Late last night Paul Schrader described the traditional role of the U.S. President as a “global puncher…we make things happen.” His follow-up was “what happens when an insecure someone who sees himself as a counter-puncher rather then a puncher is put in this position?”

In response Jon Jost wrote that the U.S. role “has been that of empire builder, extortionist and military monster getting its way. After WW2 we were left standing while everyone else was wasted, so we rigged the global economy to run on U.S. [spending and investments], and enjoyed military dominance. Ever since we have used economic blackmail backed with military force to get our way, which seldom was in the locals’ interest, although we had a major propaganda system (including Hollywood) to convince the world that we wore the white hat.

“In reality we were just plain greedy and evil, and a survey of, oh, Central America, South America, Africa and much of Asia proves the point. We are rapists and murderers.”

Edward Havens reply: “So no other civilization in the history world ever conquered the known world and used their power to get their way? America simply perfected what Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, Genghis Khan and King James I could only dream of doing. And like every other empire, the American empire will fall…if the descent hasn’t started already.”

Don McLaren reply: “As diabolical as the U.S. has been at times, we were still probably the most benevolent hegemon in history.”