The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

How did we get stuck with an empire?

with 8 comments

Bill Maher, whose cynicism is usually a little dark for my taste, asks a good question:
clipped from

‘How Did This Country Get Stuck With an Empire?’

With military personnel deployed in 150 countries, Bill Maher says bringing the troops home from Iraq is only the tip of the iceberg. “Can you imagine if there were 20,000 armed Guatemalans on a base in San Bernardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber.”
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Quick – name one military base of any other nation that camps on foreign soil.  One. Just one.

It is scarcely conceivable, as his Guatemalan example illustrates.  Yet our nation supports one hundred fifty such bases, at hundreds of millions of dollars per year, each.

Perhaps the answer to Maher’s question springs from something like this:

“We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only about 6.3 percent of its population … our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity.” – George Kennan, 1948 (architect of much Cold War U.S. foreign policy)

Does that sound like a force for good?

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8 Responses

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  1. There is no such thing as “Benevolent Empire”.

    For a history of the American Empire you should read this (long) excerpt from the book The American Empire Project ( )

    It is an eye opener.


    April 8, 2009 at 11:23 am

    • Thanks very much! I’m looking forward to it!


      April 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

  2. Exactly. That sums it up. It’s not a force for good, it’s a force for disparity. One with a pretty rockin’ PR apparatus.


    April 4, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    • Right, Curtis – and that pretty rockin’ PR apparatus has left us ignorant of how intentional the disparity is!


      April 5, 2009 at 7:56 pm

  3. american-foreign policy- just makes me quiver- we have no foreign policy-we just seem to go in and take over- should skirmishes arise? well we then profit from selling arms to both factions- we are too much

    karen todd

    April 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    • Indeed, kt. I’m afraid we find fires pour on fuel, then return five years later and support the other side.


      April 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm

  4. Right on, Monte. Right on.

    You redecorated! Tres chic…. :-)


    April 2, 2009 at 1:55 am

    • Thanks! From a master decorator like you, that is a grand compliment!


      April 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

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