26 August 2010

The American Empire: will the sun ever set?

The United State recently announced the departure of its last combat troops from Iraq. Yet 50,000 troops will remain in over 100 bases in an "advisory capacity." That is an occupation by any measure.

At one time it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Now Great Britain is the mere poodle of the new Anglo empire, the American version. And on this version the sun truly never sets.

The United States deploys its military on more than 700 bases in over 100 countries around the world. Add to the military the private contractors who do everything from prepare meals to carry out covert operations. And then there's the CIA, largely responsible for secret wars that extend the Empire's reach beyond occupation, including assassinations by the use of drones. These wars have been intensified under the Obama administration to the point where The New York Times recently referred to the CIA becoming a "paramilitary organization."

Much of the Empire's muscle is directed at the Muslim world, with 50,000 troops occupying Iraq, 100,000 fighting an insurgent war in Afghanistan and covert operations in a host of Arab and other countries including Algeria, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan and Yemen. The potential for creating Islamic hostility and potentially terror would seem almost infinite. Such is the price of empire.

Perhaps as their country plunges ever further into debt, Americans will eventually begin to question the price. Perhaps they will even begin to recognize that they create the very terror that leaves them in constant fear. But there is little sign of that now. Obama seems as caught up in the web of empire as his predecessors. Iraq is a good example. He "withdraws" but leaves an occupying force of 50,000. Next year he promises to leave Afghanistan. One wonders how many tens of thousands of "advisers" will be left there. And then there's all those possibilities in Iran, Yemen, etc.. No, no sign of the sun setting any time soon.

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