I've noticed a disturbing trend on this site. In poems, in essays and in reviews for them all, there have been lots of negative accusations against My Country, the United States of America. The insults are varied as far as vocabulary is concerned, but they boil down to this: Americans are Greedy, Trigger-Happy, Power Hungry, Uncouth, Unfriendly, Uncooperative, Lawless, Destructive, High-Handed, Cynical, Soulless and just plain Unworthy of being the lone Superpower on Earth. These things are all aggravating enough, but the charge that aggravates me the most is the notion that we're trying to use our power to take over the world. The War in Iraq has brought out that old saw all over again. We've been called a colonial power, we're told we ignore the sovereignty of other nations, we've been accused of trying to impose our way of life on others, we "butt in" where we don't belong, we try to use our allies to serve our own purposes. Simply put, to some people on this site, Americans are--to use the old Soviet turn of phrase--"Imperialists".
I am weary of defending My Country against this charge. Is it because I can't? Not at all. It's actually pretty easy to prove that the last thing the United States of America wants to be is an imperial power. There are plenty of instances throughout history, all the way through to modern times, when we could have created an American Empire but didn't. What makes me weary is that, One, I know the people leveling this charge will never accept evidence to the contrary because it's easier for them to turn us into world-beating monsters than to accept the facts, and Two, I don't happen to think America ruling the planet is such a bad idea.
Somebody has to run the World better than it's being run now! Why NOT us?!!
Over two hundred years ago, three of America's Founding Fathers, writing under the name of "Publius", published a series of articles advocating for the proposed United States Constitution, pointing out the advantages of having a strong but limited central government represent the former British Colonies to the rest of the world. Taken together, this collection of essays is known as "The Federalist". In that vein, under the title of "The Imperialist" and writing under my pen-name "Admiral", I'm going to advocate for the overthrow of every monarchy, social democracy, communist power, fascist dictatorship, tribal state, one-party state, economic bloc and treaty organization by the one nation in Earth's history that got the concept of governance right!
Let's start with a simple premise: The United States of America is the best example ever of how a disparate collection of nations can unite under an effective political system and rise to a level of prominence unmatched in the world. Confused? I bet I know why. I used the word "nations". That's the point, one that often gets downplayed or lost but actually makes the success of the United States all the more outstanding. The U.S. is not just a collection of cities and towns like, say, France. It's not just a smattering of provinces like Canada. Each and every state in the union can be considered a sovereign country, all fifty of which have aligned themselves under a charter that guarantees each of them a representative government, a common foreign policy and defense, forums that truly allow them to air grievances and disputes and have them addressed fairly, and truly binding "international" law.
What's my evidence for the states being countries? Think about this. Ontario doesn't call itself a republic, but there are at least two states in the union, Texas and California, that consider themselves just that. Virginia calls itself a Commonwealth of the United States. This essentially means that Virginia considers itself a sovereign nation that is politically allied with the United States Government, not just a subdivision of the country it governs. And then there is the U.S. National Guard. In times of war and national emergency the Guard is usually nationalized by the Federal Government, but in times of peace or local emergency National Guard units deploy under the jurisdiction of the governments of the states they are based in. Think about that for a second. How many provinces in Canada have their own armies and air forces?
My point is this. This multinational alliance has lasted and grown and flourished for 215 years. These states have only come into armed conflict with each other once. Its combined economy has become the most diverse and powerful in the world. Its combined arsenal has saved the Old World from itself twice. Its attitude toward its citizens has fostered enough creativity to allow for the invention of the elevator, the light bulb, the affordable automobile, the airplane, the submarine, the personal computer, among other inventions. Its charity and surplus feeds the underdeveloped world, heals its sick. The openness of its borders (and to all you liberal Europeans reading this, even with the Patriot Act America's borders are still more open than yours) allows people from everywhere to come here and make better lives for themselves. The United States of America IS what the European Union only FANTASIZES it will ever be, and what the United Nations never has been and never will be, period.
So now, imagine this on a grand scale. Imagine a world where every nation is GUARANTEED a head of state that's elected by the people, not one that inherits the job from his dad, not one appointed by somebody because he's more popular in parliament than the other guy, not one that manages to make friends with most of the army, not one that's a member of the party or tribe that won the last revolution. Imagine a world where every lawmaking body is elected by the people, and isn't dissolvable by the fiat of the head of state, or the party, or by coup. Imagine an INTERNATIONAL body elected by the people, not conceived by diplomats appointed by Foreign Ministers whose only purpose is to juggle the whole system so that their countries come out on top. Imagine an INTERNATIONAL body actually strong enough to enforce international law on its own, without whining when the strongest nation picks and chooses the battles it wants to fight. Imagine an INTERNATIONAL body whose main purpose is to foster and protect "the blessings of liberty" that the other changes will bring about. This is the type of world I'd love to live in, and if getting to it requires that the United States declare the rest of the world "The Enemy" and roll out, then that's just fine with me. A "United States of Earth" (or "United States", period) is a prize that's well worth the effort and potential risk.
Disagree with me? Love what I've just presented in this essay? Fine. Either way, write your response in a review, and make sure to put me on your Author Alert, because the next chapter will be devoted to answering all responses, supportive or opposing, that I receive before the next post, and I know you don't want to miss it.