Maureen Dowd on "the brazen Bush imperialists"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
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?

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 
Genghis Khan?


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 
longer relevant.

"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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