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The American art of war: book reviews

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Carl Boggs, The Crimes of Empire: Rogue Superpower and World Domination

Paul Rogers, Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st century

Paul Atwood, War and Empire: The American Way of Life (Pluto Press 2010)

reviews by Eric Walberg http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/998/cu3.htm

Three new publications from the leading radical British press are the tip of a growing iceberg of passionate pleas for sanity in international affairs. Most of us prefer to stick our heads in the sand as the world goes to hell in a hand-basket, but there are works that can fascinate and uplift, perhaps even inspire us to do something before it is too late.

If what you need is a reference book for your own writing, with all the gory details of just how disreputable the world's hegemon is, The Crimes of Empire: Rogue Superpower and World Domination by Carl Boggs is what you pull down from your shelf. He has slogged through all the filth of "collateral damage", "humanitarian warfare", "client-state outlawry", "perpetual war", "biowarfare", "space imperialism", Guantanamo -- the Orwellian list is seemingly endless -- to provide a litany of horrors that will convince even the most sceptical of observers as to who is the real problem in the world.

Not a pretty read, but a commendable labour on the author's part.

More rivetting than Boggs's list of the empire's sins is the justification for them, as revealed by such neocons as Robert Kagan, who sees American force as necessary "to restrain the chaotic tendencies of a Hobbesian world", and who thus rejects any global restraints on US flexibility. "Human rights intervention", the latest buzzword to condone imperial ventures -- it once was called the "white man's burden" -- is for use by the big guns against the little ones. But Boggs's list of crimes is proof in itself that the imperial project actually creates "a comprehensive lawless whole".

This belies the Dawkinsian claim of evolutionary improvement in society's "moral zeitgeist", which sees an upward trajectory from the slavery of yore to racial, gender and political correctness today, as "proved" by post-WWII multilateral treaties signed at the New York UN HQs or in Geneva. The New World Order is based on "sovereignty of nations", though Boggs points out that some nations are more sovereign than others, undermining the whole farce. The Kagans justify this as "US exceptionalism". But a sobre evaluation of today's world reveals that Reagan's "peace through strength" is really nothing but medieval "might makes right".

Anyone with even a smattering of US history can see that the Indian wars and Manifest Destiny of the 18th and 19th centuries were based on the same philosophy of "pre-emptive war" that solemn conferences on security today spout in defence of the indefensible.

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http://ericwalberg.com/
Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games" and "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" are available at (more...)
 

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