The Instigator
Numidious
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Skynet
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The USA is an Imperialist Power

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,910 times Debate No: 24495
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
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Numidious

Pro

I live in a country entirely controlled by the United States. I and those around me watch American television shows on American broadcasting stations with American content and American ideals. I buy from American corporations, and I am writing this on a computer with an American operating system, American applications, and an internet that is largely dominated by American thought. My Prime Minister has recently implemented an America-style prison policy and, even worse, has introduced mandatory minimum for the imprisonment of marijuana users, what's more, he bailed out our companies Bush and Obama style in 2008 and yes, he came to power funded by rich investors, Bush and Obama style.. I have nothing against Americans, indeed, I dislike nationalistic fervours of any kind, but I am a realist, and I realize that Canada is controlled by the states.

This is not a unique situation, as a matter of fact, America has a sphere of influence throughout the world that is so strong that it is evidently an imperialist power. Thousands of American soldiers are posted in military bases throughout the world, particularly in western Europe, Japan, and SE Asia and the Carribbean. Regimes that do not have American interests are eliminated. Examples of this include intervention by the FBI in Chile in 1973 to depose the democratically elected Salvador Allende and to bring autocratic Augusto Pinochet to power. They also include the invasions of Iraq in 1992 and 2001 in order to protect Kuwaiti oil and then to obtain Iraqi oil at a cheap price, this was after Iraq was sold weapons by the 1980s in order to fuel it's war with Iran in the 1980s - Iraq vs Iran was actually America vs. The Soviet Union, and eventually America one.

There are few powers that are truly independent of America on a political level, and virtally none that are independent on an economic level. China's oligarchy is an example of political independence from America, but American branch plants control much of the natural resources in China and it is the American demand for cheap goods that has fueled China's economic boom. Virtually the entier world has adopted capitalist democracy and free market zeal. The most recent acquisitions by the American Empire include many eastern European countries, which have now adopted free market policies.

Parallels can be drawn between the American Empire and the Roman Empire as well. For instance, Rome was dominated by a free market policy, and, ironically (or not) later Roman times saw rivalry between the patricians, the aristocracy of Ancient Rome who had ruled for hundreds of years, and the equites, the rich business class, many of them not even citizens, who were undoubtedly the elites and controlled virtually everything that the emperror did not.

In the past America's imperialist leanings have been more evident, especially in terms of it's holdings in the South Pacific, but nowadays, even though it remains imerialist, it is more subtle. The North American Free Trade Agreement subtly saw Canada and Mexico become part of America's Empire and it expanded even more with the Dominican Republic - Central America Free Trade Agreement.

The USA is an empire like many before it, and, like many before it, it will collapse at some point. However, at present it would seem that it is irrefutable that America DOES have a corporate empire, and will do so, like it or not, for years to come.
Skynet

Con

According to Dictionary.com, an empire is: "a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government: usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire, Byzantine Empire, or Roman Empire."

Obvoiusly, the US is not ruled by royalty of the conventional sort, so I've highlighted the parts of the definition that could appy the the US if Pro is correct.

Pro's evidence:

1. World markets are flooded with US goods.

The US is mostly free market, so the companies selling the goods are not in any way part of the government. Microsoft's legions are not going to invade Gaul. People just want thier stuff. This has little to do with the government, other than for a long time, they stayed out of the way so businesses could grow. There are Canadian businesses that are well known and are serious competitors in the US: Nortel, Bombardier, RIM, etc, but most importanty, to have a branch in Canada, the branch must be a seperate company owned by a Canadian.

2. US cultural influence is overwhelming in Canada.

Canada and the US both started off as British colonies in the same region with similar population demographics and strong ties to English customs and common law. We share much trade and an enormous fairly open border with no military conflicts since the early 1800s and have nearly identical standards of living. Is it any doubt that the one with 10x the population would have more cultural influence?

3. Canadian government is now operating in a similar way to the US'.

The examples cited of Canada's PM moving toward US domestic policy do not line up with the assertion that Canada is under US political control. For years post-Cold War, the largely socialist Canadian government and public was critical of US military influence in many conflicts. They have also been more liberal toward MJ. But now that we have a far more socialist President, and have even started socialized medicine and legalized MJ in 37% of states, Canada seems to be tilting conservative. It's backwards from what Pro is saying.

4. US foriegn policy leads to intervention in foreign affairs for economic or other strategic gain.

We let Iraqis have control back over the oil fields. Congress passed a bill disallowing US companies from making agreements with Iraq for oil deals. Consider how many nations we've temporarily took over, then rebuilt. Which ones are still under US control? Consider after WWII and the Cold War how many nations we could control if we were really imperialists?

5. US companies control much of the natural resources of our most powerful rival, the PRC.

I would like to see evidence of this.

6. Virtually the entire world has adopted capitalist democracy and free market zeal.

Not quite. Russia and China have, Canada is starting to go even more capitalist, but US is going in the opposite direction. Democracy is what got Russia Putin, who is taking it as far as he can away from democracy, and China just wants it's citizens to shut up and be productive, not heard. The EU and the US are about to collapse under the weight of too many social programs and spending, the other way from what pro says we're leading the world.

7. Economic and class parallels can be drawn between the US and Rome.

Pro only gave the Rome side of the parallel, not how it relates to the US.

8. Many other Western Hemisphere nations have become part of the US Empire because they made trade agreements with the US.

Not likely unless pro can show that the agreement unfairly benefits the US.

9. It seems irrefutable that America has a corporate empire.

I could find no definition for "corporate empire" as it relates to national government. Besides, in our free market system, corporations are FREE from the government. Just because the company is there, doesn't mean the government is.
Debate Round No. 1
Numidious

Pro

Hello again! Good debating, it looks like I have my work cut out for me :)

First of all, I chose the term imperialist specifically, so let us separate "imperialist" from "empire." According to good old dictionary.com "imperialism" is the "policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies," note how this differs from the necessity of having an emperor or powerful sovereign, or even, for that matter, of being a united group of nations!

I disagree entirely that corporations do not have anything to do with the government. Firstly, the US government taxes them, secondly the US government bails them out (think 2008) and thirdly empires, or imperialist powers, are made by investing and such. You mentioned the British Empire in your definition, and I think that the end of it in the 1950s is a perfect example. British investors in the Suez Canal were threatened when Nasser nationalized it, therefore the British government invaded Egypt to protect it's interests - just as the US did with Kuwait in 1992 to protect it from Iraqi interests. If your nation monopolizes the goods of other nations, it is imperialist, because it is extending the "authourity" of it's "nation over foreign countries." Now you will not deny that a nation includes the people within it!

For the next point, Canada and America were not both British colonies to begin with. Canada began with New France, and when we last were both colonies in 1775 Canada had a population of 90,000(1) and America had a poplation of 2.5 million (2). Vastly different, and as for the effects of this on cultural influence, let us take an example with similar demographic and geographic features, China and Japan. China has 10x the population, but is incredibly different from Japan. On the other hand, let us take an imperialist power, Rome, which exerted it's influence and culture over all of it's empire even though it's population was SMALLER than the rest of it's empire as a whole. Celtic traditions began to die, as historians have figured out, but if you want a purely objective point of view all you need do is to look here (3) at the head of the Roman god Mercury, found in Roman Britain and obviously worshipped - thus Rome exerted it's influence over the Celts.

Obama is a corporatist, juse like Bush was, and this is evident in his FORCING Americans to buy corporate healthcare or otherwise pay a tax!(4) This is a prime example of the US government being in league with it's corporations. Marijuana is not legal in the US, by federal law.

As for countries you've temporarily taken over, you haven't had to remain as you controlled them economically already. Also, the US concept of "rebuilding" would seem to be putting dictators into power, once more I cite Chile in 1973 for free market Pinochet, Panaman independence in 1904 for the Suez Canal, President Arbenz in Guatemala 1953-54 (democratically elected), and more that can be seen here,(5) and that is South America alone.

If I don't have enough space to reply here I'll finish next time. The American corporate class, the richest 1% who control 40% of the wealth, parallels the Roman equites I mentioned earlier, and the American aristocracy, and the conflict between the two. If you deny that an American aristocracy exists, remember that the Bush family goes right back to the mid 1800s and Sam P. Bush, the wealthy industrialist in the 1890s.(7)

1. http://www.statcan.gc.ca...

2. http://geography.about.com...

3. http://www.britishmuseum.org...

4. http://english.ruvr.ru...

5. http://listverse.com...

6. http://finance.yahoo.com...

7. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Skynet

Con

Taxation of a company by the governmet does not mean the government controls the company, let alone uses it to exert power over other nations. There are plenty of Canadian companies you could buy from for all your needs if you wanted to boycott. As I said before, Canadian provinces have more protectionist policies than the US for a foriegner starting a business. i.e. Agents of Service [1]
As far as government bailouts/takeovers (GM, Chrysler) Pro only uses examples from the last 4 years. Surely the US would have been "corporately imperialist" for longer than that. And just because the last 4 years have had heavy government meddling does not mean the clothes, computer products, and TV shows Canadians have used for the last 50 years are used to somehow control Canadians.

"Obamacare" was a system that was made with deals with insurance companies (mandatory coverage), but the goal is single payer, i.e. the government is the only insurance provider. [2]

Saying that the differences between Canada the US are as wide as China and Japan is not accurate. For the most part we watch the same TV, wear the same clothes, and speak the same language, and even eat the same foods. I do realize I was wrong about England starting Canada, I remember now that it was in fact France. But Canadian law has its foundation in English common law.[3] Therefore it makes sense that with 2 very similar populations in this close proximity, the larger one would be culturally dominant by sheer numbers.

As far as the First Gulf War (Iraq '91), we were asked to intervene by the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, we left once Iraq agreed to non-aggression towards it's neighbors, and Kuwait was quickly returned to Kuwaiti Royal control.

In contrast, Britain's actions in the Suez in '56 were more than about Nasser nationalizing it. The Soviet and PRC empires were expanding rapidly post-war, and Nasser had begun aligning himself with hostile, expansionist empires.

As far as aristocracies are concered, there are always successful families. Naming one in the US does not mean there is an established aristocrat class. Rags-to-Riches startups like Apple and Microsoft upset the status quo all the time.

As far as Rome vs. US. I still don't see what you're saying. Are you refferring to the "occupy" movement? Trust me, those protests weren't as powerful a force as you might think. The Tea Party is just as big.

1. http://sbinfocanada.about.com...

2. http://hotair.com...

3. http://www.justice.gc.ca...


Debate Round No. 2
Numidious

Pro

Numidious forfeited this round.
Skynet

Con

My neighbor/opponent has put forth the commonly heard lament from liberal Americans and Europeans alike that the USA is a global empire. I have contrasted the US with prior true empires, and my opponent has countered with far narrower definitions, like "corporate empire." I contested this is overly narrow, and does not line up with historically empire-like behavior in that no one is normally forced into an economic agreement with the US, and the US government does not use private corporations to exert economic control over other countries.

Furthermore, a Canadian resident is required to at least be a figurehead agent for a foreigner to run a business branch in Canada, giving Canadian citizens more control over companies operating within their borders than the US.

His example of the first Iraq invasion contains misrepresentations of the actions and intentions of our friends and enemies in the region, and also misrepresents the outcome. We did not get cheap Iraqi oil from the deal, we just maintained the flow of Saudi and Kuwaiti oil.

Also, my opponent's perception of the world political scene seems to be distorted, either by lack of pertinent information through the media filters or a set world view. The US is indeed undergoing political upheaval, but of a different nature that he knows. Current powers in US government are attempting a hard left in every area, Canada continues socially left, while making rights in a number of areas. The EU is split, China and Russia go right economically, while staying tight on social control.

My opponent also uses vague terms, like "corporatist" that don't really seem to match how he's using them, and how I find them in the dictionary. He also attempts to draw some kind of link between Rome and the US because of cultural influence and an incomplete comparison to Rome and the US having upper and lower classes. Though I'm sure there would have been more explanation if he had been able to make it to the final round.

I had fun, and this is a question I wouldn't mind arguing further sometime, though the 4000 character limit really was a challenge.

Oh, Pro, if you ever want to get together to trade your PM for our President, I'd be cool with that.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
This would be an interesting debate... I'll challenge you to it after I reply. First of all, I have to disagree fundamentally on gitmo - those really weren't exaggerations, whether you are right wing or left wing. You can search it up on wikipedia and google images, if that doesn't convince anyone, then I'm not sure what will... I agree, the media exaggerates stories usually, but not in this case.

Killing an American citizen without due process would usually be a neo - con way of doing things in my opinion... I'd like to see the State Department's memo from the 90s, until then I can't pass judgement in terms of terrorism but I wouldn't be surprised - stereotypes do go both ways, in terms of racial profiling and ways of living, and I don't think that either should be a pretext for accusing and individual of terrorism, so we agree there.

Only about 11% of the American are unionized, by the way, so even if Obama was in league with the unions that would be of minimal help to unionism/real socialism in general, but he hasn't helped them at all! He gave loans to the auto companies, he didn't buy any shares, and he certainly didn't nationalize or communalize anything, so the shareholders profited from free government money. As for GE I find this interesting, and without any evidence I won't oppose your statement, but if he was in league with corporate power by somehow indirectly controlling it that would still make him a corporatist, and certainly not a socialist, as some in the US have suggested. Remember, real socialism is about the people controlling where they work, not about the state controlling where they work, that is statism, so we should frame the debate in terms of statist v. corporatist rather than left v. right, because those terms are really hard to define...

It should be interesting - I'll make the character limit 8,000.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
Yes, it was a fun debate. But wow, you think Obama is a right winger? You know he's killed at least one American citizen without due process, too? Granted, he was a terrorist, but technically everyone's a terrorist in the US who stores up more than a couple weeks of canned goods or believes in the Second Coming, according to a State Department memo from the 90's. Trust me, the news in the foreign press about Gitmo is sensational to get ratings, and it worked well for the news agencies.

I could be up for the proposed debate, though I'll have to do much more research on Harper.

I would advise you not to be fooled by corporate bailouts. The shareholders got screwed in the Auto bailouts, and Democrat supporting Unions were given controlling interest. GE is the best example right now of corporate welfare by the state, and while they don't pay any net taxes, the conservative guy who ran GE is really regretting throwing his hat in with Obama because now he has to pretty much do whatever he's told, or lose his sweet privileges. So it might look one way on one side of the border, but the puppet really is the master in this case.

Yeah, I think I'll go for that debate. I'd just request that you increase character count to at least 5500.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
By the way, concerning Harper and Obama...

I would never trade Harper for Obama, Harper's bad, but he's not that bad. Harper's jets that he's going to do who - knows - what with are a waste of money, but he's not privately commissioning drone strikes on foreign citizens like Obama. Further, Harper's megaprisons are an even greater waste of money but I am certain that he would have enough dignity to close Gitmo if he ever had the chance.

Harper is introducing mandatory minimums for marijuana growers, but out here in BC they'll never get enforced, unlike in the US, where Obama has done nothing to end the war on drugs. Harper tried to introduce internet surveillance, we virtually came close to rioting, and we haven't heard about it since. Both the US and Britain are under surveillance all day every day, and Obama has done nothing to stop invasions of privacy by FBI in the name of counter terrorism. Harper has introduced minor privatizations in public healthcare but retains it, Obama has introduced corporate healthcare.

They both did corporate bailouts in 2008, they both have corporate backers and they are both publicly religious but aren't end - times fundamentalists like Bush senior or Bush junior. I dislike Harper's policies immensely, but I don't think anyone would be elected here who is as far right as Obama, not yet anyway...

Maybe we should debate this topic next - who is further right, Obama or Harper? I'd like to see this one play out as well...

I know the claim that America is corporatist is usually a liberal one, but I'm not sure I'd classify myself as "liberal"... Liberal in it's truest sense is free market libertarian remember. I'd say my views were Libertarian - Social Democratic in terms of philosophy of government.

That's my response to your last couple paragraphs anyhow - not sure that it's on topic, but it's interesting chatting with someone who has an opposing philosophy of government to your own.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Sorry I didn't get back in time to respond... You made some good points, especially earlier in the debate when you defined the term empire in it's strictest sense.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
This last response was not as well done as I had wished. I let the clock run down a little too far.

I understand what you're saying about America and "you." Because of time and character limits, I often have to leave my game face on during the debate, and leave out comments that might soften any personal blows.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
I'll let the clock run a little.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
I shouldn't say "you" because I'm referring to America itself, of course, but it's much more accusatory and therefore more fun :) .

I'm going to be away for a couple of days so hopefully I won't miss the next round, but if I do you don't have to restate anything in the third round.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
I'm going to have to do this on my lunch break today. We received a rare "offer" for unlimited overtime this week. I think I'll make it with 15 hours left, but apologies if I don't.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Should be even more interesting as we disagree on everything except gun rights, and that probably for different reasons.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Look forward to Skynet's arguments. His side is probably harder to argue than mine.
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