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The American Empire
By Alan Caruba
The generation for whom the latter half of the last century represents their view of the world is now wondering about the world in which their grandchildren will live. It will be very different for a lot of reasons, but the most dramatic will be the American Empire.
It will be a world in which America doesn't merely participate in great issues and events, but dictates them. It will be a world in which the hope for worldwide democracy is no longer a sterile US foreign policy, but an active, militant one.
Historian Paul Johnson has written a commentary, "America's New Empire for Liberty", posted on the website of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. The notion that America has become an empire may be off-putting to some, but the reality of this is hard to ignore or refute.
When the President of the United States can travel halfway around the world to share a few hours with the frontline troops in Baghdad on Thanksgiving, it sends a signal to the Middle East and the rest of the world that he can move around at will, despite widespread opposition, even to the capital of a nation we liberated with the help of a "coalition of the willing."
A week or so earlier, he was in London where a desultory crowd of Euro-trash and British communists did their best to stage a march that fizzled with a turnout far below their predictions. In Europe, only France and Germany remain opposed to our Iraq invasion. At the United Nations, Bush has made clear that the US will not acquiesce to its politics of accommodation with despots. Bush is making sure that friend and foe alike is getting the message that our foreign policy has changed since 9-11.
A sea change has occurred and the attack on our home soil has forever changed our view of ourselves and of the historic mission of our nation. Historian Paul Johnson calls this a "defensive imperialism" that "specifically repudiates imperialism" as defined by the attempt of one nation to invade and control others, and replaces it with the realization that oceans and distance no longer provide protection against our enemies. We invade to protect ourselves and, in a larger sense, Western civilization.
This offers real hope at last to the billions of people around the world who are still in the grip of totalitarian regimes and petty despots like Saddam Hussein. It is an assertive policy that says the days of self-appointed monarchs like the House of Saud, the African strong men like Robert Mugabe, and others are numbered.
Johnson cites a number of reasons for this beyond the objective of self-defense. "America has the language of the twenty-first century." Just as Latin and Greek were the languages of past empires, "A more secure world will be legislated for, policed, and adjudicated in English."
Those of us who worry about our national sovereignty, challenged most significantly by the United Nations and world domination by the failed economic theories of communism and socialism, have watched and listened as President Bush clearly asserted that the United States will act alone or in combination with other freedom-loving nations to insure that our sovereignty is protected, along with theirs.
He has sounded the death knell of the United Nations as that penultimate imperialistic institution has demonstrated its unwillingness and inability to effect needed changes to advance freedom. The UN has proven so cowardly that a single attack on its Iraq headquarters caused it to immediately withdraw. Its various conferences have become the source of mockery as they pretend to address worldwide problems. Its unwillingness and inability to achieve its goal of world peace is a reminder of the failure of the League of Nations that followed WWI.
The "war on terrorism" is a war on militant, fanatical Islam. Even Muslim nations have concluded it threatens them as well. Despite being the religion of more than a billion people worldwide, Islam's future depends on its ability to adapt to the twenty-first century and, without an internal Reformation, its future is in question.
Another factor Johnson notes is the way "America's production of world wealth, both absolutely and relatively, is accelerating. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, it added $5 trillion to its annual GDP. By 2050 the US share of global output will constitute more than a quarter of the world total and will be as much as three times as big, for instance, as that of the European Union." Indeed, one only has to patiently wait for the EU to come to an inevitable end as it seeks to challenge American dominance. It will implode as its economic policies and political cohesion implodes.
This end is driven by demographics. "There is a marked and growing contrast between Old Europe and young America," says Johnson, "And the combination of accelerating technology and an expanding workforce will be irresistible in terms of economic and military power." The creation of the Department of Homeland Security is a reflection of the America's need to insure our ability to resist attacks from al Qaeda. Indeed, our presence in the Middle East has already reduced its ability to mount such attacks and have driven its leaders into hiding as they are hunted by every nation that has a stake in the success of the war on terrorism. "Dead man walking" is an apt description of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.
None of this could have been envisioned before 9-11. America sustained attacks on its troops and even its diplomats since the late 1970s and its former policies failed to deter those attacks. A renewed American optimism, combined with its new policies, is reflected in our economy and our willingness to destroy our enemies.
Changes are reflected here at home by our growing population. Unlike virtually every other nation, America not only has a high birth rate, but we absorb new immigrants on a scale that no other nation on Earth rivals. "By contrast," writes Johnson, Europe's population will shrink and the percentage of working age will fall rapidly." America, notes Johnson, "has never exported people overseas. On the contrary, its growing power and wealth have reflected its ability to attract and absorb immigrants." As the working populations of Japan, Russia, and the EU nations decline, ours is growing. Only Great Britain and Ireland will increase their working population by 2050. Little wonder that it is the most significant ally we have.
Lastly, the notion of an American empire, the nexus and exporter of democracy, was anticipated by its Founding Fathers. George Washington spoke of "the rising American empire" and Thomas Jefferson said that America was "an empire for liberty." Johnson, however, notes that America "will not share its sovereignty with anyone. It will continue to promote international efforts of proven worth" but "it will not allow the United Nations or any other organization to infringe on its natural right to defend itself as it sees fit."
Welcome to the dawn of the American Empire.
Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs" and his weekly
commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com,
the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2003
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