Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

So, yeah, not a lot of action around here as of late. A combination of things in the real world as well as some new online endeavors, not the least of which is joining Adam Elkus' Antilibrary blog. It's got a talented bunch of characters and I'm looking forward to participating soon.

I've also purchased the entire sub-prefecture of Cognac, France and the city of Havana. These I intend to move to a climatically pleasing spot on our globe where I'll monopolize fine cigars and finer cognac for my own pleasure. Still a bit stumped on how I'll move them, but I'm an American and, well, as John Kennedy once told me,


Okay, not actually John Kennedy, but a bust of him in my elementary school. No wiser words have been unspoken on the subject of moving massive tracts of sub continents.

Moving on.

I've bought Niall Ferguson's Colossus: The price of America's Empire.

The concept of American imperialism is one that I've found both fascinating and agreeable, despite others misgivings. My own concept is much along the lines of Robert Kaplan's imperial ideology. Modern imperialism or neo-imperialism isn't spread through the anachronistic fashion of our predecessor, Great Britain, in a kinetic, overt, by smoke of the musket and tip of the spear fashion. Rather neo-imperialism is reliant upon geo-political support, economic connectivity (or support,) resource/techno reliance, the potential threat involved in global military projection, and vassal protectionism. Consider:

Japan: Economic connectivity and vassal protection.

Israel: geo-political support, techno reliance (militarily)

Columbia (the junior neo-vassal): economic support, geo political support, technno reliance (militarily)

All of the above fall under the "potential threat involved in global military projection." Each of those states falls within a segment of America's planetary military command. Each of those states have either flourished (Israel/Japan) or at least realized a semblance of stability (Columbia) as an American neo-vassal. The caveat here is the reality that Japan was essentially rebuilt, ground up, by American political doctrine, oversight and a constitutional restriction on it's military after suffering a devastating defeat in WWII. However, Japan's global prominence came about well after American occupation, and Japan is hardly a "colony" in the Anglo-colonial sense. Japan's ability to concentrate on it's economy is a direct result of being a neo-vassal of the American neo-empire.

Contrarily, America's invasion of Iraq was, in my opinion, not about WMD's and only slightly about oil. The Iraq invasion was a design to "Japanize" a middle eastern country. Following 9/11, the now infamous "Bush Doctrine" included a classical imperial design; collapse an Arab, middle eastern regime and install a pro-western democracy. In an utopian sense, the long term strategic and political benefits of such a pro-western regime in the heart of the middle east would reap benefits untold in the "Long War" on terrorism. That failure (not in terms of the war but in terms of the over all strategy) is fodder for another post.

Back to Niall Ferguson, I've only cracked the jacket and read the two quotes, one via Jefferson one via Milton preceding the introduction. I suspect Ferguson will point out the fallacy of an American empire and given today's economic upheaval the prospect of American imperialism is indeed in question.


Anonymous said...

The sun may be setting on our Eastern Mediterranean possessions sooner than you think.

Dan tdaxp said...

I enjoyed the book a lot. I hope you will too.

It's essentially a British version of PNM. It argues that the US's current global operations are a plused-up version of what Britain did a century ago, so a lot of the lessons learned by Britain are directly applicable to America.

Tom doesn't like the concept because it implies that the SysAdmin concept is essentially "Imperialist" -- ultimately, the British empire was pretty liberal, however, so I think it's a good one.

Jay@Soob said...

C4, an interesting read. Amazing how cryptic the sources are being. I have to wonder how much of it is political obfuscation or over reaction. What's your guess on the nature of the threat?

Dan, thanks. I have to wonder why he's so afraid of the "imperialism" concept? Is it the "warmonger" image that it carries?

Dan tdaxp said...

I think Tom's written online that imperialism is a maximal-rule-set, while what he envisions is a minimal-rule-set.

I think shrinking the Gap encompasses both, though. India was never legally under Britain (indeed, as an "empire," it was a grander entity than the mere Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland!), Egypt was technically part of the Ottoman Empire, etc.

I think the differences have further blurred with Tom's view on Russia's intervention in Georgia.

Purpleslog said...

I think he may have wanted to avoid "imperalism" as word choice becuase it is word that all sort of left-of-center ideological actors have pre-set negative reflexes for.