Republic or Empire?

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by leeg, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. leeg
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    leeg Guest

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    Republic or Empire?
    Let's cut to the chase. No civilization has suceeded in creating both at the same time.
    Citizens of free republics make lousy conquerers and occupiers. So what are the advantages of setting aside this long running experiment in self-governance in in order to gain control of the world's resources? How will ordinary citizens' lives be different? Can military force replace moral force in the world? What price will those who still cling to liberty and tradition have to pay?
    Let's thrash it out on the field of ideas before events engulf us all.
     
  2. leeg
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    wow - I can hear that question ricocheting around the empty room.
    Let's come back to it in a year when our backs are to the wall.
    happy thoughts to all!
     
  3. SLClemens
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    Leeg,

    You raise a very important question here. And I like the way you set it up - no country is ever going to be entirely republican or entirely imperial, but it does seem that in principle it's a choice between one or the other.

    Just think for a moment if we could reduce our fuel consumption by 10%, how much easier it would be to be a republic than an empire. What would it take? Replace a few SUVs with minivans, properly inflate our tires, a few people living closer to work, more nuclear and hydroelectric power ... maybe we could go for far more than a 10% reduction. No longer foreign policy dictated by oil interests, no US military presence in the Mid-East, no planet unbelievably pissed off at us. I could live with that.
     
  4. leeg
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    you got that right - If we could wean ourselves from the oil which so distorts our foreign policy, this country would be more secure and more able to be a positive influence in the world. But the boys in Washington have a faith-based energy policy.
    They believe we are destined to use all the world's reserves and then the invisible hand of the market will intervene and create a magical new energy source. A more logical approach might be to plan ahead and begin to make the transition now. That's the approach other leading industrialized countries are taking.
     
  5. dijetlo
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    Hey leeg, I have a couple of issues with your post, though overall I wonder the similar things.

    >>Republic or Empire... No civilization has succeeded in creating both at the same time. <<

    Rome is a glaring exception to the rule you mentioned. The first emperor was crowned 27 BCE, at that time the Roman Republic/Empire stretched from Syria to the English Channel . Now, it was rife with incompetence and corruption well before the republic collapsed, but your underlying argument is flawed.
    >> Can military force replace moral force in the world? <<
    Based on results from the cold war, no.
    >>…in order to gain control of the world's resources?…<<
    It is important to remember that the other side in this argument doesn’t see it as an oil grab, but as a larger effort to bring peace and security to a suffering region. The fact that we were brought here (Iraq) under false pretenses is starting to penetrate the consciousness of the electorate and the oil connection is not going to be far behind. People love a good scandal. Expect a full court press from the Dems’ once they have their candidate. If they are successful, special counsels will bloom like the apple blossoms on the Potomac in the spring. (They thought Clinton was scandal ridden…)
    >>… How will ordinary citizens' lives be different…<<
    Largely, they wont. We are a very big country and the majority of us are only dimly aware of what is going on in Iraq. The pressure, as allways, comes from the fringes. Here the debate is sharp. As you move towards the middle of the political spectrum, you're still geting a lot of this.

    :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh:.
     
  6. leeg
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    an intelligent post - From what I remember about the late Roman Republic, Caesar came to power and invaded Gaul and then Britain. Soon after he crushed the last of the Republican resistance. After that power continued to flow into a single office and things eventually went to hell under the rule of a series of complete incompetents.
    During the time Rome was a viable republic, (not ruled by dictators) it was peaceful and stable.
    Anyway, there are some parallels to our current situation. Once politics became a circus in Rome and the power of the elected Senate was eroded, and the end of the Republic was at hand.
    Lee
     
  7. spillmind
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    :huh:

    you got me there too. maybe some people here can attempt that one.

    depends on if that supply of oil is suddenly much more expensive.

    for most americans, if you interrupt convenience, or suddenly raise the price on something so necessary for american domestic commerce, it will be all it takes to piss them off. most americans don't give a rat's ass about anything until it shows up on the doorstep. i argue we have become too comfortable in general. :rolleyes: my 2 cents

    all opinionated speculation here. i think that always in some way the military will always hold sway- at least in an american system.
    which is *exactly* why i have a big problem with the association of faith and government.

    i'm afraid to wonder what lengths money will go to maintain control. i argue that if someone (grassroots)- a candidate of the common man ilk came into popularity or had a chance at winning the presidency- not the sponsored puppets that are set up to win it- that 'something' would happen to that person, 'coincidentally' to keep them from actually becoming president. i think that the dream of regular working, white/blue collar people like you and i ever having a chance at being president is a present day fallacy.
     
  8. Bry
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    Perhaps it's just a side point, but the US started down the road to empire long before oil or natural resources were a real issue. It started, at the latest, with the Spanish American war, (though the tendency toward empire is implicit in a nation originally composed of 13 states, that winds up with 50 states) and the subsequent "liberation" of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines among others. That was at the end of the age of colonization in the traditional sense, which was gradually replaced by a different, and arguably more dominating form of colonization, the concept of which is known as "zones of influence", by which private corporations more that conventional armies are increasingly the vehicle for suppresion (The Iraq example arguably shows both aspects, though the end vehicle of domination of Iraq would decidedly be their lasting dependence upon US corporations, after US corporations have rebuilt the country's infrastructure: undoubtedly, such rebuilding would be done in such a way as to make the Iraqis permanently dependent on the US to keep those new and frequently specific technology-based infrastructures up and running.)

    The danger which I see, then, is not so much an implicit contradiction between republic and empire (which is arguable), but the danger of giving such a priveleged position to the corporations: the real threat to our Republic is the incontrovertible influence exerted over its processes by the corporations at the expense of the population.
     
  9. dijetlo
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    >> the danger of giving such a priveleged position to the corporations:<<

    Corporations are by definition motivatedly solely by profit, a failure to be so motivated opens the board of directors to charges of failing in there fiduciary responsiblities which leads to personal lawsuits. Adam Smith spoke alot about the "guiding hand of providence" but you wont find that hand in many corporate boardrooms. I think your point is well taken.
     
  10. AshamedAmerican
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    AshamedAmerican Evil Empire Citizen

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    This country was founded as a republic.
    It is now a fascist state. :whip:
     

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