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The American Empire?



Comparisons may be odious, but John Heelan wonders if the US is not in the same position as the UK was at the height of its imperial power: "While doing some work on the role of literature in imperialism, I came across this quotation which seemed to strike some interesting resonances for today's world. In his book England in the Nineteenth Century: 1815-1914 (London:Penguin, 1950), David Thomson describes the period from 1895 to 1905 as one of aggression and jingoism in foreign policy, but ascribes this as much to a sense of threat as of confidence. '...It was another expression of....[a] consciousness of decline....It was the truculence that came from a great power, recently so complacent in its greatness, finding itself...suddenly...on the defensive' (Thomson, 1950, pp.203-4). Given the shock of 9/11 to the American psyche and the general decline in Western morals, perhaps Rumsfeld's proselytizing an "American Empire" is repeating the imperialist mistakes that the UK made 100 years ago".

Ronald Hilton - 5/22/02


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