Empires: The Drawbacks and Benefits
This article written by Robert Kaplan titled: “In Defense of Empire” explores different situations where imperialism and the rise of empires has both caused hardships and benefits for the both the country expanding their empire and the country being conquered. The author continues to give specific examples of the affects of imperialism and what type of drawbacks and benefits it has caused. One specific example the author points out is the British rule over the middle-eastern region of Baghdad. The author tells the story of what happened during the festival of Shavuot where Arab soldiers killed numerous Jews in the Jewish area of Baghdad. More importantly due to this event, how the Jews were not upset of their imperialist rule by the British, but rather their lack of ineffectual imperialism. The article explicitly states that: “the Jews could ‘cheerfully acknowledge’ the ‘right of conquest,’ whether exercised by the Ottomans or by the British, because history had taught them that there lay safety. But the British failure to enforce the law and provide imperial order was the kind of transgression that ethnic and religious minorities could ill afford…imperialism itself…had protected minorities from the tyranny of the majority.” Furthermore, it is explained that the British have failed over and over again not only in Baghdad but also in Palestine and India. But where they have lacked in ruling they have made up for in providing a different type of stability consisting of sea and railway communications where prior to such, was less stable.
The author then compares this type of globalization to what the United States is doing in the world today. The US, as a global superpower is able to exercise their strength and will through their acts of globalization, which is now more recognized as their foreign policy. The article goes further into this issue and discusses different types of possibilities of what the US is now capable of and how they should institute their foreign policy. The author states: “…a policy direction that internalizes both the drawbacks and benefits of imperialism, not as it has been conventionally thought of, but as it has actually been practiced throughout history.”
It is important to take note of this foreign policy as it affects not only those who are US residents but everyone worldwide. Their reach touches to the far corners in this generation as seen in the news and economy today. For example, with the US preventing the Keystone Pipeline, it is not only affecting those who live and work in the US but also the Alberta economy, decisions made in the middle east and the Asian markets. Along with the wars being fought in the Middle East, they have easily made other countries join into it as well. Therefore with the sentiment of the author, I must agree with them. The US has the responsibility to not only protect those they have taken leadership of but also provide economic stability.
The Atlantic 19 Mar. 2014. The Atlantic. Web. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/in-defense-of-empire/358645/>.