A new episode of Mass for Shut-ins is now available, featuring the very interesting Dr. Daniel Immerwahr talking about his new book, "How to Hide an Empire."

We talk about the many ways in which America has maintained (and still maintains) an empire through territorial occupation, a network of military bases fanned out across the globe, and domination of international standards. Tales of various Guano Islands Act (1856) possessions are told, and you don't want to miss them. Extended version of the interview available on Patreon.

Cocktail of the month: Suffering Bastard

Question Cathy returns with a special Patreon-only mailbag.

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Thanks: Dr. Immerwahr, all the bands that contribute music (Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

15 thoughts on “HOW TO HIDE AN EMPIRE”

  • The US was never very good at hiding its hidden empire. One of the causes of the Revolution was England's closing of the northwest frontier. Since we were still a colony then, this is only mentioned obliquely in the Declaration of Independence, still it's there. So far, so good at hiding, but then there was 54° 40' or fight and the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. Back then people didn't realize how hard it was to keep a campaign slogan or official policy statement hidden.

    Then came the wars with Mexico. I have no idea of how those got hushed up what with Remember the Alamo. Surely someone was going to remember. Then we took on the Spanish empire. William Randolph Hearst himself tried to keep this under wraps, but people often noticed the big type headlines on his newspapers. Worse, Kipling wrote a pretty popular and well known poem about it.

    By the time we took on the German and Japanese empires, someone must have had a clue what with the entire nation mobilized. Maybe no one noticed the whole thing back in the 1940s, but by the 1960s World War II was all over television. The Nielsen ratings were mixed, but our imperial expansion wasn't exactly hidden, especially once the Vietnam War broke out.

    Now, the British Empire was properly hidden. They had the whole no borders thing down pat what with the sun never setting on it. Their secret acquisition of India, their quietly pushing the French out of Canada, their hidden base in Gibraltar, and that secret canal linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas were sheer genius, perfect examples of stealth and guile.

  • I forget the author but there is an excellent analysis of the Spanish-American War called Empire by Default.

  • Not to worry, the groundwork for dissolution is being laid, if ever we're cut off from off-shored industrial capacity we'll be in a bad way, and "The Tangerine Shitgibbon" is offering discouragement daily to anyone who does International transactions in Dollars. "Empire in all but name" describes us fairly well, for as long as it lasts.

  • john danley says:

    Ah. So *this* explains the phone conversation between Roosevelt and Gary Oldman. Uh, I meant Churchill.

  • Sigh. Hidden empires aren’t empires.

    Let me guess—Immerwahr said Afghanistan and Iraq were for oil…

  • No, Inkie. They were for FREEDUMB. Because Sadaam was responsible for 911!

    I hope as Ed becomes more widely known this blog does not become more like Field Negro, an excellent blog that is overrun by right wing trolls and Trumpbots.

  • Oh. I remember leftist feebs intoning that it was All About Oil From Empire. Except we got zero oil.

    As for me, I agreed with Barack and Hillary’s subsequent reformulation in Libya, namely regime change.

    “Overrun” with rightie “trolls”? Translation: occasional check on this choir-loft reacharound.

  • Dear Inkberrow:

    FWIW, I think that Dick Cheney was the guy who said that Iraq would pay for our expenditures with oil revenues–that he was DEEPLY DELUSIONAL is obvious (and was then) and I don't recall ANY lefties screeching about it back then.

    Fuck off, troll.

  • I have heard two contemporary stories that resemble the Baltimore forced labor tale. In Thailand (and Indonesia?), fishermen use slave labor from countries like Cambodia to provide the manpower. Men are tricked onto the boats and forced to work on pain of death or torture. A similar trick has been used against American female college students. Fishermen from some Asian country conned them into accepting summer work on their boats which turned into a nightmare slavery experience.

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