View Full Version : The new American Century, by Arundhati Roy

diamond geezer
Jan 27, 2004, 10:12 PM

Very good article on the new imperialism.

In this new age of empire, when nothing is as it appears to be, executives of concerned companies are allowed to influence foreign policy decisions. The Center for Public Integrity in Washington found that at least nine out of the thirty members of the Bush Administration's Defense Policy Board were connected to companies that were awarded military contracts for $76 billion between 2001 and 2002. George Shultz, former Secretary of State, was chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. He is also on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group. When asked about a conflict of interest in the case of war in Iraq he said, "I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it. But if there's work to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from." In April 2003, Bechtel signed a $680 million contract for reconstruction.

Most nations have adequately hideous family secrets. So it isn't often necessary for the media to lie. It's all in the editing--what's emphasized and what's ignored. Say, for example, India was chosen as the target for a righteous war. The fact that about 80,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989, most of them Muslim, most of them by Indian security forces (making the average death toll about 6,000 a year); the fact that in February and March of 2002 more than 2,000 Muslims were murdered on the streets of Gujarat, that women were gang-raped and children were burned alive and 150,000 driven from their homes while the police and administration watched and sometimes actively participated; the fact that no one has been punished for these crimes and the government that oversaw them was re-elected...all of this would make perfect headlines in international newspapers in the run-up to war.

Jan 28, 2004, 06:10 AM
another good article on the new imperialism is
Power Rangers
The New Yorker

basically it says the new empire by force policies of administration hardliners is actually weakening the empire we already have. Neo-cons have begun calling for a new British style empire. The article looks at that empire and draws paralelles with our situation today. Interesting.

Hard-liners like Perle and Frum would do well to remember that America began as an empire, formally and officially. It wasn’t our empire, of course; it was Britain’s. And the story of how Britain lost its first empire may be more instructive for Americans today than how Britain found itself without its second. Americans like to flatter themselves that the seeds of independence were planted with the first spades into the earth of Massachusetts and Virginia. In fact, during the century before the Revolution, Britain’s North American colonies were, by most measures, becoming more Anglicized, more firmly tied to Britain’s monarchy and trade. (The archetype of American homespun virtues, Ben Franklin, spent much of his life trying to make a name in London and find a place for himself in the British establishment.) Britain lost its North American empire through a common mistake: it misunderstood the nature of its power. In particular, it confused the power it had on paper—its claims to sovereignty and dominion—with the nature of the control it exercised on the coast of North America.

Britain’s hold in North America was, at heart, a consensual arrangement. Over more than a century, the home government had reduced most of the settlements to Crown colonies with royally appointed governors. But London did not exercise what historians call government in depth. It had little sway in the family and business networks that held the colonies together. In fact, outside a few port towns, the Crown had to rely on local bigwigs—the New England merchants and Virginia planters—to wield authority in its name.

Jan 28, 2004, 07:33 AM
An empire by force is even dumber in today's world than it was in the 16th and 17th centuries, much less on into the 19th and 20th. Remember that Spain went broke, in spite of all the gold and silver taken by force from the New World. The big factor is the cost of extending power. That originally was cheap, until the British got into the act. (Same for the Dutch, for that matter.)

Today, it's the relative costs of our airpower or artillery vs. a SAM or a car bomb, as examples. Factor in the cost of supplying a military effort at long distance. Vietnam was a shining example of this same package of problems. It cost us a lot more to keep our troops supplied than it did the Chinese and Russians in their supply of North Vietnam.

The USSR was an empire by force. Where is it, today?

"Those who will not learn from history..." You know the quote...


Jan 28, 2004, 11:25 AM
Yes 'Rat it is dumb. Is that whole ramble above to suggest that this is not happening, or that you think it is happening?