By Other Words
By William A. Collins
Whew! The United States finally seems to have gotten the globe pretty much under control. Sure, it’s messy, but empires are like that. There are always malcontents mouthing off about “foreign threats” and the like, but nothing serious. We have the military, the technology, the will, and the oil.
Of course you can never have enough oil. It’s like cocaine. Or money. To secure our supply of black gold, we bought off Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Nigeria, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Equatorial Guinea, and Mexico, and we conquered Iraq and Libya. Still on our to-do list are Iran and Venezuela, but they should fall in line before long. We’re undermining their leaders lickety-split. Only Russia seems likely to withstand the pressure.
After oil, corporate profits are our next priority. Thus we ink an unending stream of trade deals from the WTO, NAFTA, and DR-CAFTA to the pacts with South Korea, Jordan, Colombia, etc. More are in the pipeline, of course. The upshot of these treaties, aside from profits, has been to impoverish industrial workers here and farm workers abroad while undermining environmental laws worldwide. Hence, corporations and oil constitute those touted U.S. “interests” that our diplomats and military are ever so keen to protect and advance.
Nonetheless, we’ve developed the appropriate tools to succeed. Unmanned aircraft are the latest. When insurgents are making headway in an unsettled land, or menacing a friendly dictator, send in the drones.
But our strongest influence abroad remains the military. We run at least 700 military bases outside the United States, not counting the 400 in Afghanistan. The troops recently sent to Uganda will not only help corral Joseph Kony, but also secure influence over Ugandan and South Sudanese oil.
And now our special and secret forces are dominant. These guys can go anywhere, kill anyone, kidnap anyone, torture anyone, destroy anything, and not answer to anyone.
Yes, running the world is a lot of work. Expensive too. But the best part is that the American public supports it, even while grousing at airport check-ins about the resulting terrorist threats and telling pollsters that no, they don’t think the Afghanistan War is worth it. We may be going broke but we’re not giving up our empire, by golly.
OtherWords columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative, and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut.