Saturday, October 22, 2005

Put it In the File

This Washington Times story with all sorts of White House denials.


Anonymous said...

Who would like to be Sara Taylor today?
- JS

Doctor X (Josh) said...

Dear Mr. Last,

In your recent Weekly Standard article, "Rule America," you made some strikingly convincing parallels between the present American empire's adversities and the adversities faced by the old British hegemon. Holistically, I strongly agreed with you on your cautions and concerns about the current trend of liberal "anti-patriotism" and the sort of sado-masochism leftist intellectuals practice in the face of any rhetoric that praises American benevolence abroad. Their absurd attribution of today's terrorist problems to some sort of American arrogance or flexing of its hegemonic muscles is not to be tolerated. However, I was concerned about your dismissing of the British empire's strong flaws and your failure to make distinctions between the present pax-Americana and the old pax-Britannia.

If we were to speak on strictly realist terms, we could agree that the two empires almost mirror one another. The pervasiveness of America's military, economic and diplomatic power and influence is uncontested in as much as the "Sun never set" on the British crown. But transcending that simplistic view of international order, we need to recognize the social, humanitarian and economic differences between America and imperialist Britain. Firstly, you failed to point out both the immorality of a British empire based on colonisation and the deep-seated instability that such a system produced. The empire may have maintained peace among the largest power players of the time, but it certainly was an onerous burden on the colonized nations of Africa and the Middle East (should we allow ourselves to forget that current demographic strife and instability in these two regions can be attributed in part to random imperialist demarcation and ethnic exploitation?). The economic system of core-peripheral trade was also inimical to the proper development of these nations. Even in a largely capitalist system, the imperialist players at the time (prior to WWI) produced mercantilist policies, keeping the colonized states perpetually dependent on export for their main source of GDP growth. Moreover, the British, along with other Europeans, practiced methods of ethnic subjugation, placing their own subjects above the indigenous peoples they ruled. Not only was this empire immoral and unstable, it was not sustainable. Ask any Neo-conservative thinker today on the power of freedom and they will it tell you it can never be contained. Thus, while your parallels are correct in the causes for empire deterioation, your criticism of the old leftist intellectuals was misplaced. The Oxford elite certainly had good reason to protest against the perpetual human rights abuse, subjugation of the rights of peoples to self-determination, and economic exploitaiton in an unfair mercantilist system (as opposed to a fair and just system of free trade). While you have good reason to point out the absurdity of making Churchill more evil than Hitler in the face of German aggression and attempts to subvert the peace, such matters do not outweigh the overwhelming reason that the intellectuals at the time presented against an immoral empire of domination.

Now, I am sure you're aware of the differences the present US hegemon represents. While both were/are democratic, only the US refrains from outright imperialism and coerced economic exploitation through the literal dictation of economic policies to colonized subjects. The present hegemon tries to promote a liberal world order envisioned by Locke and Mill, with the sole condition of the US at the center of power; the British hegemon promoted a world of order of distorted British interests and disregard for the well-being of the subjugated. The US, while not always respectful of sovereignty in the face of heinous dictators and rogue states that should be dismantled, is still committed to the policy of democratization that the British lacked. In essence, the US maintains its hegemony and uses such hegemony in part for the benefit of the world to fulfill American principles, while the British sought hegemony as a final end. America's present operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and past operations in Kosovo and Bosnia, are and were immediately followed by proper democratic, constitutional and economic institution building. The British operations in such states were perpetual, with no intention of giving the colonized the option of self-determination until the empire itself was nearing collapse, and all intentions of keeping them in a state of penury and misery. Finally, we should remember that the American empire has always been guided by a democratic government bound by classically liberal principles of individual rights and accountable government. The British empire, while ending up with a democratic leadership, began in a time when the Parliament still had limited power and universal suffrage had not been granted.

I should also note that comparing the Americans to the British, and then praising the noxious form of British imperialism, does only a disservice to the neo-conservative and pro-american intellectuals. It paints them as supporters of outright domination and colonization without respect to democracy, and it gives the lefist intellectual establishment more firepower to point American thinking in the wrong direction.

Yours truly,
Joshua Xiong, 17, student.

Anonymous said...

The only denials are on this blog, Last. Real Americans are falling into line, behind their infallible and almighty leader¡ WHY WON'T DICK CHENEY ANSWER MY EMAILS???


Anonymous said...

Can someone keep ALLCAPS Anon (Matt Labash) from posting comments?

kwAwk said...

Wow. Great post Joshua. It amazing that a 17 year old has a better understanding of history than the online editor of the Weekly Standard.

Anonymous said...

Look, people, I know you look to me as the voice of reason and sanity on this blog. But I am not--I repeat, not--Matt Labash.


Anonymous said...