Monday, April 30, 2007

The British May Have A Case Of Empire Envy

Sadly, we are not the only empire to endure tragic times or bloodshed and misunderstanding. We must, however, recognize our place in the world as the prominent force.
Without doing so, we jeopardize our own future by mishandling foreign affairs.

“Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.”
- Uncle Ben, Spiderman

We must better understand the histories of previous empires – to see how we can make ours endure, we must examine what they did right and wrong. The Greeks expanding past their supply lines – Alexander took his men through Afghanistan to battle Indian battle elephants and was forced to withdraw because of logistics more than casualties. The English, a dominant force for much of the 18th and 19th centuries was defeated by Afghan tribesman on the plains north of Kabul, the desert of Maiwand and the infamous escape from Kabul to Jalabad, where only one doctor survived the slaughter of 5,000 by tribesmen with primitive firearms shooting from above in the tall canyons.
Then the Russians/Soviets who fought a war of idealism by supporting the communist student movement in the late-1970’s – which led to a 10-year war where thousands of their troops died and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union due to over funding their military excursion and not supporting their economic development.
So now, we are forcing democracy onto an extremely illiterate population that have no concepts of Western philosophy that gave birth to our own Constitution. They raise their purple voting thumbs from under burqas for the news photographers. Meanwhile, their children play around landmines, women self- immolate – wanting death more than their miserable existence, their average life-span is 43 to 45 years old – they only live to see a few years of their new found freedoms – which is what we say.
When we build a school in a remote village, as I saw in the Tora Bora Mountains south of Jalabad in the Southern portions of Nangahar near the Pakistan border, the Taliban then target the “American-built” edifice to intimidate the locals into supporting the insurgency. Our good deed becomes a target.

“I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, and to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than to have undertaken this government.”
- Oliver Cromwell

Still, the whining British May Have A Case Of Empire Envy. Their empire is small, old and soft now. Ours strong and finding it's way into all sorts of positions. So, their complaints may evolve from that envy. The Sun once never set on the British Empire - now they barely make it until tea time!

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