A republic is a state in which supreme power is in the hands of the people and their chosen representatives consisting of a president elected by the majority and not a monarch. Politically speaking, an empire is a number of states and people united and ruled by either a monarch or an emperor. An empire is established and maintained as a territorial empire which is of direct conquest and ruled by force or a coercive empire of indirect conquest ruled by power. Is the United States a republic or an empire?
Is It a Republic or an Empire?
Is America a republic or an empire? This is a question that critics have asked since America had started getting involved in matters that affect the international community besides dealing with its own issues. The United States of America were founded on the principle that has limited governance and self-rule. This simply implied that America should not meddle in other people’s business. It should not intervene in the critical domestic affairs of other countries. It should not also intervene in the private affairs of the American citizens. Such actions meant that the USA play supremacy over other people and rule them (Bowden, 2009).
The principles of a nation normally come out clearly on the way it carries out its foreign policies. This is because in foreign countries a country is not bound by laws that govern it. As for the international relations, its true ideological colors are let in the open. This will be determined by whether it respects the freedom of other countries when dealing with the issues that affect sovereignty.
Once a country starts participating in the interventionist policies in the countries abroad, there are normally high possibilities that it is bound to lose the principles of personal liberty, market economy and devolved political authority at home. In this case, power becomes centralized in the hands of the few in the executive branch of the government.
Huge chunks of money get pumped from the hands of the common citizens to help in funding the government’s foreign adventures. The government, in the pursuit of maintaining the so called national purpose, from losing its meaning especially among the esteemed citizens, tries its best to dominate over them or to be engulfed in their psychology. This way it gets support to go ahead with its explorations abroad.
A republican way of governing, that follows its guidelines and respects individual citizens’ liberty, protects the national accumulated wealth and property and performs all the organising structures and functions of the government, otherwise, it would be turned into empire.
In imperial governance, power will be concentrated to the government. Some personal freedoms will be taken away; like economical and civil freedom. Property and wealth of people will be at the disposal of the government. The governing authority would grow and the citizens will not have a say in anything (Aron, 2003).
Unfortunately the American governance is headed in this line effective after the World War 2. The American liberalism is thinning down with time. The principle upon which this great nation’s governance was established has been eroded with time. America has been involved in several foreign interventions that in one way or another has eroded the international relations that existed perfectly long when it still held to its inception principles.
America took on many responsibilities as the global custodian in ensuring national security. Due to this shift from the original American policy, there was a fear of development of paranoia as far as national security is concerned. It also stood the risk of changing the perceptions of Americans about what describes them as Americans. What happened in September 11th 2001 left people wondering what course America is going to take in years to come about its domestic and foreign policies (Krauthammer, 1984).
America continued in its journey towards being an empire after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Americans carried out these foreign interventions the name of a campaign aimed at having more united, more peaceful world for tomorrow. This ideology came from the liberal side of the American political arena. Many, who were on the conservative side of this group, had a bit of reservation for the issues touching on foreign policy. They approached foreign issues more cautiously as compared to their brothers on the other side (Bowden, 2009).
1n the 1990s the American liberals were in search of big heads considered to be threats to security in foreign lands. They are said to be so much out to do social to the countries abroad through military interventions to the foreign lands. The happening of September 11th 2001 is just one of those effects of the American intervention to foreign lands.
The American policy makers have presented globalization as Americanizing the world. There is a tendency to extend the American way to the entire world. The government is seemingly creating more sub-empires across the entire world. What is called the American domination and political influence, and the effect they have in other countries, an American commonwealth is somehow too close to being an American empire. This will be an idea that is not acceptable to Europeans and Americans themselves. The government is instead trying to achieve this in the disguise of NATO. NATO is a military alliance that was formed to suppress the Soviet Union in Europe. It is a tool used by Americans to eliminate any possible resistance from some of the European countries from the control of the political and economic destiny of European countries. There has also been the incorporation of some of the former members of the Soviet Union into the group so as to neutralize any opposition by the Western European countries.
Elites argue that this is not all about American interests and ideals but rather its identity. They say that it is not just enough for America which is by far the largest economy in the world to be only occupied by Americans alone but rather it should be open to others from other parts of the world. The same ideology campaigns for Americans to be dispersed across the entire world. America acts in such a way as it is not only located in one place but rather dispersed across the entire world. This can already be felt in the European countries (Milton, 1970).
Afghanistan has already been ridded of terrorists and now there is a rebuilding to construct Afghanistan in the American way. Americanizing this country and other Arab countries by using political and military interventions may prove to be quite a hard rock to crack. The highest point of American imperialism was in 1991 when it led a coalition against Iraq after the Kuwait invasion. Over the last ten years, most of the people and leaders in the Middle East region have expressed their anger and their wish to distance themselves from America’s domination, political and economic influence in the region. Even in Egypt which is one of those countries that receive a lot of funding from America is politically angry and dreams for a more cleansed Islamic religion void of any kind of influence.
There is a fear that there is coming a time that those who pretend to be friends of America never turn up when needed. There will be those who only speak by word of mouth but are never there to live up to what they speak. There will be those who will be out to guide America in many ways but rather in pretense. All this time, America will be drawn further away from its founding principles. Resistant people from the foreign lands who will be unwilling to take up the American way will have to be forced to do so. Blood may have to be shed several times as the loyalists of the American way will be trying to make those who want to follow their own way to come under the membership of America commonwealth of nations (Aron, 2003).
At home, the American government will be striving to make its real members to support the government expeditions even if it means getting rid of the ever protected personal and civil liberties. In the long run, the American empire may contribute to further demise of the American way of individual freedom, economic liberty and limited government.
The national security and defense strategies in America were traditionally put in place to deal with the internal security of the Americans. This was adequate for a republic not an empire. This policy was in its best use at the time it was incepted. America was enjoying great peace until the time it overstepped its mandate and started getting involved intervening in international cases. This can be said did not work right with everyone especially those that did not get American support on military intervention. It is indeed true that America is trying its best to maintain the security within its borders but on the other hand it is at a greater risk of being attacked or losing a number of possible international friends. This will probably make America to impose ideologies in foreign lands by force because nobody will be having the willingness to freely cooperate.
It is quite contradictory to say that interventionist foreign policy boosts the security of the United States. It is rather true to say that this policy has greater negative consequences than the positive ones. These include the production and usage of weapons of mass destruction, Countervailing alliances and terrorism. As it was at establishment, the American military forces are ideally come in only when the sovereignty of the nation is at stake/ this though has not been so because the involvement of America has taken place mostly in cases that did not in any way affect the national security. It has been involved in trying to provide solutions to countries that are in civil war or two neighboring countries going at war. There is no much positivity in this because America in most cases does not stand a neutral ground when dealing with foreign intervention. This consequently causes strife among countries. Well the US maintains that if anyone pricks its friend, it gets pricked too and in that case they are definitely bound to react. The invasion to Iraq and Afghanistan did not go well with other Middle East countries. Most Islamic nations are not in good mood with the US because of their foreign policies (Sidney and Howard, 2003).
According to economists is a term contemporarily used to mean the situation where production is private and not in the hands of the state that controls its operations, neither it is under cooperative ownership. In this situation, the economic intervention and regulation of the government is only limited to tax collection and implementation of private ownership. Prices in this market are determined by supply and demand. It differs from controlled markets where price deviation can be effected without change in supply or demand. Historically, free market is used to mean one which is unregulated and every activity is determined by the participants. The government plays a neutral role in this situation. The government does not in any way regulate industries neither does it protect them from internal or external pressures nor does it actively take part in promoting it at all. In America, free market came to be associated with government intervention. Free markets had been much freer before than they are today.
America has never supplied the free market with the features of what a true free market should mean. This is influenced by many things that can be listed endlessly. The free market is affected by ranging from ideology to graft, socialistic schemes, war, government and crises among others. This could be put in a nutshell as greed and immoral desires that are stocked with guns of government (Baynes, 1995).
In colonial America the journey towards great wealth started through sanctioned monopoly by the state. Formation of colonies was done as land grant charters that were issued from the crown of England. These were put in place to be the sources of wealth which were under the government monopoly. Everything was under the control of the crown including ports, imposition of tariffs. Big merchants solely depended on the crown to provide protection from their competitors in all ways. Elements of this state big alliance still exist till today.
In the Article 1 section 8 clause3, the Americans give to congress a power to regulate trade with foreign countries. This clause has been used to abuse traditional ideas within which the free market policy was established. Hamilton and Federalists’ agenda legislated by John Marshall included a centralized control of the government over the power vested on the courts, commerce, taxation in addition to many other issues that were in this long list of agenda. This came to place in 1995. So we can conclude that it is Marshall who sloughed off the meaning of a free state and a free market and supported the congress in introduction of a market regulated by the government. The underlying motive was basically to regulate commerce and taxation. To protect its image as far as being loyal to its ideologies, the government has often redistributed property in the guise of promoting a free market and private ownership.
At inception, America was established on the principles of a democratic nation and governance; it has become quite apparent that the American democracy is going into ruins. The basic democratic values that existed before are slowly being pocketed by a few influential individuals and in turn inversed in other pictures in the face of the world to disguise the happenings around the true American democracy. American government has been in many instances fighting for democracy in some foreign developing countries. Whenever there is any element of democratic imbalance, America is normally the first to express its concern. In some cases an effective American strategic ousting of non-democratic regimes in other countries has been seen. As much as this nation is constitutionally positioned as a republic it is taking a gradual shift from being a republic to being an empire. America is extending its services to parts of the world so that they can easily widen their wing of curvature.
Locally, democracy in America is at the demising point. This can be evidenced by a misinformed population, the lack of civic education, the presence of blind patriotism, the use of penal threat and painful police brutality. America would be the true America that it was when the founders were alive if it sustained and maintained a more humane social democracy. Clear and open information from the media is necessary so that the public may be vested with enough information to be able to make the right decision as far as the destiny of the nation is concerned. The government gave media corporations the right to use the airwaves to make profits. In return, the media should educate the public adequately about the current happenings, but this responsibility has been neglected for a long time. Because of this failure, the public has instead been left with fictions that have found their way into television. The citizens were promised but this promise has been subtly left unfulfilled. This is a misuse of corporate media power which is a sign of the democratic fall in the United States (Lens & Zinn, 2003).
The internet which could have been used for cross communication and is capable of improving democracy has produced new conditions and has disintermediated communication. A free democracy has the active involvement of citizens who need the media to freely express their opinions. If media limits them to extents, then there is no democracy in that case.
Human rights are the legitimate Provisions that people of the given countries are entitled to. The United States were established upon the foundation of protecting human rights. The central objective of the American government has been to promote and protect the rights of human beings. The government understands that by respecting the frights of human beings, there will be peace, stronger democracies, prevention of crime and corruption. As the promotion of human rights is an important national interest, the US government seeks to hold government accountable to this requirement under the international human rights norms.
The United States coordinate and support human rights activists with the organizations they are alienated to. Every year DRL presents a 5000 page report to the congress on the condition of human rights in 190 countries that are obliged to the UN human rights declaration. DRL takes account of past abuses to human rights and possible future ones and takes the responsibility to stop any possibility of a recurrence in the future. One contradictory question would be as follows: does America really keep to the obligation of respecting human rights when they go to war with other countries? Does America guarantee its citizens a full freedom of speech and opinion?
Empirically analyzing some of the major contemporary characteristics, media ecology, cultural silos, political diversity, neoliberal governmentality, and media reform movements, have affected the democratic stand of the United States. The Silicon Valley and the Wall Street are invoking creation of techno-neoliberalism. Research shows that despite the media ecology including both social hierarchical news producers and free social media citizens, the tendency is still in the direction of neoliberal alienation of Media Corporation. This leads to lack of diversity which threatens American democracy (Brown, 1983). In a situation where the media do not acquire a good technology, there is tendency of hacking and accessing some confidential information. The interference with the means of communication, by the government, provokes denying of the citizens’ rights to get and give information freely and is a major hindrance to the basic democratic rights.
In some instances, America has been revealed to have full secret information on other countries obtained with the help of technologies of this era. This exposes the countries to lack the trust to America. Why would the government have the guts to dig their way into the democratic values of other nations? Is this being a true republic state or an empire that is in the process of conquering other kingdoms?
The United States of America have in the past accused countries like Iran for being a threat to world peace due to prospects of nuclear weaponry. America itself is in the ambition of building nuclear weapons hence breaking the Non proliferation treaty signed in 1970. This treaty obliges its signatories not to engage in acquisition of nuclear weapons. In case one already had nuclear weapons, they are obliged not to provide it to other countries and disarm. The only allowance it gives is the development of nuclear power for civil use. Iran on the other side has always stated that central to its foreign policy is to be a good neighbor and to uphold justice at all cost.
The question would be that between Iran and America, who is maintaining the world peace if in the recent past America has been involved in a number of wars while Iran has not been in any. Iran has several times denied the allegations that it is engineering nuclear weapons and even acknowledges that it is immoral to do so no solid evidence has been presented that Iran is indeed engaged in making nuclear weapons. It quite hypocritical for the US to cling on Iran’s neck with unconfirmed allegations yet it has the worst of nuclear weapons. What do we see? The empire imposing rules on its subjects.
America has in the past invaded countries that are perceived to be potentially exposing the world to threats. American military forces have been involved in many peace keeping missions to foreign countries (Smith, 1999).
Mainstream theory deals with how a society operates both nationally and trans-nationally. It is mainly concerned with globalization. It involves economy and social rights of a society. Kagan debated a number of issues including the most recent diplomatic tension that is now existing between Israel and the United States and the bipartisan consensus on the most important issues that are in Obama administration foreign policy agenda.
The announcement made by Israel to put up a Jewish housing caused a misunderstanding between America and the Israeli government. A bipartisan consensus emerged concerning foreign policy issues of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another theorist, Krauthammer in his article entitled that the Reagan Doctrine was a reference to American foreign policy which supports anti-communism around the world. This doctrine that had the support of conservationists also won the backing of the Reagan’s senior security and foreign policy officials. He developed the fundamental theory that the end of the policy is not just the security of America but rather the protection of countries that uphold democracy and thereafter fostering the establishment of new liberal ideologies in the frontier, mostly in the third world countries. In the post-cold war, Krauthammer foresaw a world that would be controlled by a few super power nations with America being the most significant of them. He said that American hegemony would last just for a historical time and then come to an end. Krauthammer argued about how the power that America had should be used. He distanced himself from his neoconservative colleagues who argued for an interventionist policy, the American greatness (Baynes, 1995).
Krauthammer argued that America should, in cases of absence of global threat, not be concerned about intervening in failed states. He opposed humanitarian intervention in parts where American interest was not vested in any way for example the Balkan war. This would mean that the lives of soldiers were at risk for a course that was not worth it anyway. He condemned democratic idealism.
Krauthammer vouched a war was worth the fight not invading another country without proven allegation. At home he opposed the death penalty.
Critical theory is basically an analysis and critiques of a society and tradition drawing from knowledge in social science and humanities. This term originates both from sociology and literary criticism. Critical theory is an umbrella term to mean any theory that is based on criticism.
The American actions as far as its ideologies are concerned to have been under serious criticism from several philosophical theorists. Chomsky talks about the allied forces that went to rage war in Middle East. High technology weapons were used to massacre, murder and even maim civilians who had nothing to do with the war. Even as this equipment is at the brink of denying humanity in its basic needs, a solution is yet to be provided.
Chomsky suggests that there should be no practice of falsifying findings so as to make them friendly for political purposes; rather another means should be put in place to help in unveiling the negative acts of both local and international policy makers. He further criticizes the act of murdering of the innocent in Iraq leaving them with nothing to survive on and yet coming back to celebrate claiming that they were victorious in the war. What about those left to suffer without any help? (Milton, 1970).
According to Chomsky, the world tends to hide behind ideologies and principles that it cannot live up to. In the general public, America presents itself as a country devoted to foreign policy and it acts in such a way that it would go without being comprehended. When America goes to war or intervenes in a civil misunderstanding in foreign countries, what hidden agenda does it keep behind?
Selfa talks about political parties that promise to people great things in their regime but it ends up in not keepin their promise. These parties divert the American desire to change. He also talks about the rule of the minority, an empirical style of governance. Selfa talks about the tea party that is slowly climbing against the current of the public. These theorists are mostly in agreement that the American government is using in its leadership. America is gradually shifting from being a free republic to an empire (Brown, 1983).
Selfa unveils the hidden truth about the tea party threatening to blow up the American economy if their demands that were not taken into consideration. He wonders how a minority group of people can make a decision that affects the larger public yet the majority is sidelined.
Based on the principles of selfless republican state with free market, democracy among other things, America has been blamed for deviating from its principles and doing things in the disguise of helping others but in a majority of cases to protect its own interests. The governmental system and policy implementation have pointed this state to the direction of becoming an empire and not a free republic state that it was established to be. Americanizing other countries abroad to start operating like America in its own respect is the modern colonization. America has reached out to many countries and is so much involved in their affairs in a manner to suggest that it has some hidden agenda, probably to extend its border. Critics have said enough, questions asked and the world is still to establish the objectives of the United States.