TO WHOM DOES THE 21ST CENTURY BELONG? by Mansoor  Palloor

TO WHOM DOES THE 21ST CENTURY BELONG?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut collection of essays denounces the misadventures of American imperialism.

According to Palloor, relentless American expansion and colonialism since Woodrow Wilson’s presidency is rooted in the notion of Manifest Destiny, a religiously inspired sense of moral exceptionalism. But though the world since the fall of the Soviet Union has been dominated by the unparalleled power—and unchecked arrogance—of the United States, its inevitable decline is certain to radically alter the geopolitical landscape. The diminishment of American influence can be diagnosed both militarily and economically. The U.S.’s repeated failures to impose its hegemony around the world—it keeps starting and losing wars—have undermined its credibility. And the eventual collapse of the dollar as the world’s default currency, the depletion of capitalism as a viable economic model, and the rise of China as a financial juggernaut will doom the nation’s economic supremacy. Palloor assembles 18 essays, each one perfectly comprehensible on its own independent of the others. The political terrain covered is expansive: the Arab Spring, the colonizing of Africa for the sake of plundering its mineral wealth, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the significance of Che Guevara to the Arab world, just to name a small representative sampling. The common thread that unites them all is the concern with imperialistic tyranny and the damage it has wrought all over the world. The author’s devotion to social justice is admirable, and the entire book is infused with a heartening solidarity with the oppressed. But the prose is as breathlessly immoderate as many of Palloor’s prognostications—one chapter is entitled “American Imperialism: A Menace While Breathing Its Last!” In addition, the author’s strident confidence in his own judgments isn’t matched by the empirical rigor with which he defends them. For example, his view that the U.S. is only interested in countering Iranian power for selfishly economic reasons is declared more than it is argued. Furthermore, some of the essays go back as far as 2001 and are dated—it seems odd now to trumpet the success of Venezuelan socialism while the nation slides into abject poverty.

An ambitious but shrill gathering of political jeremiads.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4828-1391-3
Page count: 122pp
Publisher: PartridgeIndia
Program: Kirkus Indie
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