The futile quest for empire

We Americans would do better to strive for peace and prosperity than to be try to be the world’s top superpower.

Military strength is not real strength.  It is a projection of the strength that comes from a united society, a strong economy and an effective government.

Germany under the Kaiser and under Hitler tried to dominate Europe by military means.  On each try, the German nation wound up in ruins, and with less territory than before.  After 1945, Germans forsook military means and built up their society, economy and government, and became the dominant power in Europe.

Japan in the 1930s sought to dominate eastern Asia by military means, and would up in ruins and under military occupation.  After 1945, the Japanese concentrated on building up their strength at home, and became for a time the leader of a East Asia co-prosperity sphere.

China under Mao Tse-tung sought to foment world revolution.  Now the Chinese leaders are trying to build up their strength at home.  China is a more powerful and influential nation now than it was then.

We Americans have all the resources we need to be free and prosperous.  But we can’t be free and prosperous if we try to project military power into all parts of the world.  We can’t be free and prosperous so long as we consume more than we produce.  We can’t be free and prosperous if we have an economy based on finance instead of manufacturing.  We can’t be free and prosperous if our government and corporations are being milked by a wealthy elite for their own benefit.  And the United States won’t be the world’s supreme superpower under these conditions either.

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4 Responses to “The futile quest for empire”

  1. Anne Tanner Says:

    I couldn’t agree more.


  2. Required reading § Unqualified Offerings Says:

    […] agree with everything that Phil Ebersole says here and here. Posted by Thoreau @ 1:23 pm, Filed under: Main Comments (0) « « Iraq: the […]


  3. Ben Taylor Says:

    Insightful commentary, as expected. As anyone who has played Civilization knows, plowing your finite resources into great numbers of military units tends to lead to deficits in social prosperity, scientific progress and overall happiness. I always preferred the cultural victory, personally. This pattern begs the question why so many societies through history have fallen for military dominance when the results so predictably turn out poorly. A minority of the population accumulates advantages and wealth while the whole suffers. I doubt myself that I can account for this discrepancy adequately, but I’d suggest sympathetically that a desperate identification with a grand narrative may be at work.

    So anyway, Happy New Year! I hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays, Phil.


  4. Joshua Says:

    Fine post, fine blog, just tagged on to follow, thank you.


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