We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Left and the Military: Further Comments on Imperialism, re Yesterday's Post
Remarkable, that Anatol Lieven review of the Bacevich book on American imperialism and militarism, just remarkable.
Lieven cannot stand “American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world.” One wonders whether this is in intentional contrast with the failure of Marxism and Communism to do anything more than enslave peoples unfortunate to be contiguous to the Soviet Union, which most earnestly, but so far unsuccessfully, has tried to “spread that system to the rest of the world.”
Lieven writes, “Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.” I suppose he is referring to the coercion of Kuwaitis when Iraq had occupied their country fair and square; or maybe he means Bosnia and is suggesting we consider the Serbs’ notions of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ when cleansing ethnics as having equal validity to America’s concepts. However, when someone with logic as pathetically shallow as Lieven’s refers to “the military coercion of other nations”, one longs to be able to ask for a list of just which nations we have “coerced”.
Lieven keeps on: “Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching ‘freedom’ at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than ‘voluntary’ conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus.” Right. Those Kuwaitis and Bosnians must just HATE their restored ‘freedoms’. One wonders which word he finds objectionable: “rifle” or “American”.
And don’t you just love it when British and Europeans talk about American Imperialism in speeches that could have come out of Pravda in the 1960s? Imperialism is what the Russians did – taking countries and not giving them back. Names like Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan come to mind.
Oh, wait! Maybe Anatol Lieven and Andrew Bacevich aren’t Russian (any more). Maybe Lieven is British! Does anyone in class remember that Britain was imperialist? Like, THE imperialist nation of all times (although Spain, Portugal, Holland, France and Germany did pretty well too)? Children, can you name a British colony (other than the 13 in the USA)? No? How about Aden, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, British Central Africa, British East Africa, British Guiana, British Honduras, British New Guinea (Papua), British Somaliland, Brunei, Burma, Canada, Cape Colony (South Africa), Ceylon, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East India Company, Fiji, Gambia, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Ghana, Ionian Islands, Grenada, Heligoland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Labuan, Lagos (Nigeria), Leeward Islands, Malacca, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mosquito Coast (Nicaragua), Natal, Nauru, New Hebrides, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, North Borneo, Nigeria, Nyasaland, Palestine, Penang, Rhodesia, Saint Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sarawak, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Australia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanganyika, Tasmania, Tonga, Transvaal, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Weiheiwei, Western Samoa, Windward Islands, and Zanzibar? Now THAT’s a KNIFE!
Let’s see now, who did the United States conquer and keep? Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and neither of them are willing to go away. The other states (beyond the 13) as well. Who did the United States occupy and give back to their native peoples? The Philippines, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Italy, Panama, South Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and even Grenada. Add Iraq to the list - we're trying to give it to them, if they have the power to keep it.