by Eric Margolis
The year 2003 dramatically and dolefully illustrated Lord Acton's famous dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
An almighty United States, unrestrained by any rival, international body, or world opinion, bestrode the globe, a belligerent colossus determined to monopolize global oil reserves and use its vast military power to crush lesser nations or malefactors that disturbed the Pax Americana.
For America's hard right - a curious farrago of Armageddon-seeking southern Protestants; neo-conservative supporters of Israel's right-wing Likud party; and the military-industrial-petroleum complex - the Bush administration's aggressive foreign policy of world domination, and utter contempt for international laws and old allies, marks a new era of national greatness. President George Bush, who vowed his foreign policy would be "humble" and "compassionate," has turned out to be the most radical president in modern U.S. history.
But for those Americans whose primary loyalty was to their country, rather than to religious cultism, foreign nations, or financial profit, the rapid emergence of the U. S. as an imperial power waging two hugely expensive colonial wars in Asia was a disaster, both for America's democratic system and for the rest of the world.
Bush's vow to bring "democracy" to the Mideast rang as hollow as pious assurances by 19th century European colonialists they were gobbling up Africa and Asia to bring the blessings of Christianity and civilization to benighted savages. Pillaging resources, not enlightenment, were - and remain - the true colonial motivation.
Bush's claims to hold the mandate of heaven to wage global warfare against the nebulous forces of "terrorism" sounded as dangerous and nonsensical as old Chairman Leonid Brezhnev's drunken claims it was the Soviet Union's "sacred internationalist duty" to launch military adventures anywhere on Earth where socialism was threatened.
Columnist Georgie Anne Gayer put it perfectly when she recently wrote that whereas America used to lead the world as champion of democracy, personal freedom and human rights, today, under Bush, it instead seeks to dominate the world through raw military and monetary power.