Imperialism abroad creates aristocracy at home; and combined, they produce only the demonic offspring of corruption, dictatorship, and total war.
Americans ought to be more honest about U.S. military interventionism. There ought to be a serious debate about it. Instead there seems to be three, entrenched foreign policy camps who never talk to each other.
The first is made up of avowed imperialists. They are easy to recognize, because they happen to be in power. They are the people for whom there is no such thing as a bad war. They have likely committed the United States to regime change in Iran. And they are currently spearheading an overly aggressive approach in attempting to defuse tensions with a nuclear-armed North Korea—an approach that will probably backfire in the end. This camp would also be the strongest to deny that there is any such thing as U.S. imperialism.
Then there are people who totally reject imperialism in any form, committed by any country, as a grave error. These are the people who recognize that there must be other values that bind relationships between nations—shared values premised on international law, human rights, Individual and spiritual freedom, and the rule of law.
I suspect it is a very small camp.
Finally, there is a third group, who’ve I’ve come to see as of two minds. They think it possible to maintain a militant foreign policy, while also saying they are using that foreign policy to spread civilized values. They want to wallow in the false glory that comes from empire, and to feel good about it.
Current political discourse in the United States—whether it is in the media, the think-tanks, or from major politicians—largely falls in this camp. For example, most Republicans and Democrats use the language of human rights and freedom to couch their perspective.