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[Nettime-ro] Fw: <nettime> Gwynne Dyer on The Short-Lived American Empir
calin on Sun, 9 Mar 2003 22:30:09 +0100 (CET)


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[Nettime-ro] Fw: <nettime> Gwynne Dyer on The Short-Lived American Empire


daca to t suntem la capitolul bibliografie internationala, putemarunca o
privire si asupra celor de mai jos. imi cer scuze, dar nu exista traducere
in romana. drept care nu putem spera ca dna Zoe Petre, fost consilier
prezidential  si autoarea unei stralucite comparatii Saddam-Hitler, sa se
simta contrariata. sau ZP nu citeste nettime-ro? poate ar trebui .... mai
ales ca aici avem ceva din istorie, Imperiul Roman si alte lucruri care ar
trebui sa ii sune familiar.

> > GBN Global Perspectives
> > Gwynne Dyer
> > _______________________
> >
> > The Short-Lived American Empire
> >
> >    Just over two thousand years ago, when the Roman republic turned
> > itself into an empire and extended the 'pax romana' over most of the
known
> > world -- western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, plus the
> > great reservoir of barbarian tribes in eastern Europe and central
Asia --
> > Rome exercised direct control over about half the total population, and
was
> > able to tax them and raise troops from them. So the Roman empire lasted
> > over four hundred years.
> >
> >    Many people in Washington now talk openly of turning the American
> > republic into an imperial power that enforces a 'pax americana' around
the
> > planet, but the United States has only 4 percent of the planet's
> > population, and its people are equally averse to high taxes and US
> > casualties. The demand for US troops and money will rapidly outrun the
> > supply, so the American empire will last about twenty minutes -- but it
may
> > be a hectic and painful twenty minutes.
> >
> >    The dream of American empire has attracted American
> > neo-conservatives for decades, but it gained a much broader following
after
> > the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The only apparent constraint
on
> > US power had been removed, and the idea that the world will be a safer
> > place if it is governed by multilateral organisations under the rule of
law
> > began to give way to the fantasy that the United States can and should
make
> > the world a safer place (particularly for American interests) by the
> > unilateral exercise of its own immense power.
> >
> >    Official Washington was starting to oppose any new international
rules
> > that might act as a brake on the free exercise of US power even in Bill
> > Clinton's administration. It was Clinton, not George W. Bush, who fought
an
> > international ban on land mines and tried to sabotage the new
International
> > Criminal Court. President Bush's cancellation of the Anti-Ballistic
> > Missile Treaty, the US veto on new provisions for intrusive inspections
> > under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and Washington's more recent
> > rejection of similar attempts to write some provisions for enforcement
into
> > the Biological Weapons Treaty simply follow in the same path.
> >
> >    As Boston University professor and retired US army officer Andrew
> > Bacevich wrote in a recent edition of 'The National Interest', "In all
of
> > American public life, there is hardly a single prominent figure who
finds
> > fault with the notion of the United States remaining the world's sole
> > military superpower until the end of time." This is called hubris, and
it
> > is generally followed by nemesis. That will probably arrive during the
> > next phase of the fantasy: the wildly ambitious project to make the
> > conquest of Iraq the cornerstone for a wholesale restructuring of the
Arab
> > world along American lines.
> >
> >    "America has made and kept this kind of commitment before, in the
> > peace that followed a world war," said Mr. Bush late last month,
comparing
> > the project with the rebuilding of German and Japan after 1945. "We will
> > remain in Iraq as long as necessary." You don't know whether to laugh or
> > cry, but tears are probably more appropriate, for that is where this is
all
> > going to end.
> >
> >    Iraq is no more like Germany than Saddam Hussein is like Adolf
> > Hitler. Germany and Japan in 1945 were industrial states with strong
> > national identities, several generations' experience of democracy,
> > homogeneous populations, and fully professional bureaucracies. Iraq is
an
> > artificial state of competing ethnic identities with no democratic
> > tradition and a deeply politicised, totally corrupt state apparatus
> > dominated by a single ethno-religious minority.
> >
> >    Never mind running the world or spreading democracy throughout the
> > Middle East; merely occupying Iraq is likely to prove too heavy a burden
> > for the US public to tolerate for very long. The Kurds in the north will
> > try to keep the de facto independence they have enjoyed for the past ten
> > years, and the Turkish army will move in to ensure that they don't set
up
> > an independent Kurdistan that would act as a beacon for Turkey's own
huge
> > Kurdish minority. The Iraqi Kurds will fight if the Turks invade, and
> > America can either intervene in this no-win situation or leave the north
> > of Iraq to another round of bloody fighting.
> >
> >    The Shia Arab majority of Iraq's population, long excluded from
> > power by the Sunni Arab minority, will also try to leave Iraq unless it
> > gets the lion's share of power in Baghdad. That won't happen because the
> > loyalties of Iraqi Shias lie with their co-religionists in Iran, and
> > Washington will not allow a pro-Iranian government to emerge in Baghdad
> > that would control Iraq's oil and menace Saudi Arabia's. So the US will
> > end up running Iraq through the same Sunni Arab elite that Saddam
Hussein's
> > Baath party draws most of its members from, and as a result Shia
militants
> > will soon be attacking American occupation forces in southern Iraq.
> >
> >    The Romans dealt with this sort of stuff all the time.  In fact,
> > they often had four or five situations like this going on in various
parts
> > of their empire at the same time. They just spent the money, put in the
> > troops, took their casualties, and killed enough of the locals to make t
he
> > rest keep quiet. But does anybody seriously think that the current
> > generation of Americans is going to pay that sort of price for a world
> > empire that nobody except a narrow Washington-based elite really wants?
> > We are probably no more than two years away from a Somalia-style US
> > withdrawal from Iraq.
> > ___________________________
> >
> > Gwynne Dyer, Ph.D., is a London-based independent journalist whose
articles
> > are published in 45 countries.For more on Gwynne Dyer, please read his
GBN
> > interview
> > http://www.gbn.org/members/ideas/society/articles/pub_oneworld.htm


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