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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

What is so hard for people to understand is a program that is so deeply buried in secretive undertakings and where there is no discernible action that is taking place, the media remain blank as to what is going on. Eight hundred and sixty-five military bases in some forty countries... this is so far removed from most of our lives, and yet it is this cancerous growth that is insidiously eating away at all that we have been taught to believe our country stands for, as well at a cost of billions of dollars annually. That we have imposed upon other people these military bases a process that we certainly would not have here in our own country. That the reason given for the continuation of this very costly operation is as nebulous as the process itself; that these bases are there for our protection--protecting us from whom is not mentioned.

If these foreign countries in which our troops are embedded were given a choice, our troops would be gone. This messianic, imperialistic program is a costly failure doomed to take its place along with the many who have attempted it in the past.

W.R. COLE

Arroyo Grande, CA

Aug 11 2009 - 5:28pm

Web Letter

One of my favorite movie is Burn with Marlon Brando, who plays a British agent trying to bring a Portuguese Caribbean Island under the economic control of Great Britain. In one scene, set in a brothel, he convinces wealthy plantation owners to give up slavery. He remarked that when you get married you are obliged to take care of your wife for the rest of her life. But with a prostitute, you are only purchasing her services for a short time. The point being that owning a slave required a long-term commitment. But with "free" labor, there was no long-term commitment.

This analogy can be used to explain the difference between overt imperialism, which involves the direct political control of a colony, and economic imperialism, in which a developed country seeks economic control of another country. Political control involves, to some degree, responsibility for controlling that country, but economic imperialism is making use of that country's natural resources or agricultural products without the responsibility of governance. The developed country bribes and uses the elites of that country to govern for the benefit of foreign business interests. When foreign business interests are threatened, a coup is arranged to protect those foreign interests.

For example, when land reform threatened the investments of United Fruit in Guatemala, a CIA coup was arranged to bring to power a regime that supported the interest of that company.

In modern times, economic imperialism is favored because, in theory, the subject country has the illusion of controlling their own country, but the developed country is not burdened with governance. Profit without responsibility!

However, we now have a new twist in which all countries are underdeveloped by "free trade," and multinational big business can reduce every country to wage slavery by breaking down borders, and force workers in "formally" developed countries to compete for jobs with low-wage workers.

Everyone becomes a wage slave without benefits.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Aug 4 2009 - 11:29pm

Web Letter

We no longer (sic) have the capacity to be the hegemon of the world. Well, we never did have it and that could be one reason we've never tried.

The US's last conquest was the Spanish-American War, and even then, there was no intention of keeping Cuba or the Philippines as colonies. Puerto Rico is likely to become a stae whenever its people decide to.

The entire thesis is foolish and has a touch of fantasy. You are counting things like weather stations on remote unpopulated islands as tho they were occupation forces.

This is the sorriest, most confused excuse for an article that I've ever seen. With this poor a quality of thinking, The Nation risks being cast aside for total irrelevance.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Aug 1 2009 - 10:47am