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US: The American Empire

General Sullivan has sent me a speech given by Charles Krauthammer at the third annual Hillsdale College Churchill Dinner; it is in sharp contrast with the mood of the reports coming from Europe and the rest of the world. It is entitled "American Unilateralism", which it justifies: Here are key extracts: "American unilateralism has to do with the motives and the methods of American behavior in the world, but any discussion of it has to begin with a discussion of the structure of the international system. The reason that we talk about unilateralism today is that we live in a totally new world. We live in a unipolar world of a sort that has not existed in at least 1500 years. So we bestride the world like a colossus. The question is, how do we act in this new world? What do we do with our position?

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gave the classic formulation of unilateralism when he said, regarding Afghanistan - but it applies equally to the war on terror and to other conflicts - that "the mission determines the coalition." This means that we take our friends where we find them, but only in order to help us accomplish our mission. The mission comes first and we define the mission. We have to be guided by our own independent judgment, both about our own interests and about n investigation. Coalitions are not made by superpowers going begging hat in hand; they are made by asserting a position and inviting others to join. What even pragmatic realists fail to understand is that unilateralism is the high road to multilateralism."

This praise for Rumsfeld's remarks is in sharp contrast with the anger they provoked in France and Germany, as reported in a previous posting. For the text of Krauthammeer's remarks, see

Ronald Hilton - 1/27/03