August 21, 2002

JOHN HAWKINS PUTS IT WELL:

Rarely a day passes on the internet without another article being written that claims America is a “hegemon”, that we’re like “like Rome,” or that we want to “create an empire.” Take it from a Conservative, ultra-nationalistic, America-first hawk; Americans on the whole would rather drive bamboo shoots under their fingernails than “rule the world.” . . .

Hell, if we took twenty years off it wouldn’t surprise me to look at a map and see nothing but a giant swath of China red covering all of Europe, skulls & crossbones covering all of Africa, and nothing but a green patch with the words ‘Forbidden Zone’ where the Middle East used to be. We’re the only thing keeping the planet from reverting back to an early 1800’s style plunder, war, and rampage philosophy.

If you want to put it in perspective, it’s like we’re the guy who ended up being the designated driver for the planet. Sure we’d love to sit back and drink ourselves into a stupor with the rest of the globe but we’re responsible for getting as many people home safe and sound as possible. Every so often while we’re sitting around wishing we could kill a few beers like the rest of the planet, a sloppy drunk, drooling, Europe comes over to where we’re sitting. Then they take another swig of Vodka straight out of the bottle and tell us not to worry about a thing because they’ll drive everyone home in their ‘international law’ van. But we know if we go ahead and drink up that we’ll just get a call at 4 am asking us to bring our tow truck and the ‘jaws of life’ to clean up the bloody mess on dead man’s curve. That’s the burden of being an American.

Yep. And I wonder if the fact that we really don’t want to conquer other countries irritates them? It’s an insult, in a way, that we’d rather stay home in American than be the overlords of elsewhere. But it’s true.

UPDATE: Reader Zach Barbera writes: “I wish they would make up their minds. Are we a lazy self absorbed decadent culture who knows nothing about the world? Or are we a globe-trotting imperialistic power out to rule everything?”

Yeah, I’ve been confused about that, too.

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