Listening to NPR this morning (really, it was new from NPR on WXPN--the best radio station ever, I digress) and they aired a brief spot on negotiations regarding American troops remaining in Iraq. The basis of the piece was that a UN mandate is allowing American forces to remain in Iraq until 2009; but after that date Iraq has to agree to be occupied. I realize the use of the word 'occupied' is perhaps too severe, but it's what I'm going with. Negotiations are underway and may not be swinging the way our administration wants it to. The news person quoted an Iraqi official as saying, "We do not want to become colonized."
His use of the word 'colonized' is, by no means, too severe. I do not think that we, as Americans, can think of ourselves as colonizers in the same way that we view the British and French sprawls of the 19th and 20th centuries--but I, and others like Niall Ferguson, believe that we are quickly headed that way. Unlike me, Ferguson believes it is America's duty to take up the flag of imperialism and usher forth a new golden age. Though I am sure he is brilliant, I think Ferguson thinks a bit too highly of the British empire and cannot see past the good parts to the negative underbelly of Victoria's land grab.
While I'm not an isolationist, I do not want to live in the nexus of an empire.