In this book noted sociologist Michael Mann argues that the “new American imperialism” is actually a new militarism. Dissecting the military, economic, and political resources of the US, Mann concludes they are so lacking in comparison to earlier empires, and so uneven, as to generate only an incoherent empire and increasing world disorder.
The US is a military giant, better at devastating than pacifying countries. It is a political schizophrenic, split between multilateralism, unilateralism, and an actual inability to rule over foreign lands or control its own supposed client states. It is only a back-seat driver of the global economy, not steering but prodding poorer countries toward an unproductive and unpopular neoliberalism. Finally, it is an ideological phantom, proclaiming attractive values of freedom, democracy, and material plenty to the world, which its militarism brutally contradicts.
The incoherent Empire is also analysed in action—in Afghanistan, in the war against terrorism, and against ‘rogue states’, especially North Korea and Iraq. Its strategies seemed doomed only to create more international terrorists and increase the desire of the rogues to acquire weapons of mass destruction; they also provoke a virtual ‘crusade’ against Muslims. The world will become more and more dangerous, argues Mann, unless the US abandons this trajectory and adopts the more realistic global leadership strategies laid out in this book.
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Michael Mann is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His major works include the prizewinning series The Sources of Social Power, Volume I: A History of Power from the Beginning to 1760 AD, and Volume II: The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760–1914.Review:
“Amongst contemporary analysts of the new imperialism, Mann is remarkable for his unyielding realism. As he explains in this brilliant but disturbing book, the Stars and Stripes on the Euphrates heralds less a new international order than the dangerously unpredictable reign of the gods of chaos.”—Mike Davis
“Michael Mann applies the framework he developed in his classic work The Sources of Social Power to the American empire. He finds that its economic and ideological foundations are flimsy and that its only real strength is an ability to bully weak Third World countries. The United States wields ‘power but not authority’ and has succumbed to ‘ruthless arrogance leading to overconfidence and hubris.’ This is an important, provocative diagnosis by an experienced social analyst.”—Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
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