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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review: The World Without US

How many times have you seen the images on television of people in foreign countries railing against American presence and influence overseas? How many times have you seen angry mobs marching and burning the American flag in protest over something the United States has said or done on the world scene?

How many times have you seen this from crowds within our own country? Maybe you’ve heard people in your own political party say, “Everything would be so much better if we just kept out of the world’s business.”

If the United States really did that—pulled out our troops from around the world and just kept to ourselves—what would the world look like?

The World Without US” is a 2008 documentary film by Mitch Anderson and Jason J. Tomaric, and through interviews with public figures around the world and some dramatic “what if” clips, it presents a startling vision of what that that world might look like.

And it’s not the rosy globe of peace and love some wish it might be.

The film begins with a dramatized segment of fictional American presidential candidate, “William Turner,” making a campaign commercial in which he presents the voter’s choice: continue to “overextend” U.S. military presence abroad, or use those resources to fix problems here in America.

Turner pledges that if he is elected, he will withdraw “all military presence from all foreign soil” and redirect half of the money saved to domestic programs.

In his campaign speeches, Turner says America manipulates and invades other countries “because they don’t serve our needs.”

The narrator, Anderson, grew up in Romania during the Cold War and communist oppression. He tells childhood tales of how the Romanian people had hoped Eisenhower would return after World War II to deliver them from the sphere of Soviet domination, but “it never happened.” As a young man, after many escape attempts, Anderson finally made it out of Romania and eventually to freedom in the United States.

Throughout the film, Anderson takes us on a tour of the world, talking with people in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In Europe, we find that some people don't like the way America "acts," while grudgingly admitting they owe liberation from Nazi and communist oppression to America.

Considerable time is spent during the European segment examining the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavian republics. American intervention is credited with stopping tremendous suffering and slaughter, while Europe ignored the problem in its own back yard.

Dr. Niall Ferguson, a Scottish Professor of History at Harvard University, called American intervention in the former Yugoslavia a “desirable” form of imperialism, a “human rights imperialism.”

As the tour moves to the Middle East, Anderson examines the accusation that the Iraq invasion was over oil. The film points out that oil supply is no petty matter, and is a resource vital to modern civilization. We also see that while oppression and exploitation are the lot of most invaded countries, a different picture emerges in the wake of American invasions.

Dr. Ferguson points out that if there was no American commitment to stability in the Middle East, not only would there be no state of Israel, the entire area would rip itself apart as it has threatened to do on many occasions in the past.

As the film turns to Asia, we see clips from a cheery communist North Korean propaganda film telling about the paradise of rich fruits “swaying in the breeze” and “pretty girls.” The man who escaped the hell of North Korea, shown in silhouette to protect his identity, tells a different story, a story of oppression, brutality and starvation.

Interviews with South Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese officials reveal that these prosperous Asian countries remain very dependent on the United States military presence for stability and security in the region. Communist China bears a grudge against Japan, has designs on Taiwan, and backs the oppressive communist regime in North Korea.

Japan, while very wealthy, would be at risk from China. One critical vulnerability Japan has against China is the fact that they do not have nuclear weapons to deter their use by China. Some of the experts in Anderson’s film believe that if the U.S. pulled out of Japan and the rest of Asia, we would see a massive military buildup as Japan scrambled to prepare to defend itself.

But would the Chinese military sit idly by while Japan attempted this?

You’ll have to order a DVD copy of “The World Without US” to see Anderson’s sobering dramatization of what might happen in a world where the United States abdicates its leadership for peace and stability.


Documentarian said...

I just bought this film also, but now is also available for download on the website so you dont have to for $20 for it but only $2.99.
I really enjoyed it, and I think everyone in America should watch it. I think is a shame that so many of our young people get their news form the likes of Michael Moore. He's funny, all right, but if you really want to learn something, watch this!

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