I usually don't link to the same blog or source twice in a row, but Liz from the Contemplation of Preponderance blog posts some of the most profound things that I read on the net. They really get you thinking. This latest post is mostly about power, and ultimately, the responsibility that comes with it. She talks about the countries in Europe that she's visited, like England and France, that were empires pretty much like us. They had armies and navies situated in places all over the world, and spent much in blood and treasure trying to stabilize and keep them. I can't speak as to how the general mood of the people was back in those days, but now, from the perspective of Liz and other things I've read and seen, they seem fairly content. Maybe part of the reason for that is that they don't have that kind of presence in the world anymore. While having control of a part of the world and its resources may seem nice on the surface, it can also pose quite a burden.
Just look at the troubles we've gotten into trying to police and control the world. Our budget keeps rising and rising due to our military presence in Iraq and many other countries. Blowback was the reason for 9/11. I keep going back to an earlier blog I made, in which I quoted some kind of military general or commander after the Iran mini-incident last month (where one little Iraqi boat was firing on an American battleship in Middle Eastern waters). He said something to the effect of "Incidents like that are why we're situated there." And I keep thinking, "well, would this stuff still be happening if we weren't there?" I just believe that empire leads to far more problems than solutions for all involved, especially the country that's doing the policing, in this case ours. And don't start on the humanitarian factors involved, or how this and that people are living under a brutal dictator, and it's somehow up to us to liberate them. If we invaded every country guilty of human rights violations, at least, the ones we aren't indirectly supporting, we'd be occupying half the world. Well, we kind of are anyway, right?
I think the day when the United States stops being an empire is the day we become a better, richer and safer country to live in.