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America in the Shadow of Empires by David Coates (auth.)

By David Coates (auth.)

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What Is an Empire? ” So what do we mean? An empire can be recognized both by what it is and by what it is not. ”50 What an empire is not is simply a nation-state writ large. “An empire in the classic sense,” Charles Maier wrote, “is usually believed, first, to expand its control by conquest or coercion, and, second, to control the political loyalty of the territories it subjugates . . ”51 We now live in an international order, one first formally recognized in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, in which the basic unit of international relations is the autonomous nation-state: The Question of Empire 41 the entity successfully claiming sovereignty over a particular territorial area and the one monopolizing the legitimate use of force within that area.

It still leads the world in manufacturing value-added. 121 Its ability to attract immigrants remains undiminished. ” There is no issue here of inevitable imperial decline. ’” It is more like Britain circa 1870, when the empire was at the height of its power. Following Charles Krauthammer, the Kagan view is that decline is a choice and not an inevitable fate (or, at least, not an immediate inevitability). “Empires and great powers,” as he said, “rise and fall, and the only question is when. But the when does matter,”124 and in the case of an empire understood as being as benign as this one is, it needs to be delayed for as long as possible.

120 America, they tell us, is rebounding. Its energy independence is growing. It still leads the world in manufacturing value-added. 121 Its ability to attract immigrants remains undiminished. ” There is no issue here of inevitable imperial decline. ’” It is more like Britain circa 1870, when the empire was at the height of its power. Following Charles Krauthammer, the Kagan view is that decline is a choice and not an inevitable fate (or, at least, not an immediate inevitability). “Empires and great powers,” as he said, “rise and fall, and the only question is when.

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