07 October 2014
The American Empire is different in that it doesn't colonize the lands of those it conquers—well, not any more, anyway. It is content to maintain an extensive network of military bases throughout the world from which to suppress threats to its power and safeguard access to resources. With hundreds of bases worldwide, the U.S. military deploys over a quarter of a million personnel in over 150 countries.
This empire is also different in possessing a new vulnerability. Previous empires always had a secure homeland, a place the empire-builders could return to after toiling away at their imperialist work and find sanctuary. But due to modern communications and transportation that is no longer the case. On September 11th, 2001, for example, recalcitrant tribesmen struck at the very heart of the Empire, striking the fear of God (or Allah) into its citizens. Never before had an empire suffered such vulnerability at the height of its powers. The ingrates, it seems, can now do to you in your backyard what you are doing to them in their backyard.
So pity the U.S. The job of running an empire is tougher than ever. And yet, at the risk of sounding callous, I must say I am completely lacking in sympathy.
Posted by Bill Longstaff at 1:59 pm