To be Imperial is to possess, or hope to possess, an empire, and these slanders have been made for about a century now. The Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines “empire” as “a group of countries ruled by a single person, government or country.” Oxford paperback dictionary calls it “a large group of states under single authority.” Cambridge goes on to define “imperialism” as “a system in which a country rules other countries, sometimes having used force to obtain power over them.”
ANY rational person can see that the United States does not meet these qualifications by any stretch of the imagination. What nations do we rule? Whose legislative bodies can we overturn with a wave of the hand? Where on this planet do people live under an American flag who do not wish to? And as Jonah Goldberg correctly points out, where are our governors and our tax collectors so that we can siphon off the meager wages of our Imperial Slaves? What kind of empire does not have these imperial mechanisms?
At the end of World War II, America stood astride the world as the unchallenged military and economic power. The terrible might of Germany and Japan lay crushed in smoldering ruin. Great Britain, bled white by the near-total loss of two successive generations of their best and brightest, was in barely better shape. China was a collection of pre-industrial peasants fighting a bitter civil war, and nowhere in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America did there exist anything more than local defense militias.
Only the Soviets remained as a potent military force – and that force was essentially tactical, not strategic, in nature. While strong in tanks, artillery and men, it had no navy to speak of, and an air force consisting mostly of close support ground-attack aircraft such as the Il-2 Sturmovik. While effective against ground targets, the Red Army in 1945 had nothing resembling US heavy bombers such as the B-17, the B-24, or the magnificent B-29.
On the other hand, the United States not only had what was far and away the world’s preeminent Navy; we also had large numbers of long-range strategic bombers and swarms of highly-seasoned fighter escorts. We had a Marine Corps flush with victories: battle-hardened men who had invented through blood and horror the means to go ashore on enemy beaches and stay there. We had an Army whose courage and skill in battle was unsurpassed, and whose critical supply and ordinance staffs were, by far, the best in the world.
And, of course, we had the atomic bomb, and the will to use it.
History has never, and will never, record a time when such power existed in the hands of a nation, nor of a time when opposing forces were so weak and in such a state of disarray and abject surrender.
And these feared and ruthless Americans, a people who had incinerated cities in Europe and Japan and whose ferocity and tenacity on island jungles and French beaches had brought fanatical warrior cultures to their knees – what did these new conquerors of the world do?
They went home is what they did. They did pause for a few years to rebuild the nations sworn to their destruction and the murder of their people. They carbon-copied their own system of government and enforced it on their most bitterly hated enemy, a people who have since given so much back to the world as a result of this generosity. They left troops in and sent huge sums of money to Europe to rebuild what they all knew would eventually become trading partners, but also determined competitors. Then they sent huge steel blades through their hard-earned fleets of ships and airplanes and came home to get on with their lives in peace and quiet.
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