would not allow Palestine to even be recognized by the United Nations. Similarly, the Philippines, Japan, Belarus or any other country would not dare antagonize the United States. The economic, political and possibly military consequences would be unbearable. The only exceptions to the rule are the countries that are run by dictators or absolute monarchs. Those states are the natural allies of the United States since the opinions of the people living in those countries are important neither to their ruling despots nor to the United States. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf kingdoms are among the closet allies of America.


History tells us that colonialism cannot, and will not, last. Just look and the colonial powers of the recent past: Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain; they all lost their colonies and are now all struggling just to survive. The United States will soon follow; it is already on the way. In reality, Israel has no future in the Middle East. Such aggressive and self-serving posture cannot be maintained in the twenty-first century. Fully one fifth of the citizens in the United States cannot afford to buy food. Yet the US government is spending more and more on armaments and foreign wars. Allotments for military hardware and other expenses of the armed forces are increasing from year to year and use more and more of available resources.  This will undoubtedly increase the hold of the United States on its colonies while keeping a growing proportion of its citizens' poor and hungry.


Perhaps the United States should learn from history and focus more attention on controlling its imperial ambitions. We Americans need to show more respect for other cultures and let them to pursue their own ends and in their own way. If we choose to help them, our help should not be tied to bending them to our way. We can certainly use the resources we are spending on war misadventures to help poor Americans right here in the United States. The imperialist policies are, in the end, self-defeating. We need to remember that our imperialist policies are not without a price. Most observers believe that if we did not keep American forces on the ground in Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and Islamic terrorism against the United States would not have occurred.


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Retired Pharmacologist with two masters and a Ph.D.
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