By David Coates (auth.)
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Extra info for America in the Shadow of Empires
Nor is a fully globalized world easy to dominate in a traditional imperial fashion, but contemporary American foreign policy has distinctly imperial dimensions to it that make debating the character and fate of something called “the American empire” both legitimate and valuable. ”26 His instruction is well put. Among those who have followed that injunction are the many strident critics of America’s imperial role overseas. The best known of these critics 38 America in the Shadow of Empires is probably Noam Chomsky, writing immediately after 9/11 to condemn the United States as “a leading terrorist state”27—but he is not alone.
But the conventional American understanding of freedom is, by contemporary global standards, very antiquated and narrow—taking in a formal set of political rights to vote, to speak, and to bear arms, but not extending that list to include key economic and social rights that are often constitutionally guaranteed elsewhere. In twenty-first-century America, the right to collectively organize and bargain—so hard-won during the New Deal—is now largely eroded by so-called right-to-work legislation. The right to a decent minimum standard of life is continually threatened by the inadequacies of the minimum wage and the perpetual erosion of welfare provision.
69 And if Niall Ferguson is right, fewer and fewer empires have managed that consolidation as time has gone on. 71 Empires always fall, and for very good reasons—or rather, they eventually always fall for one or more of a set of very good reasons. Ultimately, empires are only possible because of the weakness of others; and as that balance of power shifts over time, empires that once looked impregnable find that their only way forward from the peak of their power is actually down. Empires can fall because of overreach: passing a point at which they can expand successfully without overstretching the internal resources that initially gave them dominance and without finding qualitatively new problems of scale in the governance of their territories.
America in the Shadow of Empires by David Coates (auth.)