American Empire. (Quotes, Notes & Anecdotes)

Canadian Speeches, March 2002 | Go to article overview

American Empire. (Quotes, Notes & Anecdotes)


We had better get used to seeing ourselves as others see us. It doesn't matter if we don't consider ourselves an empire. Others see us as impinging on their lives, their space, their way of life. If we are going to protect our enduring interests, in the Middle East and elsewhere, then we have to do something about it.

Tom Donnelly, deputy executive director of the Project for the New American Century, a Washington-based think tank and advocacy organization, said to be dedicated to promoting the concept of the American Empire. To this end, PNAC advocates increasing U.S. military spending from 3.5% to 10% of gross domestic product, an increase of as much as $l00 billion a year.

Quoted by Kevin Baker in "American Imperialism, Embraced," New York Times Magazine, December 9, 2001.

Reluctant imperialist

The chaos in the world is too threatening to ignore, and existing methods for dealing with that chaos have been tried and found wanting... But a new imperial moment has arrived, and by virtue of its power America is bound to play the leading role.

Sabastian Mallaby, editorial writer and columnist for The Washington Post, on a claimed imperialism of rich nations, led by the United States, to impose peace and order on dysfunctional states which are thought to threaten the world with the poverty that breeds chaos, massive migrations, crime, drugs, violence, war, and terrorism.

"The Reluctant Imperialist: Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Empire. " Foreign Affairs, March/April 2002.

Barbarians at the gate

A new international order is emerging, but it is being crafted to suit American imperial objectives. The empire signs on to those pieces of the transnational legal order that suit its purposes (the WTO, for example), while ignoring or even sabotaging those parts (the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol, the ABM Treaty) that do not.

Not since the days of the Roman Empire has a single military power so dominated the world as the United States does now, states Michael Ignatieff , Carr professor of human rights policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

But barbarians, who brought down the Roman Empire, now clamor at the gates of the American Empire. They muster in dysfunctional nations that breed poverty, crime, violence, and terrorism. Infighting terrorism, Ignatieff warns against repeating the error of the Cold War when the United States propped up dictatorships to fight communism, only to see the dictatorships breed terrorism. Ignatieff calls on the United States to aid such international agencies as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in the pursuit of global freedom, democracy and stability, as the best defence against the new barbarians.

"Barbarians at the Gate?" New York Review of Books, February 28, 2002. (A review of "Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos," By Robert D. Kaplan. New York: Random House.)

Being number one ain't what it was

No nation since Rome has loomed so large above the others, but even Rome eventually collapsed. Only a decade ago, the conventional wisdom lamented an American decline. Bestseller lists featured books that described America's fall. Japan would soon become "Number One." That view was wrong... But the new conventional wisdom that America is invincible is equally dangerous if it leads to a foreign policy that combines unilateralism, arrogance, and parochialism.

A go-it-alone policy would endanger the safety and prosperity of Americans, Joseph Nye, dean of Harvard University's School of Government, former U.S. assistant secretary of defence, and author of "The Paradox of American Power: Why The World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone," writes in The Economist. …

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