THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday...Oh, that's rich. But if by "pouring resources in" you mean "plundering" and if by "administering" you mean "enslaving," then the Limies did a fantastic job in India. It's only a surprise that those ungrateful Indians eventually threw their betters out. Don't they know what's good for them? Of course, if American imperialists had our way, we would simply seize and monopolize Iraq's oil the way Britain did India's tea, unashamedly killing off or driving out everyone who said differently. Since we haven't, then we're not yet quite as bad as the Brits, are we old chap?
He contrasted it unfavourably with how the British Empire governed India. “It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what the British Empire did — in India, for example.
But leaving India behind for a moment, we ought to visit Ireland* for an example of what England did when they could really sink their bad teeth into a country over a long period.
Without getting too much into the religious angle**, suffice it to say that in the time of Cromwell, on one side you had Ireland (Catholic and Royalist) and on the other, England (Protestant and Parliamentarian). The English had more or less colonized Ireland since the time of Henry II (about 500 years) and had tried everything from setting up their own earls (e.g. the Geraldines and Ormonds), to depopulating entire counties (e.g. the Plantations under Bloody Mary, James I, and Charles I) and replacing them with English, but they had never managed to completely subjugate the Gaelic Irish - in fact, the longer the English stayed in Ireland the more Irish they became ("Fitzgerald," for example, is not a native Irish name, but an Anglo-Norman one). Now Cromwell and his New Model Army were about to give it another shot.
English Civil Wars explains how the British "poured energy and resources into administering and normalizing" a city called Drogheda:
The Parliamentarian army swept through the town, slaughtering officers and soldiers. The Royalist governor Sir Arthur Aston was bludgeoned to death with his own wooden leg, which the soldiers believed to be filled with gold coins. Catholic priests and friars were treated as combatants and killed on sight. Many civilians died in the carnage. A group of defenders who had barricaded themselves in St Peter's church in the north of the town were burned alive when the Parliamentarians set fire to the church. Around 3,500 people died in the storming of Drogheda; many of those who survived were transported to Barbados.Now lest one think that the English simply got carried away on this occasion, they did the same thing at Wexford - and in any other place the Irish defended themselves.
But the finest example of English "administration" were the Penal Laws - which followed shortly afterwards - designed to disinherit Catholics (i.e. native Irish) in favor of the English Who Were Doing The Lord's Work in colonizing that country. Coincidentally, these were also known as "Anglicans," members in good standing of the very same Church of England over which our esteemed Archbishop reigns.
The Penal Laws were designed to give the Irish a choice: become Anglican or starve to death. Irish Catholics were forbidden to own guns or horses, adopt orphans or foster children, inherit land from an Anglican (and Catholic land was often inherited by the nearest Anglican relative, whether the Catholic had children or no). The Gaelic Irish could not run schools, go to college, or learn a trade. They could not serve in any office from Parliament on down, including the military. In short, the Penal Laws were designed to suppress and impoverish the native Irish***, denying them any civic life, education, employment, or chance at material betterment. They were continually pushed to Connought, the westernmost and most barren part of the island, while the English re-settled the good land with good Anglicans. All for the benefit of the ruled, no doubt, which explains why the Irish came here instead of flocking to London.
America does plenty wrong. We have done it in the past****, we are doing it in the present, and doubtless we will do it in the future, just like any other nation except maybe Iceland. But if we are going to aspire to do Imperialism half as well as the English did it, we've got a lot to learn*****. Nobody did it as effectively as the English did except maybe the Spanish, and few clergymen have benefited from that imperialism, historically, like the Archbishop of Canterbury.
* The example of Ireland is why I am absolutely convinced that whatever its faults, and they are damned few, the American Revolution was not only justified but absolutely critical. It was also inevitable. And that's a good thing.
** Because as is most often the case, religion and power were intertwingled in such a way as to give a war about power (Parliament vs. the Stuarts and England vs. Ireland) a 'righteous' slogan. Religion is good for many things, not the least of which historically has been convincing some men to kill civilians so others can rule over their orphaned children.
*** Lest anyone mistakenly think it was completely anti-Catholic rather than anti-Irish, I would remind him that the Penal Laws were simply an update to and expansion of the centuries-old Statutes of Kilkenny (you bastards), which had already banned speaking or writing in Irish, and English/Irish intermarriage, and Irish entry into many positions, upon pain of death. Not only was this done when both nations were Catholic, it was the only English pope (Adrian IV) who set the whole miserable affair in motion by granting the English king title to Ireland.
**** Just ask any Native American.
***** I have no problem with people criticizing America's current (or former) policies, domestic or foreign. This blog is often nothing but that, though in the interests of the latter maybe one day I'll expound on the Founding Fathers' "Politics of Humanity" vs. Teddy Roosevelt's, Woodrow Wilson's, or George Bush's expansionism-for-their-own-good, which is thoroughly English in outlook. I also have no problem with the British per se, since I'm of English heritage and love the history of England far more than that of my own country.
[bonus rant] However, for this pompous windbag of an Archbishop, who rules like some midget tyrant over a church created for no other reason than to give a corrupt, murderous, and psychotic King a legal divorce, to compare anyone unfavorably to the imperialism historically promoted by his very own church is laughable. Rather than flapping his lips in such a way he should be doing penance in the streets of Limerick, wearing a hairshirt, chanting in Gaelic and pounding his forehead with a 2x4, and begging forgiveness from the children of the orphans his church created over 5 centuries with cannon, sword, and bayonet.
So here's an offer: once the US drives the native population out of Iraq, once it bans speaking and writing Arabic and teaching any Arab a trade of any sort, once it kills every Imam on sight and burns every Quran (and the person who owns it), once it purposely destroys all Arabic learning and culture, once it gives over all the territory of the country to connected Americans and their personal armies to pass to their children in perpetuity and makes anyone left behind their personal slaves over whom it gives the power of life and death, once we ban schools instead of building them, once we stop spending hundreds of billions in borrowed American dollars and pay for our government here with the plunder the Middle East, and once we do it for half a freaking millennium, purposely reducing an educated and hard-working population to abject poverty and starvation, then I'll be ready to listen to him make unflattering comparisons between us and Britain in its imperial heydey.
Until then he'll simply serve as an object lesson of the absolute evil of an Established Church and of the cretinous and pedomorphic bureaucrats who feed off it like maggots on a roadside possum, who always have and always will. [/ bonus rant]