Peter Gowan on Andrew Bacevich, American Empire. A clear-eyed colonel examines the swords and deeds of the us state in the post-Cold War world.
INSTRUMENTS OF EMPIRE
With the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, conventional accounts of the worldwide expansion of American power since the outbreak of the Pacific War have been in some disarray. The standard version of us power-projection abroad has held that it was called forth by the overriding need, first to liberate Europe and Japan from Fascism, and then to protect democracies everywhere from the ussr and Communism. Logically, then, once the Free World was no longer threatened either by Fascism or Communism, the global operations of the American state ought to have been scaled back. But in fact they have extended yet further, into regions of the earth of which few in Washington had ever dreamed. As the ideological fog of the Cold War cleared, what was revealed was a special kind of imperial state with huge military and civil bureaucracies, flanked by massive business organizations, jutting out into large zones of Eurasia, South America and other parts of the world. How was this to be explained?
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By the same author:
The Ways of the World
In an interview recorded earlier this year, Peter Gowan recalls his political and intellectual trajectory, from the end of empires to Marxist militancy, from Eastern Bloc shipyards to the rise of the Dollar–Wall Street Regime.
Crisis in the Heartland
Against mainstream accounts, Peter Gowan argues that the origins of the global financial crisis lie in the dynamics of the New Wall Street System that has emerged since the 1980s. Contours of the Atlantic model, and implications—geopolitical, ideological, economic—of its blow-out.
Twilight of the NPT?
Responding to Dombey, Peter Gowan asks why such an unequal treaty has attracted so many adherents—and why its superpower beneficiary has sought to undermine it. Do impasses around the NPT signal failures for US dominance?
A Radical Realist
Peter Gowan on Christopher Layne, Peace of Illusions. A maverick mole inside realist international-relations theory, overturning orthodox accounts of US global strategy.
Peter Gowan on Mark Leonard, Why Europe will Run the 21st Century. Panglossian manifesto for a Blairite Europeanism as model for the new Atlanticist world order.
Peter Gowan on Neil Smith, American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization. The neglected career of a key thinker of American expansionism, and his scenarios for a world order after the age of European imperial dominance.
US : UN
The American origins of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, and the duality of US usages and conceptions of it ever since: from the Cold War through the collapse of the USSR to today’s war on terror and occupation of Mesopotamia.
A Calculus of Power
John Mearsheimer’s Tragedy of Great Power Politics disdains liberal-imperial rhetoric for a tough-minded theory of ‘offensive realism’. Peter Gowan argues that, whatever its merits, the behaviour of states in the international system cannot be dissociated from the internal dynamics of the political orders they protect.
Peter Gowan on Giovanni Arrighi and Beverly Silver: Chaos and World Governance. Plotting the different axes of any international hegemony, and the prospects for American supremacy in the new century.
A reigning doctrine of international relations proclaims that, despite everything, the world is entering a new epoch of hopeful cosmopolitanism—narrow state sovereignty being overcome by the common and, where necessary, armed resolve of a ‘Pacific Union’ of democratic nations. What then of the asymmetric hegemony of the United States?