Re: American Imperialism?

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 09:51:49 MST

On Saturday, March 18, 2000 9:37 PM Robert Owen
> Perhaps if we substitute for "imperialism" the word "power" things
> might be less muddy. After all, technically there are no "empires"
> in the world anywhere at this time.

Huh? If a real nation-state is one people, one government -- like Ireland,
for example -- and an empire is many peoples, one government, specifically
with one people ruling all the others, then Indonesia is an empire. It's a
conglomeration of peoples. In fact, many of the various subgroups want to
secede. Likewise, Iraq is an empire, with conquered Shi'i and Kurd groups
as its imperial victims. The same could be said of the Sudan and Nigeria.
China is likewise an empire, with its Tibetan and other Western provinces.

> Now, let's ask the question: can we assign actual centers of
> power (or control) geographic locations anymore? Does the
> power-grid, if any, "float above ground"? Is it an outdated
> assumption that power centers are governments? If the
> answer to either is "no" then we have to look at how power
> IS actually distributed today, and whether the pattern we dis-
> cern, if any, is actually significant of anything, or merely an
> artifact of history?

I don't think one should ever confuse geography with political power.
Granted, Athens was the geographic and political center of the League of
Delos (Athens' informal empire at the time) and the city of Rome was
likewise the power center of its empire. However, it was not the
geographical location, but the people in charge who mattered. What
mattered, after all, about the Romans as empire-builders was not that they
came from Rome or that a tactical nuke could have taken out their capital,
but that they could field their legions AND use their allies and enemies to
further their plan of empire. Just taking Rome was no guarantee of success
at ruling the Romans -- else no emperor would ever have had to field legions
against his competitors.

To use another example, the British did occupy the US Capitol during the War
of 1812...

Of course, now command and control is more mobile and can be distributed
more than ever before, but the overall game is still the same.


Daniel Ust

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