Maureen Dowd on "the brazen Bush imperialists"
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 5 09:19:26 MST 2003
(An interesting piece by an essentially comic contributor to the
editorial page, who does more or less the same sort of thing as Russell
Baker did years ago. Over the past year or so, with the buildup of war
against Iraq, she has become more sober and more merciless toward the
NY Times Op-Ed, Mar. 5, 2003
What Would Genghis Do?
By MAUREEN DOWD
It's easy to picture Rummy in a big metal breastplate, a skirt and
lace-up gladiator sandals.
Rummius Maximus Pompeius.
During the innocent summer before 9/11, the defense secretary's office
sponsored a study of ancient empires — Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols — to
figure out how they maintained dominance.
What tips could Rummy glean from Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and
Niall Ferguson, a professor at Oxford and New York University who wrote
the coming book "Empire," said that while "it was rather sweet" that the
Pentagon was studying ancient empires, he thought the lessons were no
"The technological and economic differences between modernity and
premodernity are colossal," he said.
Besides, he says Americans aren't temperamentally suited to
empire-building. "The British didn't mind living for years in Iraq or
India for 100-plus years," he said. "Americans aren't attracted to the
idea of taking up residence in hot, poor places."
He's right. America doesn't like to occupy. We like to buy our
territory, like the bargain Louisiana Purchase and the overpriced amount
we were going to pay Turkey (the old Ottoman Empire) to use its bases,
before its Parliament balked. At the outside, we prefer to time-share.
As the brazen Bush imperialists try to install a new democracy in Iraq,
they are finding the old democracy of our reluctant allies inconvenient.
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