THE TEMPLATE FOR THE CREATION OF EMPIRE
or…THE EMPIRE STRIKES…YIKES!
Power: The control of or unremitting desire to control the physical world by any means necessary.
Virtue: Self-sacrifice for the sake of truth.
Truth is the enemy of power.
–Cactus Ed Abbey
There can be no serious effort toward the creation, maintenance and expansion of empire without an unfettered commitment to the ideology of power. Power and virtue are antonymous. As such, any inclination toward the exercise of virtue inhibits the seeker of power from achieving the desired ends and therefore creates a self-defeating mechanism.
Once the commitment is made, however, a familiar pattern develops. The steps are universal and are taken by all serious players, as evidenced by the pages of history. At this point, potentates are ready to impose the patterns of The Template.
The implementation of The Template must be strategically sound, as any blunders may result in disaster for the empire. Specifically, the empire must choose its victim carefully, insuring two vital objectives:
1. The target must have worth, i.e., assets that, through conquest, will contribute to the expansion and strength of the power base.
2. The target must be sufficiently vulnerable as to insure a successful absorption by the empire.
As an example, these features are stunningly clear and present in the decision by the European monarchies to absorb the Americas.
The Appearance of Virtue
Once commitment steps 1 and 2 above are accomplished, the machinery of power is set in motion. Whereas naked aggression is both frightening and instinctively resisted, the empire will disguise its efforts under the mantle of virtue. The empire will seek to appear as a force for justice, temperance, liberation, or economic reform. The rise to power of Adolf Hitler is an easy example. He understood that a nation ravaged by economic depression and military defeat would be receptive to the promises of reform, financial restoration, and cultural renaissance.
From Virtue To Force
Naturally, while it is easy to create the appearance of virtue, that illusion quickly dissipates as the target culture comes to understand the underlying disadvantages of cooperating or interacting with the empire. Consequently, force is then applied. The purpose of the applied force at this point is almost always implemented with the goal of territorial occupation. Separating the target populace from the physical control of its own territory is a huge step forward. This process is often done in stages.
The proxy and/or populace must undergo a domestic and/or international propaganda campaign of demonization. There must be dehumanization and the rhetoric of righteousness, often proclaiming the proxy and/or target populace as somehow “evil.” Needless to say, this technique of “The Crusade” is an old one in the strategy of empire.
Often, the tried and true technique of construed provocation is established. The empire will orchestrate the appearance of provocation from the target culture, thereby establishing a justification for intervention (read: conquest). Examples of this are the so-called protection of trade, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the protection of repressed minorities, drug traffic, etc. A most cynical example would be Maoist China’s claim that the people of Tibet wanted communist liberation from their oppressive theocracy.
Once the empire has established an image of righteousness on the world stage, lethal force may be applied with little or no concern for accountability to international bodies of law technically dedicated to the overseeing of just intervention, such as the United Nations, The World Court, The International Criminal Court, The Geneva Convention, or various treaty organizations.
Rule By Proxy
Once territorial occupation is accomplished, rule by proxy is installed. That is, an oligarchy or ruling junta or individual (all of whom are essentially members of the target populace who conspire with the empire) is backed by the empire and placed in power. At this point, it is often effective to resurrect the illusion of a virtuous rule, i.e., a government that appears to have the people’s best interests in mind.
In reality, the proxy will facilitate the empire’s needs for power expansion, often by shepherding the financial and territorial worth of the target culture into the coffers of the empire. This is to be done, naturally, at the expense of the target culture and its assets and resources.
It would be ideal for the empire if a steady state of unchallenged exploitaiton endures. Indeed, this will happen should the conquest and containment of the target be highly successful. However, history shows that sooner or later, this state becomes destabilized. One or more of the events below emerges:
1. The proxy itself or himself commits the one and only sin: Independent thinking, i.e., the proxy exhibits sovereign thinking patterns, or simply wishes to have a freer hand with its or his own megalomania.
2. The target populace commits The Sin and stirs itself with a longing to breath free.
3. Both the proxy and the populace commit The Sin and yearn for cultural and political autonomy.
The empire can tolerate much among the conquered. Genghis Kahn was famous for his liberal and generous policies, freedom of religion, freedom of language, freedom of cultural lifestyle. However, should any proxy or conquered culture act so outrageously as to indicate a desire to establish its own sovereignty, then that culture has committed The Sin. Commission of The Sin is never tolerated. When it is committed, the empire is galvanized into action.
1. Should the proxy alone be the sinner, he will be removed and replaced with an obedient proxy, as in the case of Manuel Noriega.
2. Should the populace sin, the proxy will be directed to repress the freedom seekers. Good examples of this are Marcos, Suharto, Somoza, the Shah of Iran, and Ngo Dinh Diem.
3. Should both the proxy and the populace sin together, the use of massive and lethal force may be necessary.
Naturally, steps one through three above will be accomplished under the guise of virtuous action, often in the form of rescue or liberation.
After the pacification of the rebel movement, the empire will restructure the politics and containment of the target, often leading to a new era of occupation, proxy, financial exploitation and yet more rebellion. The pattern is repeated until the target is completely subdued, crushed and/or genocidally eliminated, as in the case of the native people of North America, or until the empire itself collapses under its own weight, as in the Soviet Union.
This collapse may be relatively sudden, as in the aforementioned, or may take years, viz a viz Rome. The British and French Empires have been contracting steadily since the turn of the 20th Century.