Fascinating little letter snipped put out by Dean Barnett over at Hugh Hewitt's place! The author of that letter clearly has this strange notion that any victory by America sets her on the march of global domination in a way never seen before and that America will rise up in Imperial clothes because of victory. What a strange notion! Let me give that letter snippet and then some thoughts on it:
It's simple: If the surge succeeds, then the president, the Republicans and the Democratic supporters won't learn any lessons. In the USA victory only makes you more arrogant. Today Iraq, tomorrow Iran, Thursday Dafur, Friday Pakistan, Sunday Beijing, etc... Success would bring us into a state of perpetual war until we make a truly deadly decision. Making the same mistakes each time.Yes that dreaded 'camel's nose under the tent until the place is full of them' concept in which America given the slightest smidgen of any victory suddenly makes her darting around the world to take it over. That was so true after the Barbary Wars, the Civil War, the Philippine-American War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Mexican-American War, World War I, bouts of 'gunboat diplomacy', the invasion of Haiti, World War II... why, America had not only taken over the world but had annexed quite a few number of other planets and celestial bodies and was well on her way towards total Solar System Dominion beyond the ken of mere Citizens to think of.
Or not, as the case may be.
That old 'one mistake leads to another' business is truly hard to fathom as America has never considered herself blameless in her activities and actually holds herself to her standards. That said, we also have the good grace to hold other Nations to that same standard and find them failing, more often than not, in providing things like human liberty, human freedom and the ability of a People to govern themselves in a democratic fashion. Mind you, the critics never take that little yardstick out as, if they did, they would have to conclude that even if America fails to meet such standards, most of the rest of the world doesn't even get to the half-way mark. Slowly that is changing, but it is hard to sell this idea of Individual Liberty in areas that only know authoritarian regimes, tyranny and despotism. And when those people actually *do* embrace such ideals they soon find themselves getting all sorts of troublesome 'help' by those wishing they would go back to tyrannical rulership concepts.
In truth actually winning a fight and having some pride in doing so and surviving is now seen as 'arrogance'! Yes, strange as that may seem, there are people who actually do wish that America would lose so continuously in any conflict of any sort anywhere... so as to extinguish the light of Liberty from her. Those that rise up in opposition to decry America from within are lacking one of the most vital things that they need to address: a better way FORWARD.
The United States does, indeed, look for democratic governance in areas where combat has taken place and victory has been achieved. That, perhaps, stems from this strange notion that it is the People of an area that should govern themselves, and not have to put up with these foolish folks that have no idea what it means to actually live where they are. America has been more than happy to help those folks figure it out for themselves, and when they told us that they have, to then leave them to it.
I know: perish the thought!
Something like this did take awhile in the Philippines, where, after 1901, the handover in power only came after much nasty fighting against insurgents for a decade or so, until Congress actually established how to finally ensure that local governance could take over. Throw in a couple of world wars, having to recapture the place from an expanding Empire and a global depression and 1946 gets you that far. Finally figuring out democracy completely to get out from a corrupt government took a bit more, but by the 1990's that was done and the US was asked to vacate the place. Which we promptly did... and then returned to help with disaster relief for a bit, and now send advisors and such so they can now handle their new/old insurgency problem!
So Imperial, that, isn't it?
In Haiti, because of all sorts of goings-on at home, even after trying to build infrastructure and such, the US finally had to leave admitting that trying to actually *help* there was a foolish thing. In 1934. That only took us 19 years to figure out, by that point, but the Nation was busy in many areas. Considering the years just after 1915, that would be *extremely* busy, to tell the truth.
Actually, as Empire-modes go, the United States refuses to do the one thing that is absolutely, positively required to have any sort of Empire at all: create a Constabulary Force. That means to have an entire force structure, separate from the regular Armed Forces, that is made to administer captured territory. The United States doesn't do that and prefers to look towards its Citizen Soldiers as those most capable of winning a fight and then figuring out how to hand the place back to the locals. We do get some problems trying to achieve that, however, and only now, in Japan, some 60 years and more after defeating the Japanese Empire, have the locals decided they can do without any US military presence there! Blindingly fast compared to the Philippines. Germany, however, still has 115,000 or so US troops stationed there (plus or minus due to activities), so maybe, some day, they will finally get a democratic government, a properly created and accountable military and then ask us to leave.
They have those?
Those poor dears, not yet ready to reach political maturity and step out of the shadow of America, yet. Well, it is a comfy place to be with that lovely umbrella of American Forces that spend all that lovely hard currency at local shops and stores and such... I am quite sure that their economy will recover from the war.... *someday*.
Other than that, it is very hard to see this 'Imperial America' nonsense as we much prefer NOT to take places over because of the immense headaches involved in such. Far, far better to teach the folks some rudiments of democracy, a bit of how to put an accountable military together and then help out as needed as things move along. I mean if you aren't even used to *having* political parties, then multi-party elections where folks get to *decide* who they want to govern them can take a bit to get across. Especially if America doesn't have any candidates involved. Such a strange conqueror, is America! Blithely letting people do things on their own! Well, we do like to talk with them... or often at them, depending upon how friendly things are or are not, but only when push comes to shove do things get nasty.
Now the Defeatocrats have been going on about America's wrong decisions in Iraq since... well, goodness, it has been awhile now, hasn't it? The numbers that were being bandied about by the various parts of the press and such were just not to be believed on how many dead within such a short period of time, hundreds of thousands forced into neighboring Nations, mass starvation on a scale not witnessed before... Thanks to Tim Blair and the Media Research Center for highlighting those things before various media agencies took them down.
That hasn't even gotten us to the infamous lack of Civil War in Iraq that has been famously not going on for years. Yes, predictions for that started in 2002 and just went on and on from there. Strange how everyone wants to call it a Civil War and then change the MEANING of Civil War to fit what they see instead of the other way around. Unlike the rest of the world that is stuck actually having to define things by what they are, not by what we *wish* them to be. Even worse is not even understanding what it takes to *have* a Civil War and run one.
Yes, much in the way of Free Dumb Looks for those folks.
So where does that leave us with those worried that America will suddenly turn all Imperial and Militaristic and suddenly have the Nikes of America festooning every closet in the world... save those aren't made in America anymore, are they?
But these worrywarts do over look the one, vital and critical part of all of this, that really does undermine everything they worry about. And what is that?
America is the Do Nothing Nation and we prefer that other people do things for themselves and not EVER bother us.
And no other Nation compares to the United States in that, either.