Hitchens declares for empire
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 11 08:02:22 MST 2002
Superpower dominance, malignant and benign.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2002, at 1:42 PM PT
In the lexicon of euphemism, the word "superpower" was always useful
because it did little more than recognize the obvious. The United States
of America was a potentate in itself and on a global scale. It had only
one rival, which was its obvious inferior, at least in point of
prosperity and sophistication (as well as a couple of other things). So
both were "empires," in point of intervening in some countries whether
those other countries liked it or not, and in arranging the governments
of other countries to suit them. Still, only a few Trotskyists like my
then-self were so rash as to describe the Cold War as, among other
things, an inter-imperial rivalry.
A condition of the new imperialism will be the specific promise that
while troops will come, they will not stay too long. An associated
promise is that the era of the client state is gone and that the aim is
to enable local populations to govern themselves. This promise is
sincere. A new standard is being proposed, and one to which our rulers
can and must be held. In other words, if the United States will dare to
declare out loud for empire, it had better be in its capacity as a
Thomas Paine arsenal, or at the very least a Jeffersonian one. And we
may also need a new word for it.
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