While there is I suppose always room for yet another statement of "ain't it awful" -- even the writer has his putative future observer stretching, yawning, and going to pour himself another cup of coffee -- the aim of the intelligent analyst should always be to ask why it should be so, and then to provide at least a plausible answer, even if only tentative.Here is my own answer, courtesy of my late father (1906-2002): "Every nation, when it first gets real power, abuses it."When the French got some power under Louis XIV, they burned down Heidelberg; when they had Italy at their mercy under Napoleon, they robbed the Vatican Museum.When the Swedes came out of the Thirty years' War as the greatest power of the Baltic Sea, they set up monopolistic tolls of the trade in cereals which passed through their ports to the Netherlands.When the Dutch could dominate Indonesia, they forced everyone to grow coffee for the profit of the Netherlands.When the Spanish conquered the Americas, they stole as much gold and silver as they could.Well, now it's the turn of the United States. The people of the United States can, if they choose, push much of the world about militarily. They can choose to sabotage international cooperation, international humanitarian treaties, and can use with a large degree of impunity war and the threat of war as an implement of foreign policy.They can tolerate a policy of torture applied to prisoners of war. They can refuse to match the charitable contributions of the rest of the industrialized nations. They can forget about their obligations to provide war reparations to Vietnam.And they're doing all of those things. They're abusing the power that historical accident has given them.It won't last forever, but it is by no means the "Original Sin." Far from it.
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