Observe that the author of the following review, Thomas Donnelly, is also the primary author of the infamous Rebuilding America's Defenses, and that Max Boot, the author of the book under review, is an officially acknowledged supporter of the current Bush administration's aggressive belligerence. The review is hosted by Foreign Affairs Magazine a publication of the oligarchic and malignant Council on Foreign Relations.
Years ago, when we first heard rumblings of "Neocon" imperialism, we mistakenly dismissed these as mere partisan hyperbolae. We have since been forced to conclude that such dire warnings had much basis in fact. This is not to say that we embrace the officially sanctioned "Liberal" opposition. That party is merely a different tentacle of the same malevolent chameleon octopus.
From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2002
The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. Max Boot Basic Books, 2002, 448 pp. $30.00.
Summary: Max Boot's history of America's small wars shows that the republic actually has a long, underappreciated imperial past. It offers lessons for the new Pax Americana and a call not to retreat from policing the imperial frontier.
Thomas Donnelly is Deputy Executive Director of the Project for the New American Century.
The fact of American empire is hardly debated these days. Even those who fear and oppose it (in this country, the libertarian right and the remnants of the new left; abroad, a variety of voices from Paris to Baghdad to Beijing) define international politics almost entirely in relation to U.S. power -- and especially U.S. military power. The "unipolar moment" has become a unipolar decade and, with a little effort and a little wisdom, could last much longer. Even Yale historian Paul Kennedy, who in the mid-1980s predicted U.S. "imperial overstretch," has become a believer. Stunned by the initial success of the war in Afghanistan, he wrote in February,
Nothing has ever existed like this disparity of power; nothing. The Pax Britannica was run on the cheap. Britain's army was much smaller than European armies and even the Royal Navy was equal only to the next two navies -- right now all the other navies in the world combined could not dent American maritime supremacy. Napoleon's France and Philip II's Spain had powerful foes and were part of a multipolar system. Charlemagne's Empire was merely western European in its stretch. The Roman Empire stretched further afield, but there was another great empire in Persia and a larger one in China. There is no comparison.
To be sure, it is still inflammatory to speak openly of empire -- hence the prevalence of euphemisms such as hegemony, preeminence, primacy, sole superpower, or, a la the French, hyperpuissance. But many of the nation's founders would not be so shocked: Alexander Hamilton, writing the first paragraph of the first Federalist Paper, described America as "an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world." Thomas Jefferson's term was "empire of liberty."
Since September 11, President George W. Bush, too, has learned that it is hard to be a humble hegemon. During the 2000 election campaign, Bush's advisers spoke contemptuously of the Clinton administration's promiscuous "engagement" in "nation building" and other "international social work," and they derided Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's claim that the United States was "the indispensable nation." But now that he is fighting a war on terrorism, the president asserts that "no nation is exempt" from the "true and unchanging" American principles of liberty and justice. He sees adherence to these principles as a "non-negotiable demand" that forms the "greater objective" of the war. The Bush Doctrine is thus an expression of the president's decision to preserve and extend Pax Americana throughout the Middle East and beyond.
But a doctrine does not a strategy make. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy has been driven by short-term tactics and politics (both international and domestic). Even in the war on terrorism, the Bush administration has been reluctant to accept any link between one problem and another. Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, radical Islamism -- all have been dealt with discretely rather than as part of a larger regional approach.
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