Are the US currently an empire?

Dec 2017
212
Florida
I do. The US was an imperial power around the turn of the 20th century. Not only did the US acquire the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Guam from Spain in 1898, but waged a vicious war against Filipinos to hold the Philippines as a colony. The US was no better than the Brits in South Africa at about the same time. Hawaii was an independent kingdom which was taken over by the US with the help of American insiders who acquired Hawaiian citizenship and political power.

The US was an imperial power and just as nasty as the rest of them. The question is: Is the US an imperial power now? The word empire is loosely used in this forum. If Britain is no longer an empire, I don't see how some Brits in this forum can say the US is. In any case, with regard to Puerto Rico (which you didn't mention), they voted several times to remain with the US. If they vote for independence in the future, I'm fairly sure it will be granted. Guam is pretty small to be independent but if they joined a federation of other islands think it would be allowed. Hawaii sought and received statehood. As a state, secession would be problematic. However I would allow it if were up to me and well as Florida. In fact I think Florida should secede.
So these territories which were acquired under distress are now justified because a majority of the inhabitants vote? So if we are to take over a nation, wipe out any independence movements that try to combat the occupation and then decades later they vote to remain where they have been then that is not the poisoned fruit from empire?

The United States today is an empire, but it is an empire of a different kind then Europe. The United States learned what Europe learned toward the end of the 19th century which was that the colony system is destined to fail because it self-produces its own opponents. Now for many European powers they held no real interest in spreading "liberty" or "republican values" to the outside world so the fact they were creating a second class societal tier in their colonies did not really affect all of them. Resource grabs and mercantilism were enough for them. However with the United States we like to spread these values to the uncivilized rabble around the world and get upset when they don't actualize their liberty or republicanism like Americans do. So we free them from the tyranny of Spain or Great Britain or France and then get upset when they don't act like us yet we lament that they are not us, that they are in fact the "other" be it their skin color or ethnicity. So we practice our imperialism but without the full actualization of colonizing because we see them as disgusting mongrel races who are incapable of running themselves so why would we let them enter into American politics through statehood? This aversion causes us to pull back from colonization (not in all cases) and once again the pendulum slides back toward introspection in America but never isolationism because in time Americans look to stretch out into the world trying to bring democracy to the heathens.

The reason why we have maintained colonies we have today is because of their strategic market or military value. The Philippines were important for the China market, a market which was largely destroyed over the course of their civil war and World War II and wow what a coincidence we release the Philippines from the United States after World War II. Hawaii remains the jumping off point to the Pacific theater, Puerto Rico, the perfect diving board for "America's lake" of Latin America, especially now that we do not exercise the same authority over Cuba as we once did.

I could just be really droll and simply say if the US isn't an empire then why do we have over 800 bases around the world.

We are an empire that has learned the value of spheres of influence, a lesson that many European powers took longer to understand. Just because we don't have as many anachronistic colonies or protectorates as we once had does not diminish the fact we are an empire and that there are other empires out there who are now practicing the same system.

P.S. I like your comment about secession, secession has worked out so well in the past and I'm sure if a state wanted to secede today then it would totally be allowed. :Kappa: a little sarcasm never hurt anyone
 
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Oct 2017
186
United States
There's probably an empire of capitalism and money sure, and which is in the US but also concentrated in places like New York which are culturally more similar to places like London etc than other places in the US.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,306
Brassicaland
So these territories which were acquired under distress are now justified because a majority of the inhabitants vote? So if we are to take over a nation, wipe out any independence movements that try to combat the occupation and then decades later they vote to remain where they have been then that is not the poisoned fruit from empire?

The United States today is an empire, but it is an empire of a different kind then Europe. The United States learned what Europe learned toward the end of the 19th century which was that the colony system is destined to fail because it self-produces its own opponents. Now for many European powers they held no real interest in spreading "liberty" or "republican values" to the outside world so the fact they were creating a second class societal tier in their colonies did not really affect all of them. Resource grabs and mercantilism were enough for them. However with the United States we like to spread these values to the uncivilized rabble around the world and get upset when they don't actualize their liberty or republicanism like Americans do. So we free them from the tyranny of Spain or Great Britain or France and then get upset when they don't act like us yet we lament that they are not us, that they are in fact the "other" be it their skin color or ethnicity. So we practice our imperialism but without the full actualization of colonizing because we see them as disgusting mongrel races who are incapable of running themselves so why would we let them enter into American politics through statehood? This aversion causes us to pull back from colonization (not in all cases) and once again the pendulum slides back toward introspection in America but never isolationism because in time Americans look to stretch out into the world trying to bring democracy to the heathens.

The reason why we have maintained colonies we have today is because of their strategic market or military value. The Philippines were important for the China market, a market which was largely destroyed over the course of their civil war and World War II and wow what a coincidence we release the Philippines from the United States after World War II. Hawaii remains the jumping off point to the Pacific theater, Puerto Rico, the perfect diving board for "America's lake" of Latin America, especially now that we do not exercise the same authority over Cuba as we once did.

I could just be really droll and simply say if the US isn't an empire then why do we have over 800 bases around the world.

We are an empire that has learned the value of spheres of influence, a lesson that many European powers took longer to understand. Just because we don't have as many anachronistic colonies or protectorates as we once had does not diminish the fact we are an empire and that there are other empires out there who are now practicing the same system.

P.S. I like your comment about secession, secession has worked out so well in the past and I'm sure if a state wanted to secede today then it would totally be allowed. :Kappa: a little sarcasm never hurt anyone
Much of the US was from the Louisiana Purchase and the US-Mexican War; these territories were largely empty except for a few Native American settlements and nomadic groups.
 
Dec 2017
212
Florida
Much of the US was from the Louisiana Purchase and the US-Mexican War; these territories were largely empty except for a few Native American settlements and nomadic groups.
I think you are underestimating the extent and number of those tribes and the history of French & Spanish traders/trappers in that region.
 
Jan 2014
1,685
Portugal
Well this is an interesting topic and kind off hard to put it in a simple way.

1) The constrution of the USA was indeed an imperial one. The overall conquests from the original states over the vast land of North America.
2) The actions of USA war were the pure definition of imperialism in 1898, Philipines etc.
3) The represantion of American bases in several countries all over the world, can be inserted on the definition of neo-imperialism/neo-colonialism, joined by the strongest force in the world in terms of Soft Power.
4) There still the matter of US overseas territory, Puerto Rico and even Hawaii and Alaska (considering the discontinuation of US "natural" territorial extent).

Even with all this facts, US do not persue a imperialistic politic as classicaly defined, and the the question of its influence abroad hardly can be seen as a imperial politic.

In conclusion: In the traditional definition NO; If we readapt the concept maybe.
 
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Dec 2017
212
Florida
Well this is an interesting topic and kind off hard to put it in a simple way.

1) The constrution of the USA was indeed an imperial one. The overall conquests from the original states over the vast land of North America.
2) The actions of USA war were the pure definition of imperialism in 1898, Philipines etc.
3) The represantion of American bases in several countries all over the world, can be inserted on the definition of neo-imperialism/neo-colonialism, joined by the strongest force in the world in terms of Soft Power.
4) There still the matter of US overseas territory, Puerto Rico and even Hawaii and Alaska (considering the discontinuation of US "natural" territorial extent).

Even with all this facts, US do not persue a imperialistic politic as classicaly defined, and the the question of its influence abroad hardly can be seen as a imperial politic.

In conclusion: In the traditional definition NO; If we readapt the concept maybe.
What is the "imperialistic politics as classicaly defined"? And why can't influence abroad be seen as imperialism?