Mapping the Cathedral

To shamelessly rip off an argument from Moldbug – words have meaning. “Independent” means “not dependent”. In Egypt, two governments have been overthrown by popular protest in the last year or so, and now the military is building a third. During the process of writing a new Constitution, military leaders are listening closely to the desires of the USA, on which they are dependent for $1.5 billion in annual aid.

If Egypt is letting a foreign entity influence its Constitution in exchange for a bribe, there is no reasonable way to consider it as an “independent” country. Political maps which show it to be so are best understood as a kind of whimsical artistic exercise.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some foreign aid statistics, and stumbled upon a handy web 2.0 mapping tool that the Obamatons have built. I flipped to a recent year like 2012, and this is the map that results:

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 5.01.12 PM

That’s a truly massive footprint, far larger than I expected. Some of these areas are not under tight US control – China remains the nation most independent from US/Cathedral dominion. The aid they receive isn’t much, and it probably reflects State Department optimism more than anything else.

But foreign aid isn’t the only way that the Cathedral conquers. Most of the gray area of the map is also firmly under American influence, otherwise Snowden would have applied for asylum in France or Australia. European countries depend on America for military protection and therefore dance to America’s tune. It would be cool to pair this aid map with a map of all the countries hosting US troops in the world.

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