Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Unpopular Opinion

I have something to say. It may be unpopular, but it isn't poorly thought out. I've read several arguments on all sides, and these are the conclusions that I came up with. I tried not to be dogmatic. I tried to erase everything I thought I knew. I came out with a new perspective.

Parents: Do you let your teenagers rule the roost? Do they make the rules? Do they handle the finances? Do you discipline them at all, or do they walk all over you? Have your teenagers ever made a mistake? Have they ever lied to you? Did you ever make a mistake as a teenager? A big one? How long did it take for you to really realize the impact of that mistake? More than, "I got a punishment because I...insert whatever rule you broke here." I mean REAL impact, not remorse at getting caught. Impacts such as hurt caused to others, lasting life changes in the lives of others. When does a teenager grow up and realize that every choice they make affects the family? I'd wager to say, most of us don't "get it" until give or take our 30s, and some folks never grow up.

In the game of global politics, of world statehood, the United States of America is a teenager. We're a young country, and I'll be damned if we don't rule the roost! WE make the rules. WE control the finances. We go undisciplined. We make mistakes. We lie about them. We ignore the impacts on others and think only of the impacts to our domestic national security. Let me make clear, however, the "we" I'm speaking about. I'm speaking about the United States of America as a government, NOT about the United States of America as a people.

The United States is an empire. Our leaders won't admit it, and we, as a people, don't want to hear it, and we don't want to believe it. I think these reasons are twofold. One, "empire" is historically a dirty word. It calls to mind selfish brutes who destroy entire peoples for territory. Two, EMPIRES ALWAYS FALL! They get too big. There has never been an empire that can sustain large territorial acquisitions from a centralized location.

It's time to change the tides! Learn from our mistakes! One man in Tunisia began the Arab Spring! We, as Americans, can stand up to our government and say, "WE DON'T WANT TO BE ANOTHER FAILED EMPIRE!!"

We have pride here. Accepting defeat hurts our egos, much like in any teenager. Admitting mistakes is hard. Making up for them is harder. No empire in history has stood the test of time without being toppled by an enemy. To that end, no empire in history has ever willingly handed their power back, as a concession, to say, "This was a mistake."

Was our country not founded on the principles of sovereignty? How, then, do we take sovereignty from others, as though it is our right, because we have the money to develop technology that allows us to do so?

This is not to say that all of our empirical aims are done with selfish intentions. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The United States is a nurturing country, as well. We fund humanitarian missions and help prop up poor economies. To go back to my parenting metaphor, we're much like mothers. Except, we're teenagers. Do we, as Americans, really want to be the teen mom of the world?

Our leaders fear for our national security. To these means, staying the global hegemon is in the best interest of the state. Perhaps it's time to rethink the theory. IS being the hegemon in the best interest for US, the people of the state? Why shouldn't we concede some of our power to states who have been there before, grown, and LEARNED from their mistakes? Let them take some of the power, and for God's sake, let them take some of the responsibility! We are one, very, very young country. Our empire WILL fall. They always do. We've done it one way for long enough. It's time to try something different.

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