~ The term imperialism has a negative sound to it, as it means a forceful or covert expansion into unwilling territories. However, it has also ushered many smaller countries onto the path of development.
~ The emergence of the United States as a world power after the world wars, construction of the Panama Canal, etc., are all consequences of American imperialism.
~ Imperialism can be categorized as economic, political/military, and cultural imperialism.
~ When a nation takes over the natural resources of another nation and makes the country financially dependent, it is termed as economic imperialism. This is most visible in the frantic race by America, Europe, and China to gain a strong foothold in Gulf, Africa, and Antarctica for its natural resources.
~ Though stating this fact explicitly would be politically incorrect, superpowers naturally tend to force their policies and laws on smaller and weaker nations. This is called political imperialism.
~ Most of these countries are also known to use covert military operations, supply arms to many rebels, and destabilize the governments that do not favor them.
~ When a nation or a particular belief is forced on the culture and way of life on another country, is called cultural imperialism.
~ This concept has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, a sophisticated standard of living and racial discrimination were some of the advantages and disadvantages of imperialism in Africa.
~ A general overview of the positives and negatives of this concept is enlisted below.
America is one of the most powerful nations of the world. Its sheer size, economy, territories, and technological advancements make it so influential that many smaller nations or cultures look up to America as if it were a god.
Many decades ago, America established its dominance over other nations, particularly during the two world wars by showing off its military prowess and interfering with what are supposedly local affairs of other governments.
Imperialism is more of a negative idea than a positive one – it signifies a nation’s thirst for expansion at the expense of others. Still, it has its advantages, which we will examine here along with its disadvantages.
List of Pros of American Imperialism
1. Expands Territories
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of American imperialism and imperialism as a whole is expansion of territories. The more territories you have, the greater power you have. A huge country such as the United States has many resources to tap. Although the United States lost some of its territories after the Second World War, it continues to dominate over American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.
2. Boosts Economy
The United States bring its influence to its territories, including its technology, industries, government policies and other privileges enjoyed by US citizens. Territories enjoy economic growth spurs fueled by that of a superpower nation such as the US. Smaller nations that welcome American imperialism at best experience the American way of life right in their own backyard.
3. Fortifies US Defense
With allies and military bases around the world, the US is certainly at a great advantage defense wise. Many smaller nations look up to the US for military aid, especially when faced with terrorism and grave internal conflict.
List of Cons of American Imperialism
1. Kills Tradition
US territories and those that embrace American imperialism often lose a part of their identity and tradition. Their culture is now blended or integrated with the American way of life, and their own people discriminate what is locally and originally their own.
American imperialism is unnecessary because the US is already vast enough, it does not need any more territories or empires. If anything, the US is spending so much on military bases scattered around the world, and on helping the economic activity of its territories. Having territories is expensive.
3. Kills Freedom
Americans treasure and honor freedom so much, and yet, by holding territories, it defies its own values. US territories remain under the control of the American government, and could not act on its own. Similarly, people in US territories may be compelled to embrace the American culture – to think and act like true Americans or suffer discrimination.
American imperialism is alive until today, and there is no way of telling when it is going to end if ever. The influence that America has on other countries, particularly former and existing territories is a lasting one, so deeply embedded into the very hearts of the people for many years, that it may be impossible to eliminate it.