American and imperialism might not seem like two words that go together to many, but American Imperialism has and continues to exist. From the days of the attitude of manifest destiny to the idea that many Americans have that God has favored their nation, imperialism can be found at all levels within the United States. This gives Americans certain advantages in the world today, but it also creates certain disadvantages that can make life difficult on some days. Here are the key points of the pros and cons of American imperialism to consider.
The Pros of American Imperialism
1. It helped to modernize the world.
Americans have led the world since the founding of the US in a number of areas. From the creation of the transistor to modern robotics to the ability to explore deep space, these technologies have sometimes been brought to other nations through the practice of imperialism. This has helped to develop nations faster than they would have been able to do on their own.
2. It has led to global defense support.
The United States currently has over 650 military bases in 38 different countries. This gives the world a certain level of defensive support which helps to protect the individual person around the world in times of conflict. American training, equipment support, and other resources provided through imperialism allows for people to pursue their dreams with fewer worries.
3. It creates a solitary message.
Americans may argue with each other often about the right way to proceed, but eventually they come together to create a solitary message of freedom that is rare in the world today. Imperialism then takes this message to others around the world. This can even be seen in the use of the American dollar, which is the official currency in 9 nations other than the US around the world right now. More than 60% of foreign exchange reserves is held in US dollars as well.
4. It fuels economic growth.
American imperialism has a focus on innovation in order for profits to be achieved. This helps to lead new products and services into the rest of the world that can fuel economic growth locally and for the United States. It creates new markets and the imperialistic tendencies then allows the US to dominate that market.
The Cons of American Imperialism
1. It stops the idea of freedom actually being free.
A core component of life in the US is that people are free to think, feel, and pursue happiness in a way that is best for them. This process is then dictated onto nations and territories that may not wish to practice life in the same way that Americans do. People are forced to conform or risk being considered a secondary class of citizen, which is contrary to the idea that freedom is being brought to a region thanks to America.
2. It is ridiculously expensive.
The defense spending of the United States accounts for 20% of the nation’s entire budget. At an estimated $610 billion in 2015, this level of spending is $9 billion more than the combined resources of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom. Even if defense spending were cut in half by the United States, it would still lead the world in spending.
3. It creates debt.
American debt is at an all-time high right now, estimated to be $18.6 trillion according to fiscal year 2016 budget figures. Although debt payments have been made by the US within the past 5 years and much of the debt is internally created by taking from the Social Security program, many nations hold debt from the US that secures their own finances. This means American imperialism spending is creating an indebtedness that could be quite costly in the future.
4. There is no longer a need for it to exist.
American imperialism has been disguised as a mechanism for profitability for so long that many no longer recognize its existence. With centuries of energy products in reserve and numerous resources that could be developed, the US could pull itself back from being an imperialistic force in the world and allow other nations to develop on their own without any risk.
The pros and cons of American imperialism show that it has been beneficial from a global perspective in many ways, but the cost of that development has been high at the individual level. The manifest destiny of spreading American values may continues on, but it requires billions of dollars in spending that may not always be sustainable.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.