Sheldon Richman on American Empire


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American critics of U.S. foreign policy (as well as some neoconservative supporters) often refer to the United States as an empire. This is not an emotional outburst but a substantive description of the national government's role in the world. But what exactly is an empire? This question is all the more relevant today with Iraq being consumed by sectarian violence and calls for renewed U.S. intervention here growing increasingly louder, writes Sheldon Richman. We're told that American empire is unique because it is dedicated to freedom and peace, but this claim cannot withstand scrutiny. And even if this claim were granted, argues Richman, the case for empire would be self-defeating because its price is bankruptcy.