The Unmaking of the American Empire
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Cherish the American imperium while ye may, o Neocons, for its days and yours are numbered.

So, resonantly and assuredly, declares Bello (Sociology/Univ. of the Philippines), who courted controversy after 9/11 with an op-ed piece asserting that the attacks were motivated by a widely shared sense of injustice and moral outrage in the world. Revisiting that argument, Bello adds this note: Because US policy in the Middle East subordinates the needs of people to strategic and economic interests, and because US policy is bound so closely to Israel, “there will always be thousands of recruits for acts of terrorism.” And not just in the Middle East. Despite Bush administration rhetoric, Bello argues, Afghanistan is a failed state in the making; Iraq a fait accompli defeat that only needs time to unfold; Latin America has become radicalized against the US anew, thanks largely to the mishandling of Iraq; the Southern Hemisphere increasingly demands economic autonomy; East Asia is prepared to ditch the US and align itself with an emergent China; and, as “China injects a new diplomatic dynamic into East Asian affairs, the United States may no longer be able to maintain military bases in South Korea and Japan.” Moreover, China’s economy will grow as America’s will shrink, causing stagnation and recession, if not depression, while the rest of the world will see that resisting the US pays dividends of other kinds. And that’s all to the good, Bello argues; not only will there be an increase in the power of other people to decide their own fates, but America will be helped to regain its former glory as a democratic republic without global ambitions. That last is perhaps too fond a hope, but, Bello adds, “If the Romans were around today, they would say that this is no way to run an empire.”

Provocative and useful as a gauge of what much of the outside world is saying about us. And it isn’t nice.

Pub Date: March 4th, 2005
ISBN: 0-8050-7402-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2004