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Archive through October 03, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » The Monkey Hole » American Imperialism... it's time has come! » Archive through October 03, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Mogan_David
Posted on Thursday, October 3, 2002 - 6:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

The problem with the British Empire and the other classical colonial powers, is that the ruling party had little to no care about teaching the people they ruled over.




And why should they care. People take care of themselves first and then worry about others.
A foreign colony falls into the category of others.
Once the empire has extracted the resources from the colony and taken care of its internal issues only then would anything be given back to the colony. This is just human nature.

If you want an example of American imperialism you simply need to look at the Native American reservations.
Tristan_Ii
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 11:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Jackass being the operative word....

The problem that I usually run into with this arguement is that most folks figure it's some sort of racist thing, or my motivation is to oppress people.

It's in fact just the opposite.

The problem with the British Empire and the other classical colonial powers, is that the ruling party had little to no care about teaching the people they ruled over.

Picture this.... a process that takes a century or more, but when it's done, the people are proud of where they live, have a sense of themselves as a people, have a sound infrastructure, and experience in ruling themselves, starting from the very humblest of beginnings, and working their way up.

My friend (doesn't post here) sums it up best...

Perhaps they are self-determined to constantly live in an underdeveloped nation that is ruled by a succession of warlords and cabals who plunder the wealth and resources of that nation for personal gain while ignoring the needs of the people they "govern."
Who are we, as citizens of the finest and most developed of industrialized nations, to say these people can't live the way they want to live? Who are we to intrude upon their self-determined path and rob them of their right to live in squalor and oppression? Who are we to bring them the so-called “Fruits of Civilization,” like law, order, and equality among all citizens? Who are we to force our indoor plumbing and modern farming methods on these people who have self-determined their lives of abject poverty and subsistence farming?

I think he says it well..... but then again, he is my friend.


BTW, if aliens showed up that were truly benevolent, and only wanted to help us step up and become their equal as a spacefaring race, I'd be one of the first in line to sign up.
Nascentvirion
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 6:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I feel personally that we should leave other countries alone and fix what we have wrong in this country. There are so many things we should be doing here rather than forcing a bunch of people with donkeys and AK 47's into a government they really dont want. You can lead a jackass to water but you cant make it drink.
Pataphysician
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 12:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Anyway, George W. Bush would never go for it. Remember his campaign promise to never get involved in "nation building".
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

The people in these places, notably Somalia (seems to be the one most cited)had the chance to rule themselves. They failed.



So what, should Britain have swept in and re-claimed authority over us during our Civil War?

"Sorry, chaps. You had your chance..."

The right to self-determination is not something that you lose because your government messed up. Sure, the individuals involved may be held culpable, but you can't just take that right away from an entire people, and you CERTAINLY have no business doing it to their children.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 11:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

much, I'm sure, to their detriment.



Do you really think that we somehow have the magical means to improve the situations in these countries? Hell, we can't even improve the situation much in our own inner cities. Why? Because you are dealing with entrenched, complex social issues, including economic, religious, racial, ethnic and/or cultural factors, which will take generations, at best, to ameliorate.

Marshal Tito managed to pacify the Serbs and Croats and Chrisitans and Muslims in Yugoslavia by brute force, but he didn't SOLVE any of the problems. When the boot was lifted, it was 1914 all over again.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 11:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Hmmmm...Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan...



Yeah, but we USUALLY just send the CIA in to install a new dictator, and OCCASIONALLY send troops in to facilitate "regime change", but this is different from outright conquest. Afghanistan comes closest, I suppose, but that depends somewhat on how long we stay there.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 7:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Actually, this idea of the benevolent aliens I took from Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End".

What a great book! I particularly like the part

SPOILER ALERT!

when the aliens finally reveal themselves and they look like the mediaeval image of the devil.

So the devil figure was actually racial memory travelling back in time. Brilliant!
Pataphysician
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 7:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmm, "To Serve Man". Oh my god! It's a COOKBOOK!!
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 7:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

And let's suppose their superior technology is accompanied by a lot of attitude about how we're an inferior race, our primitive culture has failed us, we need to take lessons from the big boys, etc.

Even if it's true, I doubt we'd take it well.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 6:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tristan, let's look at a hypothetical example:

say a race of benevolent space aliens invade the USA. They have technologies that would improve immensely everybody's lives.

How do you think Americans would react? Do you think they would accept the improved standards of living as a trade-off for their freedom? Or would they take arms against the invaders?

What would YOU do?
Mogan_David
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 6:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Have you ever heard the term carpetbagger?

Americans can be trusted exactly as much as Germans or Russians.
Tristan_Ii
Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 1:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O, none of those countries are ruled by the US.... much, I'm sure, to their detriment.

The idea behind my Imperialism would be that, at least for the locally held offices, it would be the locals electing amongst themselves. The fact that the serious decisions would be made by US officials acts as a failsafe.

The people in these places, notably Somalia (seems to be the one most cited)had the chance to rule themselves. They failed.

And do you honestly want to tell me that John Q Africa would prefer the lawlessness and corruption and violence of today to a stable, peaceful, "2 chickens in every pot" life?

I somehow think you would be surprised.
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 3:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmmmm...Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan...
_Blackjack
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 3:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Of course, one of the primary elements making the US better than the Nazi's is that we don't usually go around using our military might to take over other countries without provokation. Usually. At least this century...
Pataphysician
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 1:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"And I'll argue to the ground that the difference between the Nazis and the Americans is VAST."

And I'd agree with you. The U.S. legal system and system of government (in theory if not practice) is the best. So I object to anybody advocating that we (the U.S.) adopt Nazi tactics and attitudes.

Frankly, I don't know if Americans are satisfied with their form of government. I think most of them are indifferent, really. What Americans ARE satisfied with is their standard of living, and they would do absolutely anything to anybody to maintain it.

The founding fathers would be horrified at the way we've let our economic system roll over the principles they so clearly laid out.
Chevalier
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 12:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Does anyone around here read THE ECONOMIST? At least for the witty captions under the photos? An issue several weeks back pointed out that Americans feel their system of government is the best in the world, period. Americans, while quite self-critical, are still the most patriotic people you'll find.

And I'm one of them. And I'll argue to the ground that the difference between the Nazis and the Americans is VAST. One hears relatively few Japanese complaining about the U.S. occupation of their country after WWII. Most Poles, on the other hand, have nothing but bitterness toward their Nazi overlords.

"The US has no ... right imposing its preferred system of government on foreign nations." Broadly speaking, it sure doesn't. But since Americans are content with an "American-style" constitution, bicameral legislature, system of common law, etc., they assume these processes would be good -- enlightening, even -- for other nations too.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 12:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"The Somalian culture had failed, so it's time to make a new one..... 20 years later, a stable, economically sound Somalia is ruled by an American educated government, and protected by the American Military."

The flaw is that the USA does not have the right to impose its own economic or political system on a foreign nation. This is a matter for the people of that nation to decide. Do not assume that all the people of the world want to (or ought to want to) live under a US style system. Remember that the Chilean people chose a Marxist government but Uncle Sam thought that he knew what was best for them (i.e. mass murderer General Pinnochet).

The US has no more right imposing its preffered system of government on foreign nations than Communist USSR had imposing its preferred system on much of Eastern Europe or Nazi Germany had imposing its preffered system on Western Europe.

Anyway sooner or later imperial powers are overthrown. People simply do not like to be ruled by outsiders and will not stand for it.
Pataphysician
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 11:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, let's plug a new word into the same equation, just to see how it sounds:

The NAZI military moves in in force, landing troops, armor, and air support. All who oppose THE NAZIS are put against the wall. Those warlords who attempt to fight are destroyed. The NAZI gov't sets up a framework based around NAZI protectorate status, and begins teaching civic responsibility on the NAZI model. The Somalian culture had failed, so it's time to make a new one..... 20 years later, a stable, economically sound Somalia is ruled by a NAZI educated government, and protected by the NAZI Military. Everyone is happy, save those who shirk at "NAZISM".
_Blackjack
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 10:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Where is the flaw?




Um, the right of people to determine their own government...?
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 10:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tristan, the main problem with your proposal is not that it is morally wrong. It's that it doesn't work. It has been tried before.

Africa is a good example. Under the European colonial powers, Africa was a success story. New technologies were introduced, there was an organized government, there were no famines (Africa was a NET FOOD EXPORTER! Africa!!!), by any measurement Africans were doing well.

Yet history has shown that people much rather put up with a corrupt tyrant and poverty than with a foreign invader.

Right or wrong, that's the way it is.
Pataphysician
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 9:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We have done this. Right here. In the 19th Century. They're called Indian Reservations.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 5:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Or the French in Algeria -- the mission civilatrice... worked so well, too...
Wolfgang
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 5:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well I guess that was the idea behind the roman empire...
Tristan_Ii
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 12:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ok, I have just thrown in the towel in a discussino with our local Hobgoblin. I admit it, the man is better researched than I.

So I figured I would pick a topic that I could defend purely on a theoretical basis.

Several times now, the US has stepped in to assist a region that has degenerated into lawlessness and anarchy. Somalia being a prime example, but there have been others.....

Somalia was the one that gave me the idea. See, the US forces were in place to try to stop a humanitarian catastrophe. And the thanks they got for it was to be attacked by the local warlords. When we attempted to arrest one, we got kicked in the shins. the President pulled the plug, and the region today is little changed from what it was before we got there.

Imagine a second scenario:

After US forces are pushed out of town, the US military moves in in force, landing troops, armor, and air support. All who oppose us are put against the wall. Those warlords who attempt to fight are destroyed. The US gov't sets up a framework based around american protectorate status, and begins teaching english and civic responsibility on the American model. The Somalian culture had failed, so it's time to make a new one..... 20 years later, a stable, economically sound Somalia is ruled by an American educated government, and protected by the American Military. Everyone is happy, save those who shirk at "Imperialism".

Where is the flaw? Why haven't we done this?

Somalia
Haiti
Afghanistan

I think it would work. Suggestions? Rebuttals?

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