Tuesday, July 27, 2004

WHAT I'M READING: COLOSSUS


Niall Fergusson is a good historian. It's his prescription for the future which is objectonable. I've been sifting through his latest work, Colossus: The Price of American Empire, for the last few days (which is why I haven't been posting much). Rather than overwhelm you with an unending post, I am linking to a Word document where you can read my more detailed thoughts.

The bottom line is this. Ferguson argues that the United States is by all means an Empire, even if no one wants to admit it. It always has aspired to be one, and has acted like one for a long time (remember the Monroe Doctrine?). This imperial impetus has pursued a dual interest of securing military power (and the strategic positions necessary for thus) and the underwriting of American capital's interests in foreign lands. Then comes George W. Bush and the second Iraq war, and Ferguson forgets all this, accepting Bush's prima facie rationale for Invading Iraq (anyone who wants to go deeper than official White House rhetoric should check out part II of Peter Gowan's book, Global Gamble, although part I is also excellent). Ferguson loses all grip with reality, and calls for a renewed and explicit commitment to American Empire modeled along a self-deluded nostalgia for the British Empire. Too bad. You had me for the first 150 pages or so.

Read more here.

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