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America's Problem of Empire

August 26, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

America is an empire and President Donald Trump is an emperor,
at least that is how both behave. Why shouldn’t Washington
swallow up the self-governing territory of Greenland with nary a
nod to its people? Why shouldn’t the president cancel a trip
because a foreign leader dared refer to his idea as
“absurd”?

It is as if King George III still ruled. Indeed,
anti-Federalists could claim vindication. It seems America
eventually did end up with a monarchy. Although a term-limited,
elected king, he is no less imperious than his British forebears.

The latest, almost comedic example was Trump’s public
desire to buy a land not for sale and whiny decision to cancel his
planned state visit when the Danes said no. Although his behavior
was undiplomatic, some of his supporters were even more imperious,
failing to even notice that there were some fifty-six thousand
residents of Greenland who largely govern themselves.

Those commentators who considered the Greenlanders assumed that
they could be bought off with promises of more investment,
subsidies, and tourism, as well as membership in America’s
“national family.” Yet a similar offer made by another
government to residents of, say, Alaska or Hawaii, would be viewed
as highly insulting by most Americans.

The ruthless,
winner-take-all nature of American politics today show that the
common desire of the country is not so much to be left alone, but
to impose its will on others.

Moreover, why would Greenlanders want to submit themselves to
the U.S. imperium? Today the island is governed rather like
America’s states once were: by locals with only a light
national touch. Joining today’s “national family”
would mean submitting to the rules and regulations of Washington,
DC. That would mean suffering through a painfully dysfunctional
political system. One can love America while acknowledging its
faults.

Moreover, being absorbed by the United States would result in
micromanagement of much of life that should be left to individuals,
families and communities. Ironically, though Denmark and its
Scandinavian brethren are often derided by Americans for being
“socialist,” these countries typically balance more
extensive economic redistribution with more efficient,
market-friendly regulation. Lightly populated Greenland might not
like direct rule by Washington, DC.

Perhaps even worse, when it comes to international affairs these
days America’s “national family” is a highly
aggressive, brutal, sometimes almost Manson-like. As the
president’s contretemps with Copenhagen demonstrates, Uncle
Sam does not like to be told no. Canceling a trip is a minor
sanction, however. More seriously, Washington routinely initiates
economic war against other governments which resist its
dictates—currently Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria,
and Venezuela, most dramatically. These governments are malign, but
no more so than many regimes backed by the …read more

Source: OP-EDS