The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire

The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire

by Andrew J. Bacevich
     
 

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Does the United States today preside over a global empire? America's emergence as the world's dominant power in the 1990s nurtured the perception—initially more pronounced abroad than at home—that with the passing of the cold war the United States had indeed become an imperial republic. Some observers, convinced that American power is necessarily benign,

Overview

Does the United States today preside over a global empire? America's emergence as the world's dominant power in the 1990s nurtured the perception—initially more pronounced abroad than at home—that with the passing of the cold war the United States had indeed become an imperial republic. Some observers, convinced that American power is necessarily benign, welcome that new reality. Others are not so sure. In The Imperial Tense, Andrew Bacevich has drawn together a stimulating collection of arguments on a subject of compelling current importance. Since September 11 and the ensuing “war on terror,” President Bush's sweeping rhetoric and national security strategy has affirmed the imperial nature of American foreign policy, provoking concerns over where those ambitions may lead. What is the nature and scope of the American empire? What are its prospects and challenges? Is American power adequate for the task of managing a global imperium? And what of will—are the American people prepared to pay the price that the preservation of that empire may demand? The Imperial Tense offers cogent reflections on these and related questions by leading scholars and commentators, including Mr. Bacevich (who has also written the Introduction), James Chace, Stanley Hoffmann, Charles Krauthammer, Charles Maier, David Rieff, Deepak Lal, John Milbank, Jonathan Freedland, Peter Bender, Martin Walker, Perry Anderson, Jedediah Purdy, G. John Ikenberry, Stephen Books, William Wohlworth, David Marquand, David North, Gabriel Ash, Ivan Eland, and Victor Davis Hanson.

Editorial Reviews

Virginia Quarterly Review
He has done the ongoing debate about America's role in the world a great service by bringing these pieces together in a convenient package.
Concord Bridge
...Provides a panoramic view of the empire debate...
First Things
...Well worth reading for…bracing arguments, pro and con, on whether or in what sense America is an empire.
Richard H. Kohn
This captivating collection addresses the most important issue facing the United States in the coming century.
David Pryce-Jones
Bacevich has performed a valuable service.
Walter LaFeber
First-rate...a most valuable collection.
Royal United Services Institute Journal - Michael Cox
An especially useful guide to a complex and controversial debate.
Choice
An outstanding introduction to the growing debate on the implications and import of US 'hyperpower.'
Royal United Services Institute Journal
An especially useful guide to a complex and controversial debate.
— Michael Cox
CHOICE
An outstanding introduction to the growing debate on the implications and import of US 'hyperpower.'
The American Conservative
...This collection reflects most of the distribution curve of current opinion on the subject.
The New York Review Of Books
The essays collected…are a curious amalgam of military hubris and cultural anxiety: they dutifully document both America's truly awesome military reach and the widespread national uncertainty about what to do with it.
New York Review of Books
The essays collected...are a curious amalgam of military hubris and cultural anxiety: they dutifully document both America's truly awesome military reach and the widespread national uncertainty about what to do with it.
Publishers Weekly
There's a host of issues surrounding the U.S. and what many see as its empire as it pushes to confront terrorism-and this balanced collection of mostly scholarly articles addresses many of them. For the most part, the pieces are nuanced, examining subtleties in a world where the U.S. is the sole global power. There are no epiphanies, but pieces discuss such topics as how the U.S. can both confront authoritarian regimes and promote human rights, how American policy should change in order to prevent a further international backlash and whether the U.S. is doomed to fall, like previous empires. Some of the articles gathered by Bacevich (American Empire) hew to familiar arguments-a few, like journalist Charles Krauthammer, argue unabashedly for American power; others seem stuck in a pompous, crude anti-Americanism, as when John Millbank calls on the West "to abandon our global idolatrous worship of sacralized absolute sovereignty, and the formally neutral market." But these pieces are the exceptions. To the editor's credit, the essays appear to be carefully chosen, with an equal number critical and accepting of America's increasing global power. At their best, they display a measure of wit, as when one essayist writes: "Whatever its fate, America, too, will live on-for its Constitution, its movies, and for having placed the first man on the moon." (Sept. 26) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
New York Review Of Books
The essays collected…are a curious amalgam of military hubris and cultural anxiety: they dutifully document both America's truly awesome military reach and the widespread national uncertainty about what to do with it.
American Conservative
...This collection reflects most of the distribution curve of current opinion on the subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566635332
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
08/06/2003
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,346,223
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.88(d)

What People are saying about this

Walter LaFeber
First-rate...a most valuable collection.
Richard H. Kohn
This captivating collection addresses the most important issue facing the United States in the coming century. (Richard H. Kohn, University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill, Former Chief Of Air Force History For The U.S.A.F. (1981-1991))
Walter Lafeber
First-rate...a most valuable collection.
David Pryce-Jones
Bacevich has performed a valuable service.

Meet the Author

Andrew Bacevich teaches international relations at Boston University. He has recently published American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy to considerable acclaim. He lives in Walpole, Massachusetts.

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