If the United States is not an empire, the word has lost all meaning.
No sparrow falls in the forest that does not provoke a national security assessment and response.
At present, we are employing military force in six countries — Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
In 2011, we reduced Libya to rubble after Muammar Gaddafi did our bidding in abandoning weapons of mass destruction and in paying more than $1 billion to compensate for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
We are assisting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
We are deploying predator drones in Niger, Djibouti and the Seychelles.
We are assisting Uganda in its fight with the Lord’s Resistance Army.
We are assisting Nigeria in its conflict with Boko Harem.
We are committed to war against Iran if we decree it has acquired a nuclear capability.
We have tens of thousands of troops stationed in Japan 70 years after the conclusion of World War II.
We have tens of thousands of troops deployed in South Korea more than 60 years after the Korean War ended.
We have tens of thousands of troops in Europe seven decades after the defeat of Hitler and more than two decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
We are committed by treaty to defending approximately 50 nations from attack, including the defense of Japan in the event of a conflict with China over a few uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
We dot the planet with hundreds of military bases.
We police the oceans with aircraft carriers, submarines and battleships.
We dominate the skies with spy satellites, stealth aircraft, and hundreds of fighters and bombers.
We have outstanding economic sanctions against 20 nations for bad behavior.
We control cyberspace with the ubiquitous collection, retention, and search of electronic communications of friend and foe alike.
We expend $1 trillion annually on national security, a sum more than the collective defense expenditures of the rest of the world.
We honor secrecy more than transparency, a quest for a risk-free existence more than liberty.
We bedeck the presidency with the trappings of a Roman emperor, including a bloated Pretorian Guard and a White House staff approaching 500. Roads are closed and traffic stops whenever the president travels.
In his July 4, 1821, address to Congress, then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams indicated the difference between then existing empires and the American republic.
The republic spoke of equal rights among nations.
Empires spoke of double standards.
The republic influenced events abroad by example.
Empires dictated to foreign nations by military force or financial manipulation.
The republic knew that chronic embroilment in foreign wars would change the fundamental maxims of her policy from liberty to force.
Empires embraced foreign wars as an earmark of greatness.
The republic glorified liberty.
Empires glorified domination.
In sum, the United States has become a full-fledged empire.
Acknowledging this truth is the first step to curing the disease. Otherwise, self-ruination will be our fate. As Abraham Lincoln presciently lectured: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
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