Is the United States of America an Empire?

Even though over a century has passed since the War of 1898, there is still much controversy surrounding the question of whether the USA should or should not be considered an empire. Many scholars, politicians, and other actors have expressed their opinions on the issue. The present paper will discuss the arguments expressed in several editorials from the 21st-century newspapers and compare them to the historical cases addressed in class.

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DeArment’s editorial introduces the issue of imperialism in the USA in the allegorical light (D.1). The author compares the country to a beautiful mansion whose owner did not need to maintain the building because it was situated in a poor neighborhood. However, as time passed, other houses started looking as well as the man’s, and soon, some mansions were even better than his (DeArment D.1).

With the help of this comparison, the author demonstrates his vision of the U.S.’s current condition. DeArment does not doubt that America is an imperialist nation, but he remarks that it is not in its best state at the moment (D.1). DeArment notes that as well as any other empire, America suffers “delusions of permanence” and ignores the problems that are destroying it from the inside (D.1). DeArment is convinced that the U.S. is going to have the same fate as France, Rome, dynastic China, and Britain did (D.1). To avoid collapse, according to DeArment, the country should stop “deluding” itself that it will stay on top forever (D.1).

In Davenport’s editorial, the U.S. is also marked as an imperialist nation (A.7). The author notes that military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are only “elements” of a much larger issue that is “almost as old as the United States itself,” and this problem is imperialism (Davenport A.7). The reason why the country should be considered an empire is its desire to gain some specific territories. As Davenport mentions, the U.S. always gives “high-minded excuses” for going into war, but the true cause is merely the wish to obtain more land (A.7).

Since such behavior is typical of imperialist countries, the author is confident that the USA is an empire. Davenport remarks that imperialism is ” ingrained” in the mind so deeply that one single person can’t help the nation overcome it (A.7). At the same time, the author admits that no empire can last forever, and the U.S. one will eventually recede or crumble (Davenport A.7). However, it is necessary to continue making efforts for humanity and peace.

The third editorial under analysis contains the views opposing the first two articles. As well as DeArment and Davenport, Brendon considers the USA as an empire. However, this author does not find the country’s fate so pessimistic and does not believe that the U.S.’s imperialistic plans are doomed to failure. According to Brendon, analyzing the current situation in the USA from the point of view of some similar occasions from the past is irrelevant and cannot offer reliable forecasts for the future.

The author notes that even with “the crushing burden of … debt” and “crippling budget deficit,” the country is not going to fail (Brendon). Brendon remarks that comparing the U.S. to Rome cannot be justified because the two empires have many differences. Unlike Rome, America has a powerful army to defend itself and a reliable industrial base to support its economy (Brendon). When rejecting the parallels between the USA and Britain, Brendon remarks that the former is much stronger than the latter. Thus, Brendon considers the U.S. as a stable empire.

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The reviewed editorials may be compared to the historical arguments studied in class. In particular, it is necessary to involve Mark Twain’s views on imperialism in this discussion. Twain expresses anti-imperialistic views and is appalled by American politics (n.p.). In his book, the writer repeatedly mentions that the USA has no business in any foreign country (Twain n.p.). As well as Davenport, Twain condemns the military intrusion in other counties’ business.

The author remarks that “a worthy mission” for the U.S. would have been if it helped other countries to become free from tyranny (n.p.). However, America’s choice to get foreign states “under … heel” instead of acting as a protector is regarded as wrong by Twain (n.p.). The author highly disapproves of imperialism and views it as a morally and politically wrong choice of government.

The analyzed editorials and class reading allow making the following conclusions. The U.S. is considered an empire by all authors. Whereas one author (Brendon) does not feel pessimistic about America’s imperialistic future, others view imperialism as a negative characteristic and find it a destructive way of development. Twain and Davenport condemn the military activity of the USA. DeArment and Brendon argue about the possible collapse in case the country keeps its current strategy. What is similar about all reviewed sources is that the U.S. is undoubtedly an imperialistic country that strives to gain specific lands, frequently under the pretext of peace-making or without any justified reasons at all.

Works Cited

Brendon, Piers. “Like Rome Before the Fall? Not Yet.” Editorial. The New York Times. 2010. Web.

Davenport, Gene. “U.S. Is an Imperialist Nation.” Editorial. The Jackson Sun. 2009, p. A.7.

DeArment, Alaric. “U.S. Is an Empire Now in Decline.” Editorial. Star Press. 2008, p. D.1.

Twain, Mark. Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Edited by Jim Zwick, Syracuse University Press, 1992.

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