Monday, December 18, 2006

Naked Imperialism

Naked Imperialism by John Bellamy Foster

The global actions of the United States since September 11, 2001, are often seen as constituting a "new militarism" and a "new imperialism." Yet, neither militarism nor imperialism is new to the United States, which has been an expansionist power—continental, hemispheric, and global—since its inception. What has changed is the nakedness with which this is being promoted, and the unlimited, planetary extent of U.S. ambitions.

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, insists that the "greatest danger" facing the United States in Iraq and around the world "is that we won’t use all of our power for fear of the ‘I’ word—imperialism....Given the historical baggage that ‘imperialism’ carries, there’s no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should definitely embrace the practice." The United States, he says, should be "prepared to embrace its imperial rule unapologetically." If Washington is not planning on "permanent bases in Iraq...they should be....If that raises hackles about American imperialism, so be it" ("American Imperialism?: No Need to Run from the Label," USA Today, May 6, 2003). Similarly, Deepak Lal, James S. Coleman Professor of International Development Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, states: "The primary task of a Pax Americana must be to find ways to create a new order in the Middle East....It is accusingly said by many that any such rearrangement of the status quo would be an act of imperialism and would largely be motivated by the desire to control Middle Eastern oil. But far from being objectionable, imperialism is precisely what is needed to restore order in the Middle East" ("In Defense of Empires," in Andrew Bacevich, ed., The Imperial Tense, 2003).

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