The Maleficence of Empire

With more than 1,000 military bases and installations spanning the globe and a foreign policy that causes almost every nation on earth to cower to its will, the United States of America is the most powerful Empire the world has ever known. But instead of being an Empire of benevolence and peace, the US has been at perpetual war and expansion since its creation.

Unfortunately for the imperial citizenry, warmongering and economic progress are anathema to each other. If economic progress leads to empire-building, sooner or later empire-building leads to economic catastrophe and bankruptcy; said woes are usually the upshot of foreign entanglements and unholy alliances that lead to unsustainable expansions and wars.

However, in the absence of such imperialistic formula, the opposite usually takes place.

When World War 2 caused the irrevocable dissolution of the Japanese and German Empires, the then emerging American hegemon quickly shackled these defeated countries with a trammel that paralyzed (and eliminated) their military machines which had facilitated their expansions. The happy result was that Japan became the economic power of Asia, and Germany that of Europe.

Today these two countries have more robust economies than the US. Both are major centers of technological achievements, years ahead of their American jailer.

Even China managed to surpass the US by becoming the No 1 economy in the world. That’s because China is not (yet?) building an Empire. Its focus is on profit, not war.

“What is a unipolar world? However, one might embellish this term, it refers to a type of situation where there is one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. At the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within… I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world…. the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization,” explained Putin at a conference in Munich. 2007.

All this is very ‘rich’ coming from Putin. Putin, is by no means, the paragon of virtue with a monopoly on decency! But the underlying point is valid. The U.S. needs to understand the situation and take steps to address it. Running 1000 bases across the world is not sustainable for the U.S. economy, or even necessary.

The world is transitioning to a multi-polar state. Major ‘regional unions’ will rise and question the status quo and prior policies. In recognizing this basic fact, the U.S. then needs to shape outcomes so multi-polarity takes a useful, value-added form, instead of becoming an antagonistic expression to U.S. dominance.  Global institutions need to be reshaped to America’s advantage, not disadvantage. U.S. needs to be proactive, NOT reactive to this inevitable change.

And by the way, not just the U.S., but also Russia must be held to account by these new global institutions. Putin’s statement applies as much to the ‘break up’ of the Soviet Union and its role as a ‘pole’ during the cold-war! Remember, the Soviet Union collapsed and destroyed itself from within. The Soviet Union’s model was immoral and unacceptable too!

Bottom-line, the U.S. can now lead the world’s transformation into a multi-polar format, with regional unions. This will reduce the burden on the U.S.; and if done properly set the stage for continuing U.S. leadership – if not empire! Being an empire is NOT value added to the U.S., but being a global leader is! US must not rule, but lead. That is our new role in the 21st Century. That is key.

(Major parts of this article were taken from another article in bizpress)

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