I read a lot about the American “Empire” nowadays, and I concede that the USA has imperial ambitions. But isn’t an empire supposed to yield benefits of some kind to the homeland? As I see it, the USA’s empire is very badly run and actually costs the homeland rather than bringing in any gain.
First off, the huge military alone costs trillions of dollars and is way bigger than the next several states’ militaries combined. In a well run empire, the military would be required to pay its own way. Overseas deployments would be manned by third world mercenaries who would serve for peanuts. Occupied territories would be taxed until they bled to pay for the occupation force and to send dividends back home. If a territory couldn’t be made to pay, the empire would pass on it. Also, non-occupied states could be required to pay tribute in order to keep the empire from attacking or to compensate the empire for defense. Japan and Korea, for example, would be paying billions. Germany and France could afford quite a bit of protection money. Hey, Saudis, nice oil fields you got there. It would be shame if anything happened to them.
Secondly, the British had it down when they ruled much of the world via “indirect rule”. The USA? Not so much. The USA doesn’t seem to get much out of its puppets, and actually has to pay to prop them up. Foreign aid goes out, but foreign booty doesn’t seem to come in.
I get nothing from the empire except a bigger tax bill and more intrusive imperial government at home. I don’t know anyone who gains from the empire, but then again I don’t run in elite circles. The empire looks to me to be nothing more than a basis for extracting wealth from the empire’s domestic subjects and redistributing it to defense contractors and other politically connected businessmen and kleptocrats.
GW Bush is the worst emperor ever. That’s right. Worse than Caligula. Caligula was a dodgy guy, but I am pretty sure his empire turned a profit. If we had Caligula in the White House, we’d at least get bread and circuses.