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topic: History
first in thread: tom, History, 2001, 09, 11:09:09, Terrorism and Imperialism
09 11:09:09Terrorism and Imperialism
(tom)
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next in thread: mindgrope2001_09_11:10:28
Terrorism breeds imperialism.

As I write this, the first shots in the next war are still being fired, and America is, I hope, changing its course from a mixed policy of isolationism and interventionism to one of imperialism, pure and simple.

Despite the childish cant of the Left, imperial powers rarely expand by choice but rather out of a sense of necessity or self-defense. Rome didn't deliberately amass provinces, but rather got tired of beating off attackers, and found offense and conquest was the best defense (the history of Roman government has been described as a desperate attempt to keep up with the army, which kept conquering new lands in the name of peace.)

The government of Great Britain actively refused to get involved in India until the Mutiny, when they finally saw that the only way to get the benefits of British involvement in India was to rule, rather than simply support the rule of the East India Company.

The analogy to the current situation the United States is in is fairly clear, and I think the American response is likely to be the same: deliberate, unapologetic, aggressive imperialism in the name of peace and security.

The alternative, too horrible to contemplate, is the U.S. turning its back on the world, creating a "Fortress America" that would be of neccessity repressive and ultimately destructive of all American ideals of openess and democracy. It would make Americans and everyone else much poorer, and it would not lead to increased safety or security for Americans or anyone else--if anything it would make them more vulnerable.

If those are the only alternatives, then the choice is clear: more active, interventionist American involvement in world affairs. probably as the leader of a coalition of nations that are tired of the tribal squabbles of distant peoples spilling over into our backyards.

All of this assumes that the terrorists who have committed this hideous act are foreigners. If they're Americans, then the end of modern civilization has begun, and we can only hope something better will eventually grow from the wreckage.
09 11:10:28re: Terrorism and Imperialism
(mindgrope)
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next in thread: caro2001_09_11:18:11
In response to Tom... I too share his anger, and his retributive urge. But I believe now is a time to reign in these passions and to reaffirm the values that make America both beloved and despised.

I firmly oppose the impulse to an imperialist foreign policy. This will breed exactly the kind of resentment that leads to terrorism. Indeed, our meddling in others' affairs may be precisely what provoked (though not warranted--nothing warrants)today's horror. We must try to find those responsible, give them a fair trial, and mete out justice in the most dispassionate and humane way. We must maintain our dignity and liberality.

I've more to say, but my building--the George Mason University Law School--is being shut down. All morning we have watched the smoke from the Pentagon out our windows, and the circling helicopters and occasional fighter plane. This is an awful and frightening day. I don't know how I'll be getting home. I don't know if I want to get on the Metro. I do know that I am angry. This is my home. My great fear now is that my fellow Americans will give into this anger and do something rash.

(previous in thread, tom) : ~
~ Terrorism breeds imperialism.
~
~ As I write this, the first shots in the next war are still being
~ fired, and America is, I hope, changing its course from a mixed
~ policy of isolationism and interventionism to one of imperialism,
~ pure and simple.
~
~ Despite the childish cant of the Left, imperial powers rarely
~ expand by choice but rather out of a sense of necessity or
~ self-defense. Rome didn't deliberately amass provinces, but rather
~ got tired of beating off attackers, and found offense and conquest
~ was the best defense (the history of Roman government has been
~ described as a desperate attempt to keep up with the army, which
~ kept conquering new lands in the name of peace.)
~
~ The government of Great Britain actively refused to get involved in
~ India until the Mutiny, when they finally saw that the only way to
~ get the benefits of British involvement in India was to rule,
~ rather than simply support the rule of the East India Company.
~
~ The analogy to the current situation the United States is in is
~ fairly clear, and I think the American response is likely to be the
~ same: deliberate, unapologetic, aggressive imperialism in the name
~ of peace and security.
~
~ The alternative, too horrible to contemplate, is the U.S. turning
~ its back on the world, creating a "Fortress America" that would be
~ of neccessity repressive and ultimately destructive of all American
~ ideals of openess and democracy. It would make Americans and
~ everyone else much poorer, and it would not lead to
~ increased safety or security for Americans or anyone else--if
~ anything it would make them more vulnerable.
~
~ If those are the only alternatives, then the choice is clear: more
~ active, interventionist American involvement in world affairs.
~ probably as the leader of a coalition of nations that are tired of
~ the tribal squabbles of distant peoples spilling over into our
~ backyards.
~
~ All of this assumes that the terrorists who have committed this
~ hideous act are foreigners. If they're Americans, then the end of
modern civilization has begun, and we can only hope something
~ better will eventually grow from the wreckage.
09 11:18:11Eat My Shit
(caro)
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next in thread: mindgrope2001_09_13:07:32
(previous in thread, mindgrope) : ~
~ In response to Tom... I too share his anger, and his retributive
~ urge. But I believe now is a time to reign in these passions and to
~ reaffirm the values that make America both beloved and despised.
~
~ I firmly oppose the impulse to an imperialist foreign policy. This
~ will breed exactly the kind of resentment that leads to terrorism.
~ Indeed, our meddling in others' affairs may be precisely what
provoked (though not warranted--nothing warrants)today's horror.

I really wish that this were so. It would make life much easier to believe that it is our meddling, rather than our very existence, that provokes already-violent people to target us in particular for violence. I don't believe that it is.

It's the kind of things that you, Will, and Tom, are allowed to write in this space. Our government can't stop you, and I refuse to. Your remarks are inflammatory, blasphemous, and sometimes pornographic, and I welcome you, because what you say is also intelligent and guided by your reason. This is why these people hate us so much; this is what makes us a target. They obviously don't give two shits on a stick whether their associates die. The associates themselves don't even care. That's why our aim can't be punishment, per se, but extermination of the voluntary members of groups whose aim is to control by means of destruction and murder.

In their view, the Imperialistic United States already exists. It violates the most important tenants of every religion. It spreads itself unstoppably via the technology that is made possible by Americans' daily shrugging off of any religious guilt of their own to engage in discovery and creation for 8 hours.

In order to stop meddling with religious fanatics, we would have to blow up our laboratories and offices and put on our purity veils. There's entirely too much truth, science, sex, too many images, free thinkers, free speakers, and people of a-religion-that-isn't-mine in this country. It'll have to go.

They don't want to be left alone. They don't want to be free of our imperialism. They want all traces of the freedoms that define this country, to go away. To make it go away, they can't just close their curtains and look the other way. The Evil and Blasphemy will still be in the world. They have to kill us and anybody even vaguely like us. That's what this is about.

My own mind is not on imperialism today, so much as assassination, and the hunt. Our peaceful, good, friendly country has always been averse to assassination. But that is because we Americans, who have seen so little war, and who are still in the primordial grip of religion ourselves, think that assassination is somehow worse than war. Wars just happen to kill people while you're blowing up stuff; assassination is the deliberate, pre-meditated, intricately planned murder of the few guilty individuals behind political terror. Assassination is murder, while war is just collateral damage.

Assassination is what we need. Murder the leader and the group crumbles, at least temporarily. We have the technology. We know how to find these people and quietly assassinate them. We need to stop shuffling around murmuring prayers and forgiveness and tolerance and murder them, and yes, just keep murdering them as they appear. As long as these individual persons exist, they grow stronger and bolder with the support of the followers and friends. They will continue to take out hundreds, now thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands, of innocent people and billions of dollars worth of value in one easy swat, controlling the entire world.
09 13:07:32The response to terror
(mindgrope)
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I find Carolyn's anger just, but her opinion wrong and overwrought.

It is not our mere existence that provokes people to crash planes into
our buildings. It is not our mere existence that has Palestinians dancing in the streets, passing out candy, at news our grief. In Sweden, say,women have the franchise and they make great porn. Sweden is not the Great Satan. Japanese imports blanket the Earth. But jetliners do not rain down upon affluent Tokyo.

The easy, self-flattering, and I would say willfully naive answer is that we are hated simply because we are good, victims of low-minded resentiment. Sadly this is not the case. We bomb aspirin factories in the Sudan. We bait poorer nations with the
humiliating dependency of loans, aggravated by fickle promises of debt
relief. We funnel billions of dollars to corrupt militaries to help them destroy their citizens' cash crops and livelihood. We insert ourselves in tribal disputes in the Balkans, arbitrarily choosing sides, arbitrarily making bitter enemies. Most significantly, we mindlessly back one tribe of fierce mystics in the Middle East, despite their evident agression against and displacement of another coalition of fierce mystics. The corollary of faith is force, and by intervening (to no discernible national interest)in a conflict that primarily concerns faith, we cannot be pretend to be surprised to find ourselves ourselves the target of mystic agression.

Though no doubt it will be an occasion for blood-thirsty
revenge--revenge that may only encourage much of the world's seething hatred for the U.S., and encourage those who would make the U.S. a police state--yesterday's tragedies should move us to reconsider the error of becoming a hegemon. Let's withdraw ourselves from foreign conflicts with no direct bearing on our interests. Let's stop trying to plan other countries' economies. Let's stop trying to impose conditions on trade, and implement a policy of unilateral free trade. Let's concern ourselves with our proper concerns, and leave the rest to others. The best way to deter attacks from wild animals is not to hunt them all down, but to keep from provoking them when it does us no good.

If we did all that, and _still_ we were attacked, we could then be sure that it really was because we were good.

Let me recommend Justin Raimondo's column today at Antiwar.com, which reflects a great deal of my own opinion.


(previous in thread, caro)
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