The United States and Western Europe since 1945: From "Empire" by Invitation to Transatlantic Drift

By Geir Lundestad | Go to book overview

Introduction

The Main Arguments

The basic arguments of this book are fairly simple. While focusing on the overall issue of cooperation versus conflict in American-European relations, the book represents an extension of my “ 'Empire' by invitation” thesis as this has been presented in earlier works. While it would be ridiculous to claim that everything in Atlantic relations can be most usefully studied under this heading, it is remarkable how many elements there are that actually can be. This is therefore a theme that I shall be returning to frequently throughout the account.

The first argument deals with the position of the United States. This position was unique in 1945. No other Great Power had ever had such a vast lead over its potential competitors. On the basis of this strength American influence expanded in most parts of the world—certainly in Western Europe. In fact, so important was the American role there, that it could be argued that Western Europe became part of an American sphere of influence, even an American “empire”. The term is meant to be descriptive.

To distinguish the American “empire” from traditional empires I have put the term in inverted commas. After all, in traditional empires most parts were ruled directly from the imperial capital, whereas American “empire” consisted mostly of independent countries. I could have used the word “hegemony”, the term most frequently used by political scientists and political economists to describe the superior American role after 1945, but although the terms are different, in this case their meaning is largely the same. In my preference for “empire” I follow Zbigniew Brzezinski who has written that “I use the term 'empire' as morally neutral to describe a hierarchical system of political relationships, radiating from a center. Such an empire's morality is defined by how its imperial power is wielded, with what degree of consent on the part of those within its scope, and to what ends. This is where the distinctions between the American and Soviet imperial systems are the sharpest.” 1

The United States, like any other Great Power, could use its tremendous power for good or for bad. US efforts to control and dominate were based on American values, just as previously other Great Powers had tried to exercise

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The United States and Western Europe since 1945: From "Empire" by Invitation to Transatlantic Drift
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 331

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.