Re: American Imperialism?

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Sat Mar 18 2000 - 23:47:22 MST

>From: (Octavio Rojas Diaz)
>On 18/03/00, 07:32:12 a.m., "Zero Powers" <>
>wrote regarding Re: American Imperialism?:
> > Right, that is *not* imperialism. Imperialism is extending a nation's
> > authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of
>economic and
> > political hegemony over other nations. The US is not doing this. We
> > basically acting as the referee in the world's international wrestling
> > matches, and enforcing the rules when we notice low blows. No, no one
> > appointed us as the referee, but we're the biggest kid on the block
>and have
> > assumed the role of shot caller by default. Maybe its a good thing,
> > its not. But it is definitely *not* imperialism.
> > -Zero
>I sincerely wish the U.S., was doing what you say, but unfortunately
>the U.S. is still a very imperialist and interventionist country.

The problem with this discussion, perhaps, is carelessness with terminology.
  I agree 100% that the US is "interventionist." I don't think *anyone*
denies that. But "interventionism" and "imperialism" are not
interchangeable terms. If the thrust of your position is that the US should
let the pendulum swing back a bit toward isolationism, I might not
necessarily disagree (although I have not fully considered the issue as it
has not specifically been raised in this thread). But regardless of whether
or not you are a fan of US foreign policy the plain fact is that
"imperialism" is an untrue, unfair and perjorative description of US policy.

>But unfortunately when you live in America, you don't get all the
>about the things that happen in our regions of the world.

You are not actually claiming that non-US citizens are more informed about
US foreign policy than Americans, are you? If you are, I must beg to
differ. Freedom of the press is one of our most cherished rights, and our
press is not shy in the least about putting Government policy (foreign or
otherwise) in a less than flattering light.

>Speaking of my country (Mexico)
>Although after the end of the usa/Mexico war when we lost more than
>half our
>territory the usa has never invaded or threatened us militarily,
>they've forced
>us to do what they think it's better using all sorts of resources or

This is called foreign policy. It's using your clout (political, economic,
or military) to induce your neighbors to act in your best interest. *Every*
nation does it (or tries, or wants to do it). But since the US has the most
clout it is usually the most successful at having other nations comply with
its wishes. Again, like it or no, this simply is not imperialism.

>An example of this is the certification measure, here in Mexico every
>time the
>congress up there is deciding if we'll get or not certified. it
>creates a lot of
>tension and hurts our relations because it's an unilateral procedure
>based on
>U.S. Interests only and not ours, but they still implement it, because
>easier to use scape goats and pretend they are combating drug abuse by
>being tough
>on poor defenseless countries instead of looking wiser alternatives to
>this senseless
>drug war, and I could quote several other examples (operation
>casablanca, etc.)
>that the U.S. government does to force us their beliefs or systems.
>And well to avoid unnecessary rants, I'll just say is not very fair
>for a country to
>use it's enormous military or economic power to force other countries
>do things they
>don't like, and that in my opinion is... imperialism, call it neo
>imperialism if you want
>but it still doesn't make it any less worse.

It's not imperialism, neo-imperialism, retro-imperialism or
quasi-imperialism. What you are talking about is mere "influence."
Imperialism suggests exercising much more than mere influence upon a foreign
power. Imperialism denotes "hegemony." At most the US attempts to impose a
moral or ideological "hegemony," if you like, over its neighbors, but this
does not rise to the level of military, economic or political hegemony.
There is a big difference between the two, one is not imperialism, the other


>Any comments?

Octavio, don't misinterpret me, I'm not saying that US foreign policy is the
best. I'm just trying to point out that it is *not* imperialism. To call
America "imperialist" is merely to reveal your own displeasure over its
policies and to use the same sort of hyperbolic rhetoric as the pro-gun
folks who refer to gun-control proponents as "fascists." It doesn't further
your cause, it doesn't foster constructive dialogue, and makes you come
across as reactionary.

Just my dos centavos.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

Get Your Private, Free Email at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:05:48 MDT