Empire Bibliography (2003)

Key Texts

Bacevich, Andrew J. The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire (Ivan R. Dee Publisher 2003).
--A collection of twenty prominent thinkers on empire

Bacevich presents a collection of twenty essays by authors ranging from supporters of American Empire, such as Charles Krauthammer, who praises the “unipolar era,” to John Millbank, who calls on the West "to abandon our global idolatrous worship of sacralized absolute sovereignty, and [of] the formally neutral market". Although the collection includes some extreme views from both the right and left, overall the book markets itself as moderately in favor of America’s increasing global power.

Barber, Benjamin. Fear’s Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy (Norton 2003).
--Reality is cosmopolitan global governance.

The naïve “idealists” today are those who think terrorism can be fought through hegemonic wars on rogue states, argues Barber. By contrast, those who argue for a multilateral and cooperative approach, in a continuously interdependent world, are the “realists.” The current administration’s strategy of “preventive democracy” is naively idealistic in this way. Democracy imposed from the outside generally leads to anarchy, and requires a much longer process than that anticipated by the United States. Moreover, the notion of a liberal empire is a contradiction in terms: Empires disregard the international institutions that liberalism formally supports. Empires also adopt a politics of fear and preemptive strikes. The Bush administration engages the rest of the world not tolerantly (as liberalism requires) but as an Empire—on America’s own insensitive terms. SEE ALSO: Benjamin Barber's Carnegie Council book talk.

Callinicos, Alex. New Mandarins of American Power: The Bush Administration’s Plans for the World (Polity Press 2004).
--A British intellectual criticizes American neoconservative politics

A Professor of Politics at the University of York, this leading British thinker offers a trenchant analysis of the Anglo-American conquest of Iraq and the politics behind it. The arguments of George Bush’s neoconservative advisors are dissected and interpreted as thinly veiled justifications for protecting American political and economic interests in the Middle East. Moreover, Callinicos argues the Iraq adventure has done little to combat terrorism. We need a better “understanding of the strange and frightening world that is taking shape” and neoconservative agenda must be resolutely resisted.

Cavanagh, John, et al, eds. Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible, Alternatives Task Force of the International Forum on Globalization drafting committee (San Francisco: Berret-Koehler, 2002).
--Anti-globalization, but with positive economic alternatives
This text has been described as “the defining document of the antiglobalization movement.” The authors analyze everything from agriculture to international financial institutions as they develop practical economic alternatives favorable to human and democratic flourishing.

Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project) (Henry Holt & Company 2003).
--America the terrorist

According to America’s most famous left-wing intellectual, U.S. foreign policy in the post World War II era has displayed all the hallmarks of terrorism. Chomsky calls America’s reaction to September 11 a continuation of its imperial foreign policy, which the World Court in 1986 described as “unlawful use of force” against Nicaragua—:“international terrorism, in lay terms,” according to the author. He supports his arguments with documentation and examples of an American course of action propelled by a dominant elite, of which President Bush is the most powerful representative. For Chomsky, America is no longer governed by public opinion but by a handful of interest groups.

Clarke, Richard. Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (The Free Press 2004).
--The book that created a political firestorm for the Bush Administration
Clarke, a security advisor who served in the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations, heavily criticizes each President’s approach towards terrorism. Having recently left his position as the White House terrorism czar, he attacks the current administration for its weak reaction to the al-Qaeda threat before and after 9/11. He claims that his calls for security to be prioritized were met with apathy and delay in the early months of the administration. Moreover, in the months after September 11, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Vice President Cheney swiftly turned their attention to Iraq, a nation not proven to have been involved in the attacks, drawing the focus away from defeating al-Qaeda. Clarke’s book and testimony before the 9/11 Commission has generated a slew of reactions from senior officials and from the public.

Daalder, Ivo H. and James M. Lindsay. America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press 2003).
--Realists pushing for a multilateral approach

Former members of Clinton's administration, Daalder and Lindsay recognize in President Bush a leader who follows his own vision. They also insist that he is not a puppet in the hands of his advisors. Rather, he has adopted revolutionary tactics in his foreign policy, in which he sincerely believes. Despite this, and despite being avid realists, the authors prefer a more multilateral approach for the administration. The president's "worldview," they note, "simply made no allowance for others doubting the purity of American motives." If, however, America's great power can be used in a way that is perceived as legitimate, then the administration will find it easier to achieve its foreign policy goals.

Ferguson, Niall. Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire (New York: Penguin Press 2004).
--A plea for America to embrace its identity as an Empire.

What is unique about American imperialism is that it has been practiced in the name of anti-imperialism. The United States is an Empire in denial, argues the author, and he encourages policymakers to embrace the role and raison d’être of empire. Ferguson compares America to the British and Roman Empires, arguing that America’s influence is necessary in unruly parts of the world. If America accepts its imperial character, then it will be able to practice long-term development projects and meet its global responsibilities. Instead, the United States is now an empire with attention deficit disorder that tries to implement change within unrealistic time frames.

Frum, David and Richard Perle. An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (Random House 2003).
--A foreign and domestic policy should be firmer and bolder

From a former Bush speechwriter who invented the phrase “axis of evil,” David Frum, and a former chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle, comes a neo-conservative manifesto that maps America’s potential reactions to the terrorist threat. “An End to Evil” argues for stronger domestic security, a more daring foreign policy, and “a new boldness in the advocacy of American ideals.” The authors support a more alert and “self-policed” America, a firm pro-Israel position, and a wariness of China as a growing countervailing power. The authors are in favor of the administration’s preemptive stance when there is suspicion of a threat from rogue actors, and urge the administration to consider the French and the Saudis as the enemies they truly are.

Hardt, Michael and Toni Negri. Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001).
--Corporate Empires replace nation-states
A professor of literature at Duke University and a revolutionary inmate of Rebibbia prison in Rome argue that the imperialist system of nation-states and competition between capitalists has been replaced by a system of Empire. This new system is based on “immaterial” production networks dominated by transnational corporations and “global juridico-economic bodies” such as the World Bank. The possibility of revolution no longer rests with the working class but rather with the “multitude”.

Johnson, Chalmers. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (Metropolitan Books 2004).
--A controversial book highly critical of Bush administration tactics

Johnson, former defense analyst and consultant to the C.I.A. during the Cold War, now believes that America bears a striking similarity to the Soviet empire that strove to keep border countries in line. He accuses “boy emperor” George W. Bush of using 9/11 as an excuse to rapidly transform the United States from a republic into a “New Rome,” freed from obligations to international institutions. In prophetic language, the author describes an administration obsessed with maintaining military governance through 725 bases abroad, while power shifts from Congress to Pentagon. Excessive spending on the armed forces dictates that U.S. policy is that of “a military juggernaut intent on world domination.”

Kaplan, Lawrence F. and William Kristol. The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission (Encounter Books 2003).
--The war in Iraq is a model for promoting American values in the world

Co-author Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, was instrumental in developing the argument, along with Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, for a military attack on Iraq. They maintain that intervention in Iraq would be the catalyst for a "New American Century." In this book, Kaplan and Kristol argue that the Bush Doctrine of pre-emption should become the foundation for future U.S. foreign policy. They applaud the president for his determination not to follow a course of apathy, and for refusing continued unsuccessful engagement with the tyrannical Iraqi regime (as did prior administrations). Instead, President Bush not only speaks about the disarmament of Iraq, but also "of liberating Iraq, and creating democracy in the land that for decades has known only dictatorship." The war in Iraq, however, is only a small part of the administration's effort to "[engage] the world in accord with American principles." The authors attempt to show why and how America's efforts in freeing Iraq will prove to be a model for promoting America's values and global influence in the future. SEE ALSO: Lawrence Kaplan's and William Kristol's Carnegie Council book talk.

Mann, Michael. Incoherent Empire (Verso 2003).
--America has a strong military but weak political, economic, and ideological powers; this imbalance will be its downfall.

There are four types of power that cause the rise or fall of a state or empire: military, political, economic, and ideological. Adopting these categories to assess the United States, Mann argues that America is “a military giant, a back-seat economic driver, a political schizophrenic, and an ideological phantom.” He argues that America’s “imperial project” relies upon an inflated measure of its power, and that this hubris provokes the growth of intolerant nationalism and religious fundamentalism in the rest of the world.

The National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington, DC: The White House, September 2002).
--Aggressive promotion of America's values can transform the world
In order to meet the goals of political and economic freedom, peaceful relations with other states, and respect for human dignity, The United States security strategy specifies a framework that formally aims to: strengthen alliances to defeat terrorism and prevent attacks; defuse regional conflicts; prevent enemies from threatening with weapons of mass destruction; ignite global economic growth through free trade; expand development by opening societies and building democracy; develop agendas for cooperative action with other countries; and transform its national security institutions.

Nye, Joseph S. Soft Power: The Means of Success in World Politics (Perseus Publishing 2004).
--Attraction is more fruitful than coercion

“Soft power,” a term Nye introduced in his book Bound to Lead in 1990, is more relevant than ever in today’s world: it is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion." Neo-conservatives who guide the president are focusing on the nation’s hard military and economic power and neglecting the influence it could achieve through soft means, such as cultural exchange, economic aid, and refining relationships with allies. Nye claims that a more extensive use of soft power will improve America’s image in the world and enable the country to regain its international credibility. SEE ALSO: Joseph Nye's Carnegie Council Book talk.

Prestowitz, Clyde. Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (New York: Basic Books, 2003).
--Against short-termist unilateralism
Prestowitz delves into the historical origins and practical applications of the unilateralist urge in U.S. foreign policy. He concludes that a multilateral strategy fits better with the liberal ethic and long-term interests of the United States. SEE ALSO: Prestowitz's Carnegie Council book talk.

Todd, Emmanuel. After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order (Columbia University Press 2003).
--A French essayist’s teleological analysis

While the rest of the world “is on the verge of discovering that it can get along without America, America is realizing that it cannot get along without the rest of the world.” Todd criticizes the United States for being a plutocratic society that has destroyed its working class and middle class. He also maintains that its economy is in decline, dependent on imports, and does not produce anything valuable itself. In short, America is frail, not strong. Thus it is a “predatory” empire whose unilateralism and “theatrical micromilitarism” are signs of decline. The author predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, but his insistence that America will meet a similar fate has been met with much skepticism.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. “US Weakness and the Struggle for Hegemony,” Monthly Review (July-August 2003).
--American imperialism reflects a power already in decline
Wallerstein claims that it is U.S. weakness, not strength, which has inspired recent imperial posturing. He writes that hawks have swept into control on the winds of 9/11 and are working to reverse the trend of American decline begun in 1968. War in Iraq is the latest desperate chapter in an attempt to maintain U.S. dominance by discouraging nuclear proliferation, checking the European rival, and protecting economic globalization.

Zakaria, Fareed. The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003).
--Postponing democracy can be a good thing
When democratic ideals bleed from the political sector into culture at large, the result is informal governance by popularity and polling. Zakaria explores this trend and attempts to show how democracy and liberalism are not always compatible. Democracy should sometimes be put on the backburner until prosperity and security are achieved.

NOTE: This bibliography has fifteen more sections: "Unilateralism vs. Multilateralism," "U.S. Military as an Arm of Empire," "U.S. Foreign Policy," & much more...

Download: Empire Bibliography (2003) (PDF, 274.27 K)

Read More: Empire, Democracy, Globalization, Terrorism, American Empire vs. Multilateralism, Democracy Promotion, Global Governance, Globalization, War on Terror, United States

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