Saturday, June 02, 2007

Recent History of U.S. "Imperialism"

This is a response to those who call the U.S. "imperialist." After WW II, the U.S. had troops stationed around the world. Thousands of them remain to this day in the defeated Axis powers; Germany, Italy, and Japan. Do we have any "imperial" power over any of these nations? There is a history of the U.S. leaving a country, when formally asked to. All of the aforementioned nations are democratic, but Amir Taheri cites some different examples:

...In fact, the Americans have never tried to stay in any country against its wishes.

In 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle decided to take his country out of the military part of NATO and asked the Americans to close their bases in France. President Lyndon Johnson immediately complied, ending more than two decades of U.S military presence on French soil.

In 1969, Col. Moammar Khadafy, who had just seized power in Tripoli, asked the United States to close its vast Wheels base, a key part of NATO's strategy in the Mediterranean. President Richard Nixon complied immediately.

In 1979, the new Khomeinist regime in Iran demanded the closure of 27 U.S.-operated listening posts set up under the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) along the Irano-Soviet borders to monitor Soviet missile tests. President Jimmy Carter complied, although both the Soviet Union and the United Nations had sanctioned the listening posts.

In the 1980s, the United States gave up several bases in a number of countries, including Subic Bay in the Philippines. It also withdrew its military personnel from Pakistan after the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) lapsed into oblivion. In 2002, America withdrew its troops and materiel from Saudi Arabia after the government in Riyadh demanded it.

Missing from his list is Vietnam, in which the US Congress removed support against the will of the South Vietnamese people. If you disagree with that asessment, you can add it to Taheri's list. The notion that the U.S. is somehow "imperialist" is proven false by history.

Read Taheri's complete column to get his take on how this relates to Iraq.

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