Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Why not just seal off the borders of Iraq/Afghanistan?
The notion of American exceptionalism and Imperium holds that things like, say, drug smuggling across the Mexican border or resupply of insurgents in Iraq or Iran, cannot happen without the cooperation of the Imperium. However, as with the Roman legions, the soldiers of the Imperium are far too few in number to secure the borders of even one country (the United States) via force of arms, thereby relying upon the barbarian tribes' fear of the Imperial legions to get the barbarian tribes to police themselves.
The problem, of course, is what happens when the barbarians no longer fear the legions due to Imperial overstretch. We all know what happened to Rome. The American Imperium happens to have a big ditch between it and the barbarians, thus is likely to survive, unlike Rome, although it may take the destruction of a legion or two before the American Imperium retreats back to its side of the Rhine. But the Imperial project is doomed to failure in the end, because it rests upon a false premise -- that Imperial arms in and of themselves are sufficient to secure the borders in the absense of the cooperation of the barbarians on the other side.
I can go into any barrio in the American Southwest and buy Mexican black tar heroin for cheap. If despite many billions of dollars and many hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers we cannot stop the smuggling of black tar heroin by the ton, how in the world could we stop the smuggling of bullets for AK-47's into Afghanistan or Iraq? But the Imperial apologists, eager to excuse the failure of their Imperial project, are quick to reply "but we aren't even trying." I am not trying to flap my flippers and fly either. But that does not mean that, should I indeed flap my flippers, that it would do anything other than make me look entirely silly... yet the Imperial apologist insist mightily that all that must happen is that the flippers must be flapped especially vigorously, that's all...
What we are seeing in the Middle East, in the end, is the limits of Imperium. An Empire built upon lies and fears cannot, in the end, sustain itself without turning the entire nation into one large garrison state. Yet said reality utterly passes over the head of the apologist for Imperium, the believer in American exceptionalism, who will neither turn the nation into a garrison state (for surely such disruption of his pointless life is not necessary in a real Empire, right?), nor admit that his Imperial dreams are doomed to founder upon the rocks of reality. Instead, he will insist that if we but flap our arms, flap more vigorously, clap harder, praise our Lord and Savior George W. Bush yet more loudly, then, why, then we shall fly, and the Imperial dream shall become true!
But in the end, we are all doomed by gravity to stay on the ground (where "ground" includes jet airliner seats to which one is held by gravity), unless one is in free fall. And the problem with free fall is that, unless one is in orbit around the planet, the end result is a loud and unseemly "Splat!".
- Badtux the Flightless Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 9/06/2006 12:07:00 AM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq