Jul 23, 2020Liked by Patrick Wyman

You’re so good, Patrick. Your work touches me in ways that few are able. You’re ability to use historical lessons to demonstrate the “rhymes” from history to the present teach those who listen meaningful lessons. Thank you.

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Jul 24, 2020Liked by Patrick Wyman

Brilliant article. Informative and chilling. I hope it is not a harbinger of things to come but I cannot fault your argument or the historical precedent. November really is an existential election.

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Jul 23, 2020Liked by Patrick Wyman

Terrific analysis!

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For eighteen years I've been annoyed by the name "Homeland Security" as in the 2002 Homeland Security Act and a year later the Department of . . . The word Homeland conjured for me the Nazi use of the German word for Fatherland. But I knew there was more beyond just that distasteful allusion. I couldn't put my finger on exactly why it was so odious. Until now. This excellent essay enables me to see that the American government's utilization of the phrase Homeland Security was a disgusting milestone. It was the point when it became okay (as in no longer considered shameful) to admit we were an empire. Why? Because if you need to name the place where most of your people live as the Homeland, then you must have (as in own and/or control) other lands. Which, of course, we had and have.

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Great post. Scary. But great....So many questions.... - does everything get better if Biden prevails - or will we be dealing with this for years to come? Is Tronald Dump a buffoon or does he know exactly what he’s doing? Would an effective tyrant in the future be more successful Or is this the wake up call the average American needs to understand that a republic requires participation and attention....does scrolling through Twitter all day long make us more informed or more prone to hyperbole...

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This is a pretty bad take, especially since you are a history professor.

1. The percentage across the multiple departments within the DHS of vets might be around 30%, (28% in DHS directly and roughly 33% across the USG as a whole), but that 30% includes analysts, logistics, etc…they are not all cops and that is far from all that DHS does. This is either an intentional conflation or a lazy one.

2. The idea that Law Enforcement is mostly made up of prior vets and they have taken home that violence from the wars with them to the local PDs is also another lazy accusation. It assumes that the vets that are in LE are combat or combat trained vets, assumes that they can only react with violence and assumes that is the reason for actions people are witnessing in a 2D environment via videos from protests. No context or possibility for other reasons to be driving these things? It also ignores that only roughly 20% of LE nationally are vets.

3. The implication is that the wars have somehow caused these actions, again, this is either intentional false conflation or a lazy bit of writing as we have had far worse riots in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, the 1960’s and 70’s and far more violence to boot.

4. The Border Patrol is, (under ICE), over 50% Hispanic, that does not support the narrative you are pushing in relation to their effect on illegal immigration so I noticed that was left out. Also left out is that their actions have been going on long before Trump. He might be a terrible President, but this has been going on long before he came into office.

5. The idea that this is some new phase of violence ignore history and that you are a history Professor and do not mention this is concerning. One has to simply go back to the early 1900’s and you will see far more violence and far more severe incidents of violence due to the labor, anarchist and Marxists movements of the time.

6. Shoot forward to the 1960’s & 1970’s, again, far more domestic violence in terms of riots, violent protests and actual targeted violence by left wing organizations. In one 2 year period, (1971-72’), there were over 2500 bombings in the US alone. That is not a typo, that is 2500. That leaves out the bank robberies, jet hijacking, etc…that also occurred during the period and almost exclusively politically motivated. It was, like the anarchist and Marxists violence before it, almost entirely driven from the left spectrum of the politics.

7. The idea that we are an Empire in the sense of Rome is a tired cliché, we do most of what we do around the world to attempt to maintain stability. Why? The Bretton Woods agreement and the ensuing Cold War are the reasons why. I would also add that Rome or the British Empire never paid huge sums of money to rent small spaces of land, trained the local host nation for free and supplied them with arms for no cost either. Do we do it out of love? No, we do it out of real politik and in the hopes of using power projection, promoting stability in a region for trade and we do in fact try to promote human rights. All of those things are in our interest with the last one being a positive in terms of making the world a better place for as many as we can.

8. The idea that we are now somehow collapsing is like every other time that it has been said since Post WWII. As soon as The Cold War ended the academics came out of the woodwork and began to predict the same thing, that the US was collapsing. This theory is almost always pushed by academics and pseudo intellectuals. Here is the real rub, I think secretly many of you hope that it is true. Thankfully people to date have always been wrong, but one day it will happen, but it will be long after both of our bones have long turned to dust.

We can should do better, but the ahistorical writings coupled with presentism is a bad look for a History PhD.

Recommend the following for good reads:

“Days of Rage-Americas Radical Underground” by Bryan Burrough's

“The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder” by Peter Zeihan

“The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny” by William Strauss and Neil Howe

"Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)"- Graham Allison

"On Grand Strategy" book by John Lewis Gaddis

There are many others of course that would give you a better understanding of things you are writing about, perhaps a better start would be anything by Gaddis really, but in the interest of honesty I am bias towards his writing. And frankly, just taking some time to do some research on the US Military would go a long way too. The lack of knowledge presented about the military, vets and the effects of combat or who serves and what they do saddens me to read in the article and the comments section.

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I think of the "looking like soldiers but not being soldiers" as a problem with not enough military or policing training. When I see these guys running their rifles are not secure. They look right and hold the rifle pointing left while holding a line. They don't line up correctly, they overlap, spacing is random, everything is unstable, they can't know for sure what the guy next to them is doing. Military men don't do that, they know how to stand in a damn line. They can run while holding a rifle. They know not to shoot kids holding boom boxes in the head. In the real military that causes nothing but trouble, even if nobody cares about the kid, it's too public. All the training those guys are missing is the "how and why not to shoot people during a riot" type. These guys are thinking for themselves, with no clear leadership and not enough time together to work as one force. They're a dozen Rambos waiting for their big break. They will never win in Portland. It would be hard to win in Portland, but a correctly trained military might be able to.

Loved your article, thanks for writing.

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It seems to me that what we are seeing in Portland in the form of a paramilitary force, unaccountable and apparently unrestrained by local agencies is essentially no different from what we have been witnessing for the last twenty or so years in the militarization of state and local policing in our cities across the nation as a whole. The SWAT tactics in the form of "No-Knock" raids, the deployment of military style assault vehicles in our urban settings and the at times apparently unprovoked police violence we are seeing seem to be obvious manifestations of the military style training at a South Carolina police academy that I recently viewed on a PBS program. The cadets marched in step, chanted "boo-yah" in unison and except for the difference in uniforms, seemed no different from the Marines. I almost expected them to exclaim, "Semper Fi".

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Love that comparison that Mike Duncan & you have made.... I’m curious if you think the US Empire would have had more than or be equivalent to the Roman Empire in the amount of resources available to them and it’s ability to project power.

Love the new show topic (ancient history) too BTW. I had no idea it would be that interesting! Thanks for all you do, buddy.

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It is refreshing to find someone with similar thoughts, but who's had the time, expertise, and validity (via podcast audience) to really bring it into focus. Thank you.

If I may attempt to address Steven's questions: I believe our thinking is too dominated by the "Great Man" approach to history, and that this bipartisan American Empire is an emergent behavior. What rules and actors most contributed to this behavior? Which locust started the swarm? It's impossible to know.

What we do know is the relationships that created this plague must be broken.

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May 30, 2023·edited May 30, 2023

Every death by every service member of all the 20th Century Wars was caused by three men- William Randolf Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and Theodeore Roosevelt. Until they practiced their influence, America knew better than to get entangled in foreign wars and conquer different countries.

Because of them, we decided to get into the Empire Game along with Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and Holland. Only this time, we would stake out he Pacific. Why in the world were we in the Phillipines, or even Hawaii?

If it wasn't for Japan trying to emulate us, they wouldn't have had the need to obtain raw materials and oil to become a first-world power. If we have had our Pacific fleet base in San Diego, there would've never been a Pearl Harbor. If we didn't decide to take the Phillipines as a spoil of war, there would've never been a Bataan Death march. If we'd have never been at war with Japan, we'd have never had to suffer through the Korean and Vietnam Wars? If we'd have developed our own domestic Petroleum resources, who would've cared what happened in the Middle East?

Frontier? Settlement? We had enough wild land in the west and new land up in Alaska that could've settle hardy people. Many would've perished, but the tough ones would've made America better.

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This “bringing the war home” is even more explicit than Just vets and militarized police. HaVe you read Valentine’s book CIA as Organized Crime? He first wrote about the Phoenix program which was an extra-legal program to fight the Viet Cong with assasinations, torture and bribery. Then he was given free reign by Wm. Colby to interview agents. He shows how the Phoenix program was brought home (think Fusion Centers) and then rolled out world wide.

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Great Post. One day I hope you fill the gap between the fall of Rome and the Crusades: Maybe "Muhammad to Acre", but also dealing with the dark and early middle ages in europe. Rise of Venice was a nice start; but Mongols? I loved the Ottoman episodes, but what happened to 650-1350? Deeply grateful for your incredible podcasts.

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Hi, I enjoyed the article like I enjoy the podcast. Just curious: why did Eric get banned?

His comment seemed pedestrian enough, if a bit confrontational. Not nearly as confrontational as AnonymousBosch.

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And by the way police forces like to hire veterans as they are easier to train. Somewhere on the radio I heard a history of policing in the US and this information was included.

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And police forces like to hire veterans. Easier to train. A radio program about the history of policing on NPR.

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