A Quote of the Day – we cannot help but see ourselves as Lords, and other nations as peons

During the past 50 years many (most?) Americans have adopted an imperial mindset.  It’s visible to varying degrees in most writings about our wars.  Today’s quote of the day shows an especially clear — and weird — example.

Andrew Exum points the way, in his 8 August post at Abu Muqawama “Schmidle on Mehsud“:

Nick Schmidle — one of my favorite commentors on Pakistan — warns us to not get overly excited about the assassination of Baitullah Mehsud and, to my mind, gets his conclusion exactly right …

Exum then quotes the conclusion from “After Mehsud – The rest of the Pakistani Taliban won’t be such easy targets“, Nicholas Schmidle, Slate, 7 August 2009:

Now the hard part begins. Since the CIA has demonstrated its ability to pinpoint “high-level targets,” it will want to go after other top Taliban leaders in Pakistan, such as Maulvi Nazir in South Waziristan and Jalaluddin Haqqani in North Waziristan. But Pakistan’s military and security establishment perceives both men, who focus their fighting in Afghanistan and not in Pakistan, as national security assets more than threats. And there’s no magic drone strike to fix that.

Red emphasis added to that wonderful ending.  Because we are there to stabilze Pakistan.  And the judgement of Pakistan’s military and security establishment is of course inferior to ours about how to do so.

No explanation needed.  It’s obvious, to those true defenders of the American Empire.

Don’t laugh.  Folks like Exum and Schmidle are guiding America into the 21st century.  Their lack of self-awareness — and near-total ignorance of the suicidal nature of an empire with negative cash flow — IMO steer America on the rocks.

About Nicholas Schmidle

From the New American Foundation website.

Mr. Schmidle received the 2008 Kurt Schork Award for freelance journalism based on his reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he lived throughout 2006 and 2007 as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs. He speaks Persian and Urdu, and is a graduate of James Madison University and American University.

He is a fellow at the New America Foundation and author of To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan.


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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest these days:

Some posts about America’s empire

  1. Geopolitical implications of the current economic downturn, 24 January 2009
  2. Prof Nouriel Roubini describes “The Decline of the American Empire”, 18 August 2008
  3. The foundation of America’s empire: our chain of bases around the world, 8 September 2008
  4. “A shattering moment in America’s fall from power”, 19 November 2008
  5. “End of Empire” by David Roche, 29 November 2008
  6. The transition between Imperial reigns: what will it mean for America?, 16 December 2008
  7. To understand the Imperial Unconscious, Tom provides the Dictionary of American Empire-Speak, 6 March 2009
  8. Team Obama, guardians of the American Empire (did you expect anything else?), 14 April 2009
  9. Niall Ferguson, poet-laureate of the American Empire, 27 May 2009
  10. A wonderful discussion about the American Empire, 24 June 2009

2 thoughts on “A Quote of the Day – we cannot help but see ourselves as Lords, and other nations as peons”

  1. I recently read this long, but excellent piece on how conflicts could be ended in Afghanistan and its region (“From Great Game to Grand Bargain“, B. Rubin and A. Rahid, Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 2008). One thing that struck me as I was reading, was how the authors made the position of Pakistan seem so dangerous, and the fears of the Pakistani state seem so very real. They described the situation like: “The Pakistanis fear that their nation will be dismembered. They believe they are threatened by a USA/Afghani/Indian plot to encircle them, on one hand, and an Iranian/Russian plot on the other hand” (I’m paraphrasing).

    It is a strange thing to sympathize with a nation. But I ended up sympathizing with the Pakistani desire for nuclear weapons as a deterrent to their mortal enemy India, and even understanding why they might want to keep the Taliban active in the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a kind of human minefield against incursion from Afghanistan. Perhaps a lack of this kind of sympathy for another nation is one reason that Exum and Schmidle reason the way they do.
    FM note: Other works by Ahmed Rashid and Barnett R. Rubin:
    * “Pakistan on the Brink“, Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books, 11 June 2009
    * Afghanistan’s Uncertain Transition from Turmoil to Normalcy“, Barnett R. Rubin, Council on Foreign Relations, March 2006
    * Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, by Ahmed Rashid

  2. You can’t honestly be serious that “Folks like Exum and Schmidle are guiding America into the 21st century”. can you? I’ve never heard of Schmidle and rarely agree with Exum.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Yes. These are the sort of people that are guiding the policy. DoD and the NSC have hordes of them, whose names don’t appear outside government circles.

    “{I} rarely agree with Exum”

    And your point is? How is that relevant?

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