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Is the US an imperialistic power? Why or why not? And if it is, is it benefiting the world as a whole, or simply the US's own interests?

Many people around the world have a view of the US as being an imperialistic power, is it? If so, there certainly are positives and negatives. Some may argue the US is simply following its own interests, while others may say it is providing a better world by bringing security and peace. Please provide your respectful opinions with supporting evidence.

  • Aug 25 2012: Zaid,
    I can't speak with any kind of authority on this topic. I would ask you to consider a few very important world events. You know the ones to study. Most US citizens were very reluctant to enter two world wars in the last century. We were asked and had to get involved to defend others. Consider what could be the result in Europe had we not helped defend against Hitler. There are major ideological differences for which many Americans are on guard to defend a great achievement--movement toward freedom. The world has not achieved high ideals of broad freedom in which people are safe and people have real opportunities for personal satisfaction for life.

    Consider what would be the world today had not people defended against tyrants. What so called tyrants comes to mind when you consider the past two hundred years or so?

    So with the above said and for the probability a lot more could be added to the above, my concept is the US has not intended to be an imperialistic power, but rather has been requested and ultimately forced by situations to get involved in defense.

    Is there truth in assuming bad governments and leaders would have a long term negative effect on humanity? The USA was founded on dreams of escaping monarchy and religious persecution. Consider whether the US Constitution is a better document than dictatorship law of other times and places.

    No, I think the overall intent for Americans is to get along well with people of all nations. Have leaders made errors? Yes! List them if you like; also list the GOOD things that have come out of good intending people of all nations, including the US of A!

    Our flag is no better than yours. It does stand for united folks who cherish freedom!
    • Aug 26 2012: Mark,
      Thank you for commenting and providing me with a good answer :). That is true, with the help of the US Europe was rebuilt and that has brought prosperity to all. However, so you are saying the US can be considered today's imperial power but was forced to hold that position? That is a good point though.
      Perhaps the word imperial is not the exact correct word...
      • Aug 26 2012: Well Zaid, I am hesitant to discuss this further because I am not fully aware of all international relations detail or United States Department of State policy. My concept is that USofA does not intend to be imperialistic in a broad sense. But, consider the motives of other nations! I would not consider the USA to be "king of the mountain" intentionally to determine history and condition of all other nations. What would be the situation if the Soviet Union had grown to dominate your country and many others in addition to those of its union? Would you prefer to be dominated by China?

        What would you rather have------protection from dictatorships through cooperative relations with USA and many other nations or a dominating dictatorship from any other nation?

        Do you have a political agenda?

        This is my final because I am not qualified to comment further. This is only a humble opinion. However, I do wish you peace, which has been discussed on TED.
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      Aug 26 2012: Mark, PLEASE check Wikipedia under World War 2 casualties before you brag about the American contribution again. We all know how you are indoctrinated and as a world we have been silent since WW2.
      When you read Canada's losses please note that many are subsumed under the British category for we were still considered a colony and remember that we were in from the START of that war.

      Keep in mind that most of what neuroscience knows about what torture does to the human brain comes from studies of Canadians who were abandoned and TORTURED for years in Japan in WW2. I have seen some - with their WITHERED parts.
      • Aug 26 2012: No bragging intended here Debra. He specifically asked about United States and I specifically addressed that point. Go ahead and tell him all about Canada and others! It is the cooperative relationships that are far more important than just one nation.

        I know about Canada's losses, at least some detail. If he had included Canada in his question or any other country we could have responded more broadly.

        So, please don't be offended. No offense is intended.

        I do suggest Zaid consider more broadly the international implications of broad cooperation for mutual good of all nations and not concentrate on imperialism as a topic.
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          Aug 26 2012: The world has sought your nation's cooperation for decades, Mark. Let's hope that they all believe in turning the other cheek. What i think is unlikely to work is the idea that America can demand that the slate be wiped clean.
  • Aug 26 2012: NO.
    America is not an Imperialistic power.
    It is an EVIL Imperialistic power.
    American citizens should be forced to walk through the devastation they have caused throughout the rest of the world (in the name of all Americans) just as German citizens were forced to walk through the nearby concentration camps, and see the truth of what the lies they chose to believe had done to others.

    Nicaragua was the fastest growing democracy in the history of the world, when the U.S. government decided to go there and get rid of Noriega. Today, more than 20 years later, they are near the very bottom of all countries in regards to poverty. They have never recovered. America doesn't like democracy because it means governing yourself and they want to govern all. That is one reason why they are destroying America.

    In his debate with his brother Peter, Christopher "deep-as-a-puddle-rhetoric" Hitchens interrupted an audience member who asked him if he would now admit the U.S. was Imperialistic. Hitchens said all they have been doing has been exactly that but this time (referring to invading Iraq), they got it right. Wow, what a wonderful and cheap way to dismiss decades of child murder, corporate poisoning, polluting, stealing of resources and destruction of any and all budding democracies they can lie the American people into believing they are spreading around the world.

    The natural tendency of religion is to Fascism. Believe this way or else we will convert you with torture, burning, crushing, ripping, sawing, mutilating and outright killing. In more modern times, believe this way or else you will go to hell, and we will send you there, or we will invade you, impoverish you and infect you as well as persecute, prosecute and incarcerate you.

    Go ask Jeeves, how do you think a self-proclaimed Christian country would behave today?

    The exact same way and we all (the world) have been witnessing it for decades, centuries, millennium.
    They aren't in fact providing the world with peace
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      Aug 26 2012: I couldn't have agreed more
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      Aug 26 2012: Has the U.S. done any good deeds?
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        Aug 27 2012: Is this the part where you tell us all how ungrateful we are?
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          Aug 28 2012: I was thinking more along the lines of incompetent...
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        Aug 28 2012: Wow, Pat, I did not think you could ever muster such humility.
    • Aug 26 2012: Random Chance,
      Thank you for bringing up Nicaragua as it is a great example. The US acts where it views it has interests. We have seen that in Libya vs Syria, Europe vs Latin America, etc, but wouldn't any other nation do the same? What do you think?
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        Aug 28 2012: No, I do not think so unless decepit forces took over that country and the people capitulated their rights to be vigilant and to speak up. Then maybe we are dealing with forces beyond their control like rapacious corporations where no one admits control.

        If you know that your lifestyle and your own advantages are on the backs of other nations and the sufferings of their people - I do not think most good people and especially Americans would sleep well at night but they do appear to sleep.
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      Aug 28 2012: You can only believe that America is a Christian Nation, if you have never visited a city in America. Come to LA and say that. Thomas Jefferson wrote his own bible, and took god and the miracles out... We are a very secular society. The rural south, is still very religious, predominantly because they are poor. Our senate, and electoral college give these sparsely populated areas too much voice and power.
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    Aug 26 2012: In some ways your question ties into Feyisayo's ongoing conversation about the place of minority in democracies.The "main stream" narrative hides the truth of a nation's purpose and agenda from is people.. I would like to think that if there were a people's referendum on the real issues national policy and national agenda would be very different.

    There is no question that Americans foreign policy has involved a great deal of exploitation and domination of other nations and other people but it is also true that the majority of Americans have not a clue about that. They believe the narrative they are given by their government and the enactments to that narrative provided by the ever declining 4th estate.

    What if, for example when America realized in the 70's that it was "post peak oil" ..that we could not produce a fraction of what we needed for our growth?. Would the common wisdom have evolved a very different national agenda with respect to our determination to control the oil reserves of other nations? In many ways America's worst behavior globally tracks back to this one decision..to what do about the reality of our dependence on foreign oil and how we proceeded to insure our control of adequate supplies.

    What if that had been a national discussion at the time ?..would we as a nation have chosen to embark on a shift at that moment in time to build an oil free economy? If we had done that would there have been a phony excuse to intervene in Libya? A phony excuse to invade Iraq?

    The average American has absolutely no idea about the details of America's imperialism..of its exploitation and domination of other nations and it is the majority narrative that Feyisayo is exploring in his current conversation
    that allows this imperialism to proliferate.
    • Aug 26 2012: Lindsay,
      Thank you for commenting and bringing the point of Feyisayo's conversation, I see how you tie those two questions together. So now that you say that it is imperialistic, would you say the US acts for its own benefit and interests solely, or would you say that the world as a whole benefits from this control ? I am thinking that the world needs a power to bring stability at least for today's world, perhaps not during an ideal future. Otherwise powerful tyrants would take control and consequences would erupts as did during WW2. Would you agree on that?
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        Aug 26 2012: Zaid..which U.S. intervention in the last 20 years would you say was more about protecting another nation that U.S. resource, military or strategic interests?
  • Aug 31 2012: It certainly seems to be a modern imperialistic power. It is not so blatantly obvious, but when digging into the affairs they involve themselves in, in becomes clearer and clearer their modus operandi. Why do you think they 'democratised' Iraq? Why do you think they supported the rebels against Gaddafi? Why do you think the U.S. wants to storm Iran, with the excuse of them having intentions to build a nuclear weapon? The conflict in Syria? The settlement in Afghanistan?

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4264.htm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O8vM0-6EEE

    Now, I don't claim it to be regarded as evidence, but it certainly shines a light into undisclosed matters. To learn more about the imperialism's arm of action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4eZBGSNcCA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFC18pFvo1g

    Do not get me wrong, the people of the U.S. are not the same as the Government and Corporations of this country. I have great respect for fellow man. For its governing institutions? Not so much...(Given the fact that the U.S. is a corporation owned system)
    • Sep 1 2012: Jan,
      Thank you so much this is great information, I have gone through all of your links.
      So now that you agree that the US is imperialistic, to take that further, what would you comment on this: that we as humans need a superpower to keep the stability, and the US as the world's imperialist is perhaps obviously better than any other (Japanese, a Nazi, or Soviet....). We've always had our imperialists since the start of civilization, and we will continue to have one until an idealistic utopian world exists. Say the US suddenly becomes isolationist, wouldn't another potential power take its place... Yes it has its errors and corporatism, but isn't the world in general a better place with that?
      I guess this can be considered an issue of human nature.
      What is your take on that, Jan?
      • Sep 1 2012: Perhaps the need for a deterrent (superpower) was necessary a hundred years ago, or perhaps for overcoming the two world wars. But it goes beyond superpowers, for if you analyze deeply, you can see that when you take profit out of war (money), there cannot be any. The arms industry is one of the single-most largest industry in the world. Furthermore, we have this divide & conquer mentality, because another nation has resources ones own nation needs (or wants).

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TygmRhS3Zos

        Sensible ideas have been put in motion by this project: www.thevenusproject.com (Documentary incl.). It is time we globalize, not under governmental or financial control (Central Banks nor Corporations), but under common terms.

        And to the aspect of corporatism, or capitalism for that matter, cannot work anymore, because companies are increasingly automating (thus taking away jobs). But it is not jobs we need, it is the access to resources. Furthermore, technology is not the problem, it is up to how we use it -either the betterment or the destruction of humanity (I prefer the former)-. No longer would we need to work for wage slavery, permitting us to chase our passions without having to worry about going hungry, or fighting for survival. In words of Jacque Fresco: 'We are as free as our purchasing power permits us to be.'

        Now, what societal system would you prefer? A competitive one? Or a cooperative one? Think about it. :)
        • Sep 3 2012: Jan,
          I completely agree with you regarding that point, thank you, but I don't believe that is possible today, I do however hope and believe that it can be in the future. "TheVenusProject" might be possible technologically, but I don't believe the people of the world today are mentally ready just yet, that is just my opinion though. Thank you for sharing the links!
  • Aug 31 2012: The United States is absolutely an imperialistic power, if you dont think so you are not paying attention to history. The United States has funded right wing, radical, death squads under president Reagan(contras). The U.S. played both sides in the Iraq Iran war by supplying arms to both Iran and Iraq. The U.S. under the guise of the wolfowitz doctrine has invaded, occupied, and set up a puppet democracy in Iraq. This endeavor was based on a lie and has been responsible for countless deaths of innocent woman and children.

    In 1953 the united states set up a puppet democracy when they installed the shaw in Iran. The shaw was a brutal and tyrannical leader who murdered many of his own people. This of course led to theocratic republic we now see in Iran.

    Vietnam garnered public support based on an admitted lie which led to the death of millions. America likes to claim that we are the liberators of the world, but its very simple, in my eyes we go to war with countries that don't accept our corporations or open themselves to western manipulation.

    The U.S. likes war we make billions off of it and the U.S. has continuously lied to the american public to engage in them.

    I live in the U.S. and its a great place to live, but our foreign policy is absolutely insane and our government has rolled over to corporate influence.

    "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

    -United States Marine Corps Major General and two time Medal of Honor recipient Smedley D. Butler
    • Sep 1 2012: Brian,
      Thank you for your comment. I want to pose to you the same question I asked Jan's post. Having concluded that the US is the today's world imperialistic power, would you say the world needs America's 'imperialism', 'policing'? Imagine a world today were America turns into an isolationist or non-interventionist, would the world as a whole be better without it? Or do you think there will be other powers that will fight to take its position, and how the world might look like under their 'imperialism'...
      • Sep 3 2012: Well i think the problem is that we only intervene in places which suit us economically. We didnt intervene in Darfur as genocide ensued. We didnt intervene in WW2 until we were attacked which the government may or may not have had prior knowledge about. We only seem to intervene in communist revolutions that threaten the wealth of the major powers in Americas government. This country has a sad history of intervening and nation building only when there is money and power to be earned by doing so. We are not in the business of liberation from tyranny. Its not so much the intervention i mind its our motives and selection of the places we choose to intervene.

        I definitely believe other governments would become imperial powers and i'm not sure how much different it would really look. Extrapolate the resources set up a colony under the guise of "the beauty" of communism, democracy etc.. Force your culture onto the people of that nation and continue to do so when nations are perceived as threat.

        What I mean to say is that intervention and policing is not a bad thing when its actions meet the rhetoric which politicians employ to sell the people.
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    Aug 28 2012: the US has 11 supercarriers, a mobile attack force, spread all over the world. the US spends as much on military as the rest of the world combined. what does that tell you?
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      Aug 28 2012: Some data about the US military balance:
      The military balance according to BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16428133

      Country Military budget
      US $739.3bn (!!!!!!)
      China $89.8bn
      UK $62.7bn
      Russia $52.7bn*
      India $31.9bn
      ==================================================================
      Also, from BBC, the US military personnel around the world, specially in the middle-east:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/16543456
      - over 207,000 in the middle-east alone.
      ==================================================================
    • Aug 29 2012: It tells me that we are still paranoid.

      If you look at the lessons of history from the USA point of view, this actually makes some sense.

      As I already wrote, many people in the USA value their illusion of security. The continental USA went unscathed through two world wars, and we are determined that we will not be the victims of the bombing raids that devastated Europe in WWII. The people of the USA are actually very self absorbed and would much prefer to stay out of international affairs. We were very reluctant to get into both of those wars, and eventually found that it was unavoidable. That experience taught us that the world is too interconnected to avoid entanglements. The reason for our global reach is simple; if there must be violence, let it occur over there, not over here. It is not that we want to spread war, we just refuse to be the victims of war. And we are willing to pay the huge cost necessary.

      From our point of view, Europe and Asia have been having wars for millenia. Many of our ancestors came to the new world in part to avoid those ceaseless, meaningless wars. When the rest of the world learns the lesson of peace, then we will very likely get rid of our military too. We will be the very last to do so.

      At one point the state of California had a flag with a rattlesnake on it and the words "Don't tread on me." That is a fairly good representation of the attitude of the people of the USA. If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone; if you tread on us, we will bite you.

      Unfortunately some of our government leaders did not always agree with this idea. They had a military at their command and thought it was a tool to use as they wished. Those leaders hurt their victims, but also the people of the USA.
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        Aug 29 2012: it does not really matter. we also can assume that the people of nazi germany or acient rome were not fans of expansionist policies either. but the action of a state is not always directly derivable from the preferences of the people.

        what you say, basically, is not that the US is not imperialistic, but rather explains why it is.
        • Aug 29 2012: The above reply was meant as an explanation, not an opinion. Your comment asked a question and I was giving you an answer. Huge military expenditures do not necessarily mean that the US is imperialistic.

          I already stated my opinion that this is a very complicated issue. The answer depends largely on your point of view. I agree that from the point of view of anyone outside of the US, the US appears imperialistic.

          "the action of a state is not always directly derivable from the preferences of the people."

          This actually made me laugh. The notion that the actions of the US government derive from the preferences of the people seems comically naive.
  • Aug 28 2012: I am not particularly well read in this, but here is my very humble opinion:

    I think the answer to this question is VERY complicated.

    1. Has the USA government had a consistent policy of imperialism? No. There is nothing much about our government that is consistent over decades and centuries, especially government policies. Sometimes it has had imperialistic polices, with mixed success. We have a long list of places our military has dominated, and then we later voluntarily evacuated. Historically this is very rare. Anyone making a case that the USA is politically or geographically imperialistic has a very tough job.

    2. Does our military want a global reach? Absolutely. It is the job of the military to defend the USA and with modern technology, any general worth his stars would be telling the president that a global reach is necessary to protect our citizens. That global reach makes the world nervous, of course. From the point of view of the USA generals, that is both good and bad. From the viewpoint of the State Department that is more bad than good. From the viewpoint of the world, it probably looks imperialistic.

    3. Are we economically imperialistic? Of course. We are the biggest economy in the world and, wherever it may be, the biggest economy in the world will always be imperialistic. That is the nature of economics.

    4. Are the people of the USA imperialistic? Absolutely no. We just want a better life. Most of us have no interest in most of the world. Our self absorption is probably our biggest fault, and this is shared world wide. The majority are largely unaware of the imperialism of our big corporations.

    5. Unfortunately, many people here believe they have a right to be secure and have the illusion that they are secure. Events like 9/11 make them crazy, and their politicians react to this insanity. This not an excuse, just my opinion.

    Not justifying anything. The USA is guilty of lots of bad stuff. We also have a big heart.
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      Aug 28 2012: Best answer. I would only add, every economy, is and should be imperialist. Everyone should think "We're number 1", just to keep up local spirits and economic investment.

      Also, number 5 made us take on a decade of truly violent and imperialist tactics... but hopefully we will overcome them.
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      Aug 28 2012: @ Barry.
      Did you know that the phrase "Manifest Destiny" and asserting it will probably get you in big trouble in Canada?

      That is because the USA enshrined in their laws or propaganda that their MANIFEST DESTINY is to occupy all of NORTH AMERICA.

      That really ticks us oFF! Not imperialistic? You ALREADY invaded us once and we burnt down your white house to make it clear that we really resent it when you invade us- that's why it is the white house= you paint it to cover up the smoke marks.
      The university that i went to is named after the GENERAL in that battle that your guys killed.
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    Gail .

    • +1
    Aug 26 2012: The US is a dangerous government these days. It is owned by corporations that profit from war and human suffering. We are like an insanity virus that is spreading over the entire globe.
  • Aug 26 2012: The US isn't an Imperialist power. It just happens to be where most of the money is. Money is imperialistic.
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      Aug 26 2012: This is the forever mantra that keeps you blind and keeps the world suffering. How dare you? Is it so that you can sleep at night and ignore all the evidence?
      • Aug 26 2012: Hmmmmm? It just makes sense that a government will only do what it is pressured into.

        Money = control = pressure to do what the money dictates.

        It just so happens to be that the big money is in the US, and the US has the most resources, so the big money manipulates the US to do things for the sake of the big money people. This is turn leads to smaller follower countries such as the UK diving into it all too.

        Money talks, war is business, etc.

        I'm not American.

        I know what you were saying - it's true that people are blind to their own country's problems. A lot of British people (I'm British) think our military is somehow different from the others in the world. It's some kind of knock-on effect from the stuff they teach us in school about the greatness of the British Empire and the heroics of world war 2. Modern day Britons live in a pretty dark shadow, and it's only the general stereotyping and propaganda that gives them this strange pride for such awful things. And so I conclude that Americans are the same. They aren't stupid, they're just unaware. Same goes for religious people, actually. As much as I hate religion, it's just down to accidental ignorance.

        Anyway just think about what I said...

        Money is imperialism.

        Why? Because the only motivation for any kind of war is for personal gain for the attacker. Capitalism, acquisition, imperialism, etc - all general derivatives of a system where people want more.

        And so... of course there needs to be more strength in the people of governments, but money, without questionable doubt, is the controlling factor, and that is why bad things happen.

        Consider most of Africa, with all it's poverty advertised daily. Try telling me a continent the size of Europe (or bigger?) doesn't have enough fertile land to feed its people. So... why are they all starved? It's probably something to do with the big money from foreign investors taking all the resources.

        Money, money, money. That's the problem.
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          Aug 26 2012: Your critque is more than valid and I apologize,Stuart. Thank you for correcting me so well and so kindly.

          I admit to thinking it was simply another hollow justification by an American.
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    Aug 26 2012: Zaid, as you pose this question, would you also please provide your opinion with your supporting evidence?

    This excerpt from Wikipedia seems consistent with Robert's reply below:

    Imperialism has been found in the histories of Japan, the Assyrian Empire, the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, Greece, the Byzantine Empire, the Persian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, ancient Egypt, and India. Imperialism was a basic component to the conquests of Genghis Khan during the Mongol Empire, and other war-lords. Historically recognized Muslim empires number in the dozens. Sub-Saharan Africa has also had dozens of empires that pre-date the European colonial era, for example the Ethiopian Empire, Oyo Empire, Asante Union, Luba Empire, Lunda Empire and Mutapa Empire. The Americas during the pre-Columbian era also had large empires in Mesoamerica, such as the Aztec and the Inca.

    Britain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Imperialism not only describes colonial and territorial policies, but also economic and military dominance and influence.

    Although normally used to imply forcible imposition of a more powerful foreign government's control on a weaker country, or over conquered territory that was previously without a unified government, "imperialism" is sometimes also used to describe loose or indirect political or economic influence or control of weak states by more powerful ones.[3] If the dominant country's influence is felt in social and cultural circles, such as "foreign" music being popular with young people, it may be described as cultural imperialism.

    "Imperialism has been subject to moral censure by its critics, and thus the term is frequently used in international propaganda as a pejorative for expansionist and aggressive foreign policy."[3]
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      Aug 26 2012: Fritzie

      Makes a good point in that often the other countries welcomed a better way of life and the knowledge and organization that goes with it. As was the case with Rome, Germany, England, and the U.S.
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        Aug 26 2012: Please!
        if we bought anything and if we were hoping anything it was 'America the Good" as represented by Frank Cappra and De Toqueville. PLEASE!

        It is simply ethnocentriism that we are all just like you that allows this belief that we are all motivated by greed and avarice.
    • Aug 26 2012: Fritzie and Pat, thank you for your comments.

      Fritzie,

      I am currently doing a research on this topic which is very controversial and may be sensitive to some, and there is so much research to do. At the moment, I definitely believe the US is today's imperialistic power, according to the definition that it has military, economic, and cultural influence over other countries. The US is a very capitalistic nation, and like everyone else, it wants its own best interest and therefore acts upon it.

      The US has hundreds of military bases all around the globe, in over 60 countries. Economically, the US has an advantage of the dollar's role as a key currency. Being the biggest aid donor might make the US seem as a generous nation, however it is arguable that this is only a method to make others dependable on the aid, therefore gaining control, as such in Israel as Stuart said, as well as in international organizations.
      Politically, the US's interventionist foreign policy plays a major role too. There were several attempts of overthrowing or supporting the overthrowing of Latin American governments such as Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, supporting tyrants, and so on. This all plays to the best interest of the US.

      In perhaps most cases, nations welcome this dominance and possibly view it as a cooperative, mutually beneficial activity, as with Europe during the Cold War as Mark has said. Nations may view the bases as providing them with security as well. Also, one can argue that the world needs an imperial power to bring stability and peace, as the US has asserted in most parts of the world, though there may be peace, harmony would be another issue.

      This is my personal opinion, a lot of research is still to be done. This is a very arguable topic, so please help by giving your opinions on that.
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        Aug 26 2012: Thank you, Zaid. I always appreciate knowing what the questioner is thinking thus far.
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        Aug 27 2012: Zaid, how are you pursuing your research to make sure you will get balance in points of view and arguments?

        Here is an article by a young scholar at the University of Michigan who takes up your subject. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~geostein/docs/SteinmetzReturn.pdf He is a sociologist, which means he probably considers this question from a different angle than someone who is actually a specialist in Political Science or International Relations.

        I have not read the article, but I hope either the article or its bibliography will give you some leads as to scholarly work in this area.

        This is not an area of expertise for me, and there may be much better work out there. Specifically, I hope you find some work by those in the field of Political Science and International Relations.
        • Aug 28 2012: Fritzie,
          Thank you, this is great help for my research. Well I am doing my best to get a balanced conclusion by studying both sides of each significant event in history related to my topic. I can go back from the 1800s till today, but would prefer to focus on 20th century events, during the 1930s until the Bosnian war, may include the Iraq war as well.
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        Aug 28 2012: The United States of America is no longer a "very capitalist nation". We are now a "pretty darned socialist nation". We subsidize oil, and corn worldwide. We destroyed our own copyright law, which used to expire at 25 years. We print money, "loan" it to banks, then when they can't pay it back we "bail them out".

        If we were capitalist, we would be much less imperialist. Capitalism is about local home bias, dedicated to improving yourself and the individuals around you, spreading virally throughout the world so that everyone can succeed. Capitalism is about free markets, and competition, America no longer tolerates those things, save in technology, and university education.
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      Aug 26 2012: It is UTTERLY unconscionable to defend and support a system that one does not understand or see themself. If this system that America exports is utterly immune to new recognition, if it mindlessly defends actions and events of which you are personally unaware - how can you pretend to know?

      I do understand more now about how highly conservatives value INGROUP loyalty. HOWEVER! Did anyone ever consciously mean that in order to belong to the group you want to believe in that you have to turn off you brain and any ability to hear the cries of all those who are being hurt?. I think that is much more the definition of a GANG.


      The first step is to ADMIT that you know things have been done within your own country that you did not know about or support. If you are so convinced you have done perfectly, why is your own country in such emotional, financial and spriritual turmoil? iS it because things and everyone there is perfect? If you do not trust the input, perhaps something more neutral is something that will have credibilty, after all I am not a citizen so your logic may lead you to beleive that as I am not part of this INGROUP - i cannot be telling theTRUTH. So go check Wikipedia on Unethical human experimentation in the United States, If they tried and did those heinous things there where you caught them -eventually after much suffering- whyis it impossible to believe the such evil and resourceful human beings would move to other places our of your line of sight?
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        Aug 26 2012: I agree with most of your argument, however, GANG, GROUPTHINK, occur on both sides. We must remember Wikipedia is editable. Every search I've done that has political implications was slanted to a liberal view of the accounts. As if the assumed audience was of the LEFT persuasion. So, while you make a strong argument, I would not base that argument on information comming from Wikipedia.

        I don't affiliate myself with with either side. My core belief is minimal government, free enterprise. Although conservatives infer small Government, their actions prove out to the contrary. I don't think either side is acting in the best interests of it's people.

        My personal belief is that our election system is staged in such that when it comes to the global issues, such as this imperialism, both sides have the same agenda. Thus, we citizens have no real choice in the matter at all.

        As far as I know The United States doesn't own resource rights in other countries. We pay for it and that money is distributed in the local economy of that particular nation...more over even though our imports are still trailing our exports, it illustrates that many things that Americans buy are produced in other countries. I'm not sure this fits the imperialistic model.

        http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/data/
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          Aug 26 2012: Thanks for your well reasoned and supported arguements and I think there is an important place for neutals in every discussion just as there should be more room made for undecideds who are often persons of GREAT integrity. Bias is on all sides, of course but for now in this state of affairs i will stick with those and find the greatest hope in those who have FAIRNESS and JUSTICE as their primary values for they are SORELY needed. When those goals are accomplished I will move on to the rest.

          As to your focus on Wikipedia, I agree but how many people are going to go the sources i learned about in my MBA? For many who want quick information there is a trade off so I think you might admit that with short time lines and character limits I at least have worked to move people forward in their thinking. If anyone seeks forward movement in their thinking that is.

          It does not matter whether or not an American owns a resource if he or she owned the people who do or the company who directs their sale and their use.

          I am NO POLITICIAN, obviously! In the end I am not trying to define the phenomenon = just limit or eliminate its deleterious effects from my country, my world and my LIFE and the lives of those who are destroyed by it.
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          Aug 26 2012: YOU call United States Department of TRADE links MORE NEUTRAL?????????????
          OMG!
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        Aug 26 2012: The Foreign Trade data was posted merely to suggest that the U.S. my not fit the definition of Imperialism. I would not be surprised if the data were somewhat doctored through misleading percentages. I would support this site as more neutral:
        http://www.transparency.org/
      • Aug 29 2012: Debra: "why is your own country in such emotional, financial and spriritual turmoil?"

        Perhaps you have a different point of view, because I learned the history of the USA from within. But I was taught that this country has always been in turmoil. It is inherent to our mode of freedom. I compare it to skating and skiing, where you are constantly out of balance within limits. If you exceed the limits, you crash.
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      Aug 26 2012: @Fritzie, you want us to illustrate the world wide evidence to set up a straw man with a single flaw that your training has taught you how to decimate.That does not make your result TRUTH.

      I sent you a video, that clealy illustrated that others in econonics- your own specialty- believe that the current system must eternally expand which is utterly not viable and you did not even deign to comment or reply so FORGIVE us if we decline to play as we recognize the TACTIC.
      We are not playing with tactics here because it is NO GAME to us- just as it would not be if it were your country or your people - but wait - suddenly it is and it is as though it is another Timothy McVie.
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        Aug 26 2012: Debra, I provided no result here at all. As I am not well educated in this area, and as Robert had offered an interesting answer, I followed up by consulting Wikipedia, which is not an infallible source but it a good source for checking quickly. I then shared that in case others might learn something from it.

        If your response about conservatives and ingroup loyalty and the US's being perfect was directed also to me, I can only say that I do not line up at all with any of the system of beliefs you now attribute to me.

        I did listen to the video. I thought the economist had a useful idea about considering environmental debts and interest. The video did not take the perspective of any single country but suggested a viable way as a planet.

        I did not comment there, because I did not want to steer the thread to a particular topic, when the thread did not seem to be about that.

        But as I wrote, I appreciated your thinking of me. I am deeply sorry I have offended you by not commenting on the video in that thread.
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          Aug 26 2012: Fritzie the stakes here should not be minimized to the level of offending a particular individual which you did not. i was surprised that a normally mannerly person with my email did not respond to a gift. My point in sending it to you was to affirm that i am not the only one who is asserting that the current system CANNOT indefinately and perpetually expand which is a current mainline assumption.
          It does demonstrate, as you point out that many of us have hearts larger than our own countries - and as I am Canadian- that is large indeed. We are committed to the world as a whole and to its people and NOTHING will back us down until we have NO BREATH IN OUR BODIES. This has gone on too long and hurt too many.
          Please take note- i believe that lady in the TEDx video I sent you is American.

          I am not offended, Fritzie, I think you are wonderful and in my world love covers a multitude.
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        Aug 26 2012: Many Americans too have hearts that do not focus narrowly. This includes those with roots here that go back hundreds of years to those of us who are first generation. What's more, I believe a vast majority are entirely aware that the current system needs serious adjustment in the sense that bad decisions have been made at many levels, processes of problem solving are not functioning well, environmental impacts are not being internalized meaningfully into decisions in most places in the world, and most of the pain from these problems is felt by those who are poor.
        I would have called that the mainstream assumption in the United States, though I have taken no poll.

        The woman in the video is an American educated in Italy.
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          Aug 26 2012: thanks for this poigniant response. I must not be able to communicate as well as I had hoped but I will try to make my position utterly transparent.

          I see what you are saying and further -I believe it with my whole heart. I am trying to get you guys to let me stand WITH you all. I just want to be part of the solution.

          You know that "they" always wondered what good would come of educating WOMEN and MINORITIES- and even though parts of my own family have been a part of Canada for more than 7 generations, I think it is time to show 'them' and ourselves just what good will come of it all.
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        Aug 26 2012: I firmly believe we can all be part of solutions and that gender and ethnic origin are increasingly irrelevent in that.. No one is out of the picture. We each need to find the ways in which we can be most effective.

        In Canada do you have the children's book series Where's Waldo? I think that it is possible that people look over borders and oceans and imagine some monolithic people, uniform in belief.

        I think in many countries we are much more like Where's Waldo, with lots of people with diverse ideas and interests energetically trying to do all sorts of things.
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          Aug 26 2012: Then we are in agreement, Fritzie as we most often are.
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    Aug 31 2012: Americans are great teachers,they might not know it but it's probably one of their greatest strengths but i could do without the foriegn policy.
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    Aug 31 2012: Worthy of mention is that the U.S. gets attacked more as well, certainly more than Hungary or Canada.

    There is the old saying live by the sword die by the sword. I say don't live by the sword and die sooner. When the U.S. gets 3000 citizens killed on it's own shores, I say hunt the bastards down and use ALL 11 carrier groups and kill them dead. This along with the cold war is more self defense than imperialism. But I doubt Hungary or Canada has had deal with this sort of thing so it becomes quite academic doesn't it? By no means should the U.S. apologize for existing.

    Not that there are not transgressions on the U.S. side as well but not nearly as black and white as you would have people believe.
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      Aug 31 2012: "U.S. gets attacked more as well"

      maybe there is a reason for it
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        Aug 31 2012: Maybe I don't know. But that would infer that the attacks are rational.

        The reality is that the more people are aware of you the more certain types of people attack you. It has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with money and power. Anyone who has been in business will tell you this.

        No doubt there is crony capitalism that benefits from conflict. But at the same time no matter what you do you will have enemies.

        I believe you think that if you practice non aggression this will not be a problem. I would have to put that down as a fallacious meme.
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          Aug 31 2012: it still does not make sense to defend the US in iraq, does it? also, an aircraft carrier on the indian ocean does not defend the US either.

          btw the fallacy is that terrorists attack the visible and the rich. they attack the perceived enemy, and it is israel and the US for their activities abroad.
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        Aug 31 2012: It makes sense if the enemy is in Iraq or the Indian Ocean or within striking distance of that location.

        I don't have a clue what the level of reconnaissance is for the U.S. Admittedly the reconnaissance indicating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was bogus. But that is the nature of war, it is not as dubious as it appears.

        In the terrorist's mind is there a difference between the visible and the rich and the perceived enemy?

        I know something about this type of individual through experience. The main thing I take away from these type individuals (whom are not peculiar to a location) are they are insane and do attack what they see which not a fallacy in my experience.
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          Aug 31 2012: sigh

          if you really want to believe that people want to attack the US for its visibility, i can't disturb that view. just saying that it is ridiculous.
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        Aug 31 2012: Duly noted.

        But keep in my mind we are not talking about rational people. Their ilk is Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. These guys are famous examples but you run into them all the time and don't realize it, they are about 2% of the population.

        They do a good job at appearing normal until they feel comfortable that revealing their true intentions won't harm them. The mistake when dealing with these types is to underestimate what they will do.

        If you have had to deal adversarialy with these types you know what I'm saying is true
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    Aug 25 2012: All countries past and present would eventually if given the chance would follow the imperial road to the purple.
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      Aug 27 2012: I do not think Ghandi would agree, Ken:

      When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.
      Mahatma Gandhi
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        Aug 28 2012: Can't argue with that one Deb.

        There's a new Horizon out there.

        We need more women in government that won't show case their wives and children and grandmothers like prizes.The more we have i think the less conflict will arise.
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          Aug 28 2012: Gee, Ken, don't most men in politics showcase the same thing?
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        Aug 28 2012: I thought "OH i typed it wrong" but your response is what i meant.
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    Aug 25 2012: Zaid, FYI it would have been very helpful to know your home land in order to better form a response. The age of Imperialism is essentially gone ... ending in the mid 1800's. The term is currently used in international propaganda as a pejorative for expandsionist and aggressive foreign policy. However, by defination Imperialism operates from the center, it is a state policy, and is developed for the ideological as well as finacial reasons. Whereas Colonialism is nothing more than development for a settlement or commerical intentions.

    I make no attempt to justify the US policies and quite honestly do not believe that Secretary of State Clinton acts in the best interests of the United States or in good faith to other countries. I can say that in the USA, however, if we were a imperialistic nation I would not be allowed that priviladge as it would defy state policy. I would ask that you and others evaluate the known facts and history before accepting the propaganda of those who wish the United States ill.

    In the final analysis the decision is up to each of us on how to view others.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Aug 25 2012: It must be in ALL our interests in a world that is so very and totally connected.



      As one of the most vocal and some might believe, most critical persons of the USA on this site, I have to say that I am NEVER trying to hurt your nation or more especially your people. I am however, reporting the realities of my life as it has been influenced by your government or agencies or corporations which I see as empowered by your people in my own land. and I live in your neighbouring country where even basic manners dictate that one treat a neighbour well because you have to witness what you do. Unfortunately Canadians in general are more stoic than I can maintain and i need you to know what the effects are and I have written extensively about it on other questions as recently as today.


      I am TRYING to return love to you in return for all the harm, and even mindless or entitled pain that your nation has given ours, as someone who is trying to get you to see. If you see and if you act, you can prevent the pain I see around us both.

      Until now, I think your people might have thought you were in this alone, that it was your pain to bear and I hope I am demonstrating that we all feel this pain-world wide- so let's somehow work together to make it better.

      i know you are proudly independent. It is one of your great charms but when men love women, as an illustrative parallel, they do learn to be more tender and more humble and more open to help.
      In this spirit, I offer this song, that I heard for the first time today to your nation as an encouragement. It starts out in a sad place but the will to live - the will to make a life - the will that brought me out of a coma to drive you all nuts- is embodied in it to me. It is called 'Fire it up"

      http://youtu.be/E5uF-SeRc7s
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        Aug 26 2012: Deb, That is redundant to say that women are vocal and critical. (The devil made me say that) LOL.

        HOWEVER, It is entirely possible that yoour reply was to another question. ..." When men love a women they do learn to be more tender ...."

        I am trying hard to link that to the question: Is the US A Imperalistic Power?

        Can we reverse the coma thing .... sleep debra ... sleep debra ... Sleep .....

        See ya buddy. Bob.
      • Aug 26 2012: Debra,
        I am sorry that was kind of confusing, can you please rephrase what you are trying to say?
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          Aug 26 2012: I will try, thankyou for the opportunity. Let me know if the revision is clearer.
          My 2nd response to Bob is all I have to say on this topic to that fine man.
      • Aug 26 2012: Thank you Debra for your opinion, so I understand from you that you say the US is an imperial power, can you please explain how and why your opinion is as such?
    • Aug 26 2012: Robert,
      Thank you for your comment. My homeland has nothing to do with this as I am simply asking everyone's opinions on this subject no matter where they are from. Imperialism does not necessarily mean aggressive foreign policy or colonialism, but rather the economic, military, and cultural influence over other nations. As Mark has said, some positives are the rebuilding of Europe which has brought prosperity to all. I think it is a modern day imperialistic power but that does not necessarily connect with "evil propaganda". There are currently hundreds of military bases in over 36 countries around the world. This is supposed to keep security and protect American interests. The US is the world's biggest aid donor as well.
      • Aug 26 2012: The US might be the biggest aid donor but... I once read that their foreign aid is dwarfed by the amount of free aid they give to Israel alone. Hmmmmm........ What's with that? Surely there are other places where the aid would be much better used..?

        Hmmmmm.......
  • Aug 25 2012: Zaid, perhaps you can explain the cause of the relatively high poverty rates in some countries without seeking external "villains." Suppose the cause of poverty, injustice and misery is within the nations that experience those things. I wonder where you think the power for improving the lives of human beings resides.
    • Aug 26 2012: Rhona,
      I am not accusing the US of any wrong doings, but simply asking the question of whether or not it can be considered an imperial power? Yes, the US is the world's biggest aid donor, that is a fact. But with the hundreds of military bases around the world and the, perhaps control over other nations, does that make it an imperial power?