To the Editor:

In her defense of American imperialism (“Face the facts, we’re an empire: But is that such a bad thing?” 2/18), Meghan Clyne ’03 weakens her case by romanticizing our nation’s motives. She claims that America has “selflessly” shared its prosperity and ideals with the world and that President Bush seeks to continue America’s “noble” tradition of “selfless imperialism.”

Selfless imperialism? Please. There are many battles to fight in this world, and the United States consistently picks only those that best serve its own interests in national security or economic development. Not even President Bush denies that. Indeed, he has characterized the possible forced disarmament of Iraq as an act of self-defense.

An adequate defense of American foreign policy requires a candid admission that we act to protect our own interests, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Simplistic claims of American selflessness are not believable, and they often breed contempt for our country.

Michael Kavey ’00 LAW ’04

Feburary 20, 2003