I think we’ve all heard a progressive tell us that ‘The American Imperialist Army is out to get everyone!’. Well I’d like to tell you why that’s not at all accurate.
Lets start way back 250 years ago in the colonial era, when it was perfectly in style to mark your claim in The Americas, Africa, and Asia. America emerged as a world power during this era, defeating the Worlds most capable global force, Great Britain, and distinguishing itself as a Nation to reckon with. Despite having a military force equivalent to that of the global superpower Portugal, The United States chose not to invest effort in sovereign conquest, and concentrate on domestic development.
For roughly 75 years, America maintained its withdrawal from intense global affairs. This impart came to in abrupt end when the US Navy embarked towards to Japan, controlled by the Shogunate, a Conservative party of leadership, at the time. When America arrived at Edo Bay in Uraga, Japan, with the intent of establishing trade relations, hostility became prevalent. When Commodore Matthew Perry entered harbour with two advanced gunboats, Japan took slight offence, and perceived this as a relative threat. Perry marched his 200 men onto the shore and drilled them continuously as a passive show of force. The Commodore requested an immediate meeting with King Shō Tai to negotiate trade agreements. To the benefit of both parties, combat was avoided. In the grand scheme of things, this was nothing too significant, nothing even historically noteworthy outside of this context, but it did mark the beginning of American global notoriety and involvement.
In the mid 1800’s, America had surpassed the military might of the worlds two most powerful nations, France with the greatest land systems, and Britain with the greatest naval systems. What did America do with this power? Well they certainly didn’t begin their global crusade for world domination. No, but they did fight the bloodiest war in national history. Not against helpless Congolese tribes, but against their own people with the aim of ending a great social injustice. Thats right, their first act of national concentrated warfare was to end slavery (This is discluding the Revolutionary War, as it was technically fought before America’s conception).
The early 20th century would prove to be a grim period. Chivalry was replaced by brutality, and heroism was rendered almost impossible, as bravery in the face of danger usually resulted in a quick burst of machine-gun fire and a large loss of life. 1914 would be the beginning of an era of merciless war. Total war. However there was one global super power that would not be dealt a crippling blow, and that was America. America had an exceptional geographic and geo-political situation. The US had few obligations to serve in the war, the opposite of their neighbour to the north, Canada, that had a bind of joint declaration. For America, this scenario would create an environment in which they could foster their production, development, and economy while the rest of the western world went up in flames. While America wasn’t involved in a significant way, they did suffer losses in a short period of combat. A total of 53,000. Less than that of any major British colony, but still worthy of our gratitude.
In the decades leading up to WW2, America refrained from any major conflicts. The 1920’s through 30’s consisted of two economic periods, The Boom and then The Depression. During The Depression, America’s economy collapsed, creating the conditions for mass suicide and even famine. In 1939 America’s economy was resuscitated by the demand for goods of war. For three years, America manufactured tanks, firearms, ammunitions, installations, nonperishable rations, and bulk refined metals for the Allied forces. America’s military absence would become abruptly unsustainable as a formidable portion of the JAF made several strafe runs on the Hawaiian based Pearl Harbour, America’s largest Naval facility at the time. With America’s declaration of war against Japan came the statutory declaration of war against Austro-Germany and Italy. America would go onto fight a three-year war, killing hundreds of thousands of young Americans, the nations second bloodiest war.
Military success was achieved in the Second World War, the Allied forces had claimed victory over the Axis Triad. Now what was the reward for the country that saved the Western world from Fascist domination? Nothing. In contrast to the USSR, which staked the entirety of Eastern Europe as new members of it’s Union. America had given everything it could to the war effort, and asked for nothing. Not only asking for nothing, but REBUILDING it’s former adversaries. I must say America, thats very unColonial of you.
Another reference to American ‘Colonialism’ is also made in connection to Vietnam. Well this is an easy one. The Vietminh had attacked our ally France, and in retaliation American, British, and even Australian troops were brought in to mitigate and eventually engage in full out combat upon the invasion of South Vietnam. To explain the fervour in which America fought with, I’ll say one thing, Russia. The Communist Russians had been sponsoring Vietminh efforts in order to distribute their doctrine. So lets see, fighting a declared enemy in a proxy war against an oppressive Communist regime attacking a renowned ally. Doesn’t sound like Imperialism to me.
Fast forward 30 or so years and you have the beginning of the American-Islamic conflict. With the proxy war between Communist China, Russia & Western Powers, mainly the US and Britain, came the instalment of the Taliban (C) 1980. The Taliban was the alternative to Communist control, not that it turned out well for the Afghani people. Some may consider this to be an example of mild Imperialism, but the goal of Imperialism is to extend the influence of an Empire to their advantage. But this interventionist action was made in an effort to halt the efforts of the ever-growing hand of The Soviet Empire. Put simply, this is what we call Anti-Imperialism. Fighting in an effort to minimize the reach of an Empire is not the same as expanding an Empire.
Between 1980-2000 several minor conflicts took place, mainly in the Middle-East and Africa. More specifically; Beirut, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, and Libya. All of these skirmishes and short campaigns were commenced in a peace-keeping effort. Some to track down international terrorists, and others to defend allied governments. Fast-forward 7 years and to 2001, when Al Qaeda radicals flew multiple jetliners into American landmarks and intelligence centres. The response to this act of war was swift and effective. The Taliban was dismantled and Al Qaeda was beaten into the sand, with the remaining leaders either being killed, captured, or in some cases, surviving the man hunt. America instilled Democracy in Afghanistan, aswell as funnelling billions of US dollars into reconstruction efforts.
Last but certainly not least is the war in Iraq. The most controversial topic of the decade. An event that defined party lines, and the legacy of a President. The war in Iraq is regarded by Liberals and Libertarians as a useless war, a war without purpose for the American people, in the quest to stabilize and secure rich oil deposits in the region. Well, if you ignore America’s past with Iraq that may be the conclusion you come to, but if you factor in Saddam’s lengthy record of human rights violations, chronic lying, admittance of guilt, acts of war, and ACTUAL war, you’ll likely come to the conclusion I have arrived at.
Saddam Hussain, the longstanding leader of Iraq, had engaged with American forces in the early 90’s despite many warnings on behalf of the American Armed Forces not to invade its neighbour Kuwait. Saddam disregarded this order and proceeded to send tank and infantry divisions into Kuwaiti territory, ravaging and burning oil fields. America responded with overwhelming force, ending the war within days. This is strike number 1, and almost forced the hand of President Bush Sr. to invade Iraq and overthrow its reckless leader. Strike number two came when the United Nations placed many mandates against Iraq, 16 of which were broken. Most notably, Saddam’s refusal to allow the inspection of his arsenals. When Saddam admitted to possessing SCUD missiles, a highly effective and devastating long-range weapon system, American leadership was at a dead-end. There seemed to be no other option. Negotiations were made impossible to continue when evidence was collected that the Iraqi government had used chemical gas to murder 5,000 Kurd men, women, and children, proving that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction. Bush’s hand was forced.
The United States has, despite being by far the worlds greatest power, made no efforts to seize, indefinately control, or engage in combat unprovoked. There is no nation in world history that has shown such temperament, and so much selflessness. America has been the only Western power in history to have the ability to colonize territory, but not utilize it.