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Yes No
Debate Score:57
Total Votes:68
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 Yes (12)
 No (8)

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Is The United States an Imperialist Empire?

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Howard Zinn: An illustrated people's history of the US empire


Side Score: 43


Side Score: 14
11 points

Yes because the US government interferes and decides what it thinks is best for other countries(and pursues those decisions) as well as for its own interests. The US has always fought to stop non-capitalist nations from succeeding, not necessarily because of goodwill for the citizens of those respective nations but because of a hatred, distrust, and possible fear of non-capitalistic economic systems. Nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq, Vietnam, and former soviet states have all been influenced by the US military deployment and force, for the US government's own interests.

The US has initiated coups, and actively worked in other nations to bring down their respective governments. Also the US creates new governments, to replace those that it destroyed, with pro-US views even if they are dictatorships.

Imperialism may not be inharitly bad but because it is the control over a population by another power and because that other power mainly is there to exploit that nation or its resources acts of imperialism nearly always turn negative. The US government is imperialistic, there is no doubt, but evidence can be hard to find(in America) because books and articles about US history are biased(as would be expected) to The US and fail to fully and accurately explain the annihilation of the native Americans, the treatment of American Japaneses, and US imperialistic actions in regards to non-capitalist nations.

Side: Yes
3 points

This short animated video explores US expansionism from Wounded Knee to the invasion of Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, World War II Central America, Vietnam and the Iranian revolution.

Side: Yes
1 point

"Imperialist Empire" is redundant, abstruse, and recondite. And it says the same thing twice.

Didn't mean this as a response, but can't delete the comment. Sorry.

Side: Yes

I don't know many people who deny America is an empire. Even people on the right like Niall Ferguson or Henry Kissinger accept it is under dictionary definition, but argue that being Imperial doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing.

I don't agree with the American Empire, however I don't like this particular video because of it's Marxist undertones -- not unexpected; Zinn is a Marxist historian and Marxists are typically anti-imperialist, but also anti-consumer/corporate/capitalist and usually rely on a sensational leftist version of history.

Side: Yes

Also, given Russia's current track record, couldn't we say that it too is imperialistic? The reason I bring this up is because people normally think of Communism and Democracy as being diametrically opposed. If this is the case and they both have imperialistic tendencies, then one can argue that every time a country interferes with another country for its own benefit, it is being imperialistic. And if this is the case, so what? It makes sense to try and sway things your way. It's only natural.

Side: Yes
2 points

Russia isn't really that imperial anymore. They've been into psychological games that are mostly defensive and strategic, and not aggressive occupations etc.

America's Empire is to the point of hegemony.

Side: No

I believe the United States is an imperialist power, but probably one of the least terrible and crushing forms that has come into existence.

Unlike most other empires; we tend to not use our military muscle to enforce our will. That may sound strange given our current situation, but given our massive capability and the territory we seek to control we have usually done the controlling through mostly indirect means.

Earlier empires would take on a hostile territory or revolting province by invading, raping and murdering as many people as they could catch, burning the village or town down, and salting the lands. (We'll use Carthage as a wonderful example of such forms of imperialism).

I'd like you to take note what the Huns did to Eastern Europe when they marched across the continent. The Romans had quite the time dealing with entire regions evacuating into their territory.

The United States, though, ended its genocidal tendencies after the Native Americans were gone and present-day America was founded. If anything, we were far more imperialistic in the past than now; and far more violent and destructive.

Nowadays, we are content to bully, spy, propagandize, economically blackmail, and coup our way towards empire. Our list of nations we've directly attacked (after WWII) are small: Iraq(2), Afghanistan, North Korea, North Vietnam, and Serbia.

With regards to Israel (which always seems to come up whenever U.S. imperialism is discussed), the matter is much more complicated than either side is willing to admit. At any rate; it is an indirect form of imperialism at the most.

We do, of course, have indirect control over many nations in Central and South America (but that grip seems to be slipping more and more). Africa is somewhat under our control; and we've engaged in some rather underhanded dealings with regards to Somalia when we helped their neighbors overthrow their popular government.

Asia is somewhat in our control as well, but that is slipping as regional powers such as China grow in importance and as Japan and South Korea become more and more fed up with U.S. presence.

We maintain military bases around the world, from Europe to Asia. But in Europe they seem to be mostly for show; a political bargaining chip at the most when dealing with Russia.

The Middle East is a strange place, our bases there seem to do two things:

1. Make our oil cheaper than the Europe's.

2. Destabilize the region more and more.

Our control over the Middle East slips by the hour, if not the minute; we certainly have far less control over that region than past empires (from the British to the Ottomans).

For the most part, our empire is built to do two things:

1. Make us look big and scary so we can feel good about ourselves (and to help as a bogey-man at negotiating tables)

2. Open up trading opportunities and continue the market for arms sales and military personelle.

Side: Yes
2 points

The rhetoric does not make the point. There is yet the question as to whether or not the United States is an imperial empire; primarily due to the reality of the form and format of the government (which is representative republic, regardless that most citizens cannot tell you who their representatives are or the underlying tenets of points of any matter under consideration, debate, or congressional process).

While it is certainly possible to opine one way or another, and while it is also true that more and more often, the United Stated Federal government prefers to ACT like an imperial empire, it remains that the only reason they succeed in doing so is a profound apathy and lack of civic responsibility on the part of its people.

While the people of the United States allow themselves to be placated by the notion that complaint equals to 'action', nothing can or will change. The ease with which the governing bod(y/ies) of the country manipulate and avert more than an intermittent whimper 'by the people' is not so much a testament to how bad government is, but how bad the citizenry is.... if there is a case to be made, it is not against some nebulous 'them', it is, in fact, against those who permit these continuing travesties of abuse and disdain and who prefer to make videos others may nod and feel agreement with from the safety and relative comfort of their computer chairs.... someone said it, so "I" don't have to.... the clarion call of those who, by their inaction, perpetuate all of it.

No, the United States government is not an imperial empire, but it is well on its way to becoming one by proxy; brought into being through an abdication of its citizens from their rightful place as arbiters of the very just, proper, and lawful acts they now complain so vehemently are lacking.

Thoughts are not words, words are not actions. Actions matter. Ask not 'what should be said', but 'what should be done'.... then, do it. Anything less is contributory.

Side: No
6 points

Are you saying that Democratic and Republican nations are not able to be imperialistic powers? Depending on your definition of what is a "Democracy" or "Republic" it is surely accurate to call the Constitutional Monarchy of the UK up until the end of WW2 an imperialist power, as well as Republican Rome, and Democratic Athens.

Democracies are perfectly capable of being imperialistic; alert citizenry or not.

Side: Yes
1 point

Totally agree, but it's still an Empire.

Side: No
2 points

I really don't care much for this topic, but i guarantee u that if ask it to either george w bush or either of the 2 major democratic candidates they will purposely avoid answering the question and start ranting about someting totally off topic. ;p

Side: No

The United States is not an Imperialist Empire, however, the United States should become isolationist and not get involved with the affairs of other nations.

Side: No
-4 points
Mahollinder(893) Disputed
5 points

It would be difficult to support a contradictory position. American expansion and politics exemplifies the necessary characteristics of a coercive (my opinion) imperial empire.

Side: Yes