Mass-Producing Huddled Masses

Inscribed on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is a poem by Emma Lazarus titled “New Colossus.” The sonnet waxes lyrical about how different the Green Goddess is from ancient colossal statues, and how that symbolizes the contrast between American ideals and those of empires since antiquity. The Statue of Liberty is: “Not like … Continue reading “Mass-Producing Huddled Masses”

Who’s Profitting From America’s Empire of Bases?

Every now and then, news about U.S. military bases abroad actually gets a little attention.  The most recent example: Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s announcement that the U.S. will be able to keep nine bases after the 2014 withdrawal of its combat troops.  (“‘They want nine bases… across the country, in Kabul, Bagram, Mazar, Jalalabad, Gardez, Kandahar, Helmand, … Continue reading “Who’s Profitting From America’s Empire of Bases?”

Lawless: An Oddly Exceptional Empire

Many empires have risen and fallen over the course of recorded history. All were created by force. Yet all have tried to legitimize that force, by passing laws and seeking to establish some sort of order that would outlive their military supremacy. Some have been more successful at this than others; by way of example, … Continue reading “Lawless: An Oddly Exceptional Empire”

Commanding the Tides

For two decades, the Atlantic Empire and its European satellites have claimed to have reached the end of history, bombing or blockading anyone who dared disagree. Certain of their own invincibility, they’ve treated reality with contempt, and scoffed at Canute’s lesson as something that did not apply to them. They think they can command the … Continue reading “Commanding the Tides”

Cut Commitments, Not Muscle

In that year of happy memory, 1972, George McGovern, the Democratic nominee, declared he would chop defense by fully one-third. A friendly congressman was persuaded to ask Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to expatiate on what this might mean. The Pentagon replied the Sixth Fleet might have to be pulled out of the Med, leaving … Continue reading “Cut Commitments, Not Muscle”

Why It’s ‘Legal’ When the US Does It

Credit the Arab Spring and what’s followed in the Greater Middle East to many things, but don’t overlook American “unilateralism.” After all, if you want to see destabilization at work, there’s nothing like having a heavily armed crew dreaming about eternal global empires stomp through your neighborhood, and it’s clear enough now that whatever was … Continue reading “Why It’s ‘Legal’ When the US Does It”

The American Empire, RIP

When will historians of the future date the beginning of the decline and fall of the American empire? The question may seem presumptuous. The idea that the American Century is a relic of the past, and we are entering a "new world order" of divided rather than hegemonic power, is relatively new, and still controversial. … Continue reading “The American Empire, RIP”

Overwrought Empire

Americans lived in a “victory culture” for much of the twentieth century. You could say that we experienced an almost 75-year stretch of triumphalism — think of it as the real “American Century” — from World War I to the end of the Cold War, with time off for a destructive stalemate in Korea and … Continue reading “Overwrought Empire”

The Hollow Empire

While no one was looking, the US lost the war in Afghanistan. The announcement that joint operations involving US/NATO forces and Afghan military and police personnel will cease — “temporarily” — went down with a whimper, not a bang. Since the whole purpose of our continued presence in that country is supposedly to train the … Continue reading “The Hollow Empire”

Monopolizing War?

It’s pop-quiz time when it comes to the American way of war: three questions, torn from the latest news, just for you. Here’s the first of them, and good luck! Two weeks ago, 200 U.S. Marines began armed operations in…?: a) Afghanistanb) Pakistanc) Irand) Somaliae) Yemenf) Central Africag) Northern Malih) The Philippinesi) Guatemala If you … Continue reading “Monopolizing War?”