Empires of the past

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Empires of the past

The BBC's Defense Correspondent Jonathan Marcus attempts, through a comparative analysis, to establish whether one might ascertain that the USA, today’s global economic andpolitical giant, may actually be compared to Empires, such as Victorian Britain or even the Roman Empire.

The programme introduces one of the main protagonists of American hegemony throughout the2000’s, former President George W Bush. He emphasizes the fact that America is neither an Empire, nor wills to become one. However, as an analyst puts it, America could, quite rightly be termed as an Empirein denial. Outside the USA, American hegemony is seen as problematic, mainly because of its far-reaching foreign policy, aimed at total world dominance.

The September 11th attacks, besides beingblatant terrorism, also carry a symbolic significance politically; Indeed they mark a new era in modern American foreign policy, with the concept of preventive war through the National SecurityStrategy, namely in Iraq.

The rise to power of the American Empire can easily be related to the innovations brought about by globalization, information technologies, and capitalism in the 1990’s.Furthermore, the post-cold war collapse of the old ideological obstacles posed by the former Soviet Union, as well as the absence of any new politico-economical paradigm to oppose the USA’s growing dominancehas only further strengthened America’s power in the much smaller globalized world.

The comparison to Ancient Rome or Victorian Britain is quite fitting to describe the USA’s world dominance.Hadrian’s Wall symbolically marked and limited the Roman Empire’s control over Europe, while the globalized world in which the USA is the main protagonist knows no boundaries. Similarly, the USA seems toemulate Rome’s role as a socializing institution; Just like currency, language, and culture in the Roman Empire may have signaled an early form of what is today known as globalization, it is...