The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire

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Does the United States today preside over a global empire? America's emergence as the world's dominant power in the 1990s nurtured the perception―initially more pronounced abroad than at home―that with the passing of the cold war the United States had indeed become an imperial republic. Some observers, convinced that American power is necessarily benign, welcome that new reality. Others are not so sure. In The Imperial Tense, Andrew Bacevich has drawn together a stimulating collection of arguments on a subject of compelling current importance. Since September 11 and the ensuing “war on terror,” President Bush's sweeping rhetoric and national security strategy has affirmed the imperial nature of American foreign policy, provoking concerns over where those ambitions may lead. What is the nature and scope of the American empire? What are its prospects and challenges? Is American power adequate for the task of managing a global imperium? And what of will―are the American people prepared to pay the price that the preservation of that empire may demand? The Imperial Tense offers cogent reflections on these and related questions by leading scholars and commentators, including Mr. Bacevich (who has also written the Introduction), James Chace, Stanley Hoffmann, Charles Krauthammer, Charles Maier, David Rieff, Deepak Lal, John Milbank, Jonathan Freedland, Peter Bender, Martin Walker, Perry Anderson, Jedediah Purdy, G. John Ikenberry, Stephen Books, William Wohlworth, David Marquand, David North, Gabriel Ash, Ivan Eland, and Victor Davis Hanson.

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About the Author:

Andrew Bacevich teaches international relations at Boston University. He has recently published American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy to considerable acclaim. He lives in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Review:

This captivating collection addresses the most important issue facing the United States in the coming century. (Richard H. Kohn, Chair, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, former Chief of)

Bacevich has performed a valuable service. (David Pryce-Jones)

First-rate...a most valuable collection. (Walter LaFeber)

He has done the ongoing debate about America's role in the world a great service by bringing these pieces together in a convenient package. (Virginia Quarterly Review)

An outstanding introduction to the growing debate on the implications and import of US 'hyperpower.' (CHOICE)

...Provides a panoramic view of the empire debate... (Concord Bridge)

...This collection reflects most of the distribution curve of current opinion on the subject. (The American Conservative)

...Well worth reading for...bracing arguments, pro and con, on whether or in what sense America is an empire. (First Things)

The essays collected...are a curious amalgam of military hubris and cultural anxiety: they dutifully document both America's truly awesome military reach and the widespread national uncertainty about what to do with it. (The New York Review Of Books)

An especially useful guide to a complex and controversial debate. (Michael Cox Royal United Services Institute Journal)

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