Advertisement

Bush and Imperialism

I would strongly recommend John Judis’ American Prospect article on Iraq as Bush’s neoimperialist war. It’s an important point, not so much because we need an abusive term to throw at the policy, but because it’s important to place the failures of Bush’s policies in a broader historical context of failure. The specific questions the United States faces are new, but the broader debate about the viability of a foreign policy centered on assymetrical sovereignty and the coercive domination of smaller countries isn’t. It hasn’t worked in the past, it’s not working today, and most signs are that technological progress is making it harder and harder to act in this way even though America’s military might is unrivaled.

John developed these things at greater length in his book, The Folly of Empire which also gets into the ways in which Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson eventually came to learn from the pitfalls of the imperialist ventures they’d once supported and started grasping toward something resembling contemporary liberal internationalism, an approach to world affairs centered on international law and legitimacy with major powers working through stable, rule-governed institutions.

Advertisement