The World is a complex place. Full of intricate cultures and deep-rooted prejudices and allegiances based on history. Many people in nations once controlled by the French and British Empires still hold deep-seated fears about working with such countries, half a century after they withdrew.
Despite this knowledge, the US government has followed bleakly in the footsteps of every empire before it. Theirs may be an empire based on economic strength and insidious business practices, but all of this is still backed up by a simple principle; military power.
For 40 years the US positioned itself as the guardian of the free world. Across Africa, Central Europe, East Asia and South East Asia the US created an image of a vanguard standing firm against the spread of Communism. By creating the illusion of an almighty power struggle, the US gained allies around the globe and planted the seeds of its business and economic empire everywhere it went.
The fall of the Communism changed everything. Without the threat of Soviet expansion, nations around the world no longer needed an occupying US force to 'protect' them. Despite attempts to keep nations under their control - through careful manipulation of the IMF and World Bank - the US has over the last decade lost control of many of its former 'protectorates'.
Allegiances shift. People strive individuality. When that happens, there is only one way to control a nation... through the threat of military force. However, as history has taught us, military force in a nation only leads to eventual defeat as the people rise up to take back their countries.
In 15 years the US has gone from self-professed leader of the 'free World' to the most feared and dangerous threat to World peace. As George W Bush prepares to be sworn in - this time as the legitimate winner of the US election - a poll has shown that 18 of 21 nations around the World feel that President Bush will have a negative impact on peace and security. The list of dissenting voices includes the UK, Australia and Italy (the 3 remaining staunch allies of the US), as well as South Korea (despite having been under the protection of the US for 50 years).
As the US continues its new crusade to spread democracy in the places it feels are dangerous, they have only succeeded in compromising their own. With hundreds of thousands dead and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the US have only the pretence of elections in Iraq and the puppet-leader Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan to hold up as examples of their great vision.
It is a sad and embarrassing state of affairs when people feel that the new 'democratic' process in Iraq is no fairer than Saddam Hussein's previous 'elections'.
Meanwhile in the US we find a split between the moderates and the extremists becoming wider. The coastal and northern states tend to be against Bush, while the southern and central states are staunch supporters. With all the talk of wars abroad, this second term President finds he has more divisions to heal at home than at any time since the American civil war.
Of course, all of this is irrelevant. It is the continuation of empire that matters. And whether through the use of military might or its floundering excuse for a World leading economy, the US will continue on its current course through history.
In their quest to find a post-Communism enemy, the US has become that which it seeks. The only question that remains is, will the rest of the World stand up to this new menace from the West?
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