Hand Me the Remote!

2008-01-31

It strikes me that the course of American foreign policy can be compared to the television-watching habits of a sports-crazed couch potato with an itchy trigger finger on the TV remote control. How many countries has the U.S. government invaded, occupied, attempted to build up, and then abandoned? The list is long: Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba, Haiti, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Germany, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and who knows where else. But with few exceptions, the Americans have not stuck around for very long (by far the longest occupation was the Philippines, 1898-1946). Americans just aren't very good imperialists. So I think those who hope that America will become a great empire (e.g. to keep Russia or China or whatever other world power in check), and those who fear that America will become a great empire (with all that entails for a draining of American resources and a decline in American freedom), are both misguided. We Americans simply aren't very interested in the rest of the world, so we quickly get bored and change the channel. Hand us the remote and get us out of Iraq!


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal