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After the War « Previous | |Next »
January 31, 2003

The invasion of Iraq is now well nigh inevitable, either with the mandate of the UN to invade Iraq or the US acting unilaterally with a rag tag of allies to ensure stability in the region---preventing Iraq from nuking its neighbours.

Iraq then becomes a client state of the US. The US in turn becomes an imperial power, as its troops are now stationed in northern Asia (remember North Korea) and the Middle East. It has become an imperial power under the Republican conservatives who were once isolationists.

As an imperial power---it is now the sole superpower---it turns away from its celebration of winning the cold war for the West and turns to imposing its pax America on the territory under its influence in the name of liberty, democracy and free markets. We now live in the New American Centuryin which U.S. power is used in an aggressive and unilateral way to secure American dominance of world affairs by force if necessary.

The Rebuilding America's Defenses involves hikes in military spending, locating American military bases in Central Asia and the Middle East, the toppling of recalcitrant regimes, the violation of international treaties, the militarization of outer space, control of the world's energy resources, and the willingness to use nuclear weapons to achieve American goals.

What then for the Middle East? Well the US, in acting to remove Saddam Hussein, now has an expensive garrison of US military personnel in a volatile and unstable region keeping an eye of the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia. Some of the oil from Iraq is used to rebuild Iraq whilst the rest flows into the US to help reduce, or fund, the deficit.

The permanent presence of the US in the Middle East as a force for the status quo creates increasing instability in the region, fuels what it and Israel proclaim to be terrorism, and leds to the collapse of many current Arab regimes.

This is called the era of American peace in a globalised world.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:37 AM | | Comments (4)



Aren't you exaggerating a bit about the "imperial" nature of the US? Occupying a country for a period of years and then going home is not really the same as establishing an empire.

Are there any countries that are forced to fly American flags against their will? Is America taxing any foreign countries?

America has had many chances to establish an empire. Following WWII, the US had immense power and the atom bomb, and yet the Americans WENT HOME. Sure, they helped rebuild the countries and left some bases to ensure stability for a certain period of time. But in most cases those countries clearly benefited from what the US did. Japan prospered. South Korea prospered. Taiwan prospered. West Germany prospered. And when a country truly wants the US to leave, as the Phillipenes did, the US left.

This is NOT the behavior of an imperial power. It does not match the meaning in the dictionary. It does reflect historical fact. And there is little reason to believe that it predicts the future.

good points. I agree with them--it is not the action of an imperial power.

What I was trying to do was explore what the 21st century would like now that the US is the sole superpower. Its a very different scenario to that from 1946 to 2001---pax America.

Where we disagree is after Iraq. It will not be easy for the US to invade Iraq, sort things out and pull out. I was tacitly arguing that the very volatility of the Middle East means that the US will become bogged down there and so will need to establish a permanent presence there.

This may not happpen. Your in and out scenario may happen--lets hope so.

But I do think something is changing at a tectonic plate level in international relations and in terms of the US Republican tradition of isolationism.


Things may be changing, as you suggest, and it may even turn out to be true that Iraq has to be occupied for a long time. But it will never be a "colony" in the true sense of the word. It will be no more of a colony than Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, or West Germany were. I know calling America Imperialistic is fun, but it is an unfair distortion that does not correspond with the facts.

Henry Kissinger told the suits at Davos that America was the global imperialist a coupla years ago (see Hutton and Giddens' latest). He reckons the Yanks have been crap at doing imperialism, too. Dunno whether he likes the new look, though ...