Essay American Empire

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Michael Cox’s thesis as outlined in “Empire by Denial? Debating US Power”, is chiefly that: the United States of America is an empire, and that current beliefs to the contrary are the result of denialism due to negative connotations associated with the concept of empire, not due to a lack of suitability of that term to describe the current state of American foreign policy. The first issue which Cox raises is that of a lack of understanding of and study into the concept of empire by current research in the field of international relations (Cox 2004, p230). This element would appear to be sound, but only in so far as it relates to Cox’s other assertion that the orthodoxy of American society and academia are opposed to labelling America an…show more content…
His argument becomes unconvincing when it becomes clear that Cox is playing the role of both legislature and judiciary, crafting the terms to meet his needs and then applying them. Whilst the underlying evidence he presents is sound, the multitude of conflicting arguments make clear the selectivity in evidence employed in order to reach these conclusions (Security Dialogue 2004). As with any argument though concerning matters of perspective, both our own status as outsiders, and that of Cox, being himself British born (FORA.tv 2007), lead credence to Cox’s assertion of an American empire, himself asserting the supposed obviousness of his thesis to anyone outside of the USA. Recognising and accounting for this though, the evidence offered about the many ‘non-standard’ forms of empire are still sound. Fisher (1984) highlights the success of British incorporation of local political structures into its empire, and Cox’s contention that American promotion of seemingly anti-imperial ideas of democracy and self determination are not in contradiction to its presiding over an empire are sound on examination of the underlying elements. The cohesive strength of an American empire lies not in the hard power capabilities of the USA to enforce their will, but in the loose and forgiving way in which it rules
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