Colossus

Colossus

The Rise and Fall of the American Empire

Format
Paperback
Price
$18.00
 
Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143034797
  • 416 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

Is America an empire? Certainly not, according to our government. Despite the conquest of two sovereign states in as many years, despite the presence of more than 750 military installations in two thirds of the world’s countries and despite his stated intention “to extend the benefits of freedom…to every corner of the world,” George W. Bush maintains that “America has never been an empire.” “We don’t seek empires,” insists Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. “We’re not imperialistic.”

Nonsense, says Niall Ferguson. In Colossus he argues that in both military and economic terms America is nothing less than the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Just like the British Empire a century ago, the United States aspires to globalize free markets, the rule of law, and representative government. In theory it’s a good project, says Ferguson. Yet Americans shy away from the long-term commitments of manpower and money that are indispensable if rogue regimes and failed states really are to be changed for the better. Ours, he argues, is an empire with an attention deficit disorder, imposing ever more unrealistic timescales on its overseas interventions. Worse, it’s an empire in denial—a hyperpower that simply refuses to admit the scale of its global responsibilities. And the negative consequences will be felt at home as well as abroad. In an alarmingly persuasive final chapter Ferguson warns that this chronic myopia also applies to our domestic responsibilities. When overstretch comes, he warns, it will come from within—and it will reveal that more than just the feet of the American colossus is made of clay.

Praise

“Every page of Colossus is provocative.” —Ernest May

“Amid the seemingly endless writings and decisions about ‘America as Empire,’ the most prominent recent voice is that of Niall Ferguson.” —Paul Kennedy, New York Review of Books

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I—Rise
1. The Limits of the American Empire
2. The Imperialism of Anti-Imperialism
3. The Civilization of Clashes
4. Splendid Multilateralism

Part II—Fall?
5. The Case for Liberal Empire
6. Going Home or Organizing Hypocrisy
7. “Impire”: Europe Between Brussels and Byzantium
8. The Closing Door

Conclusion: Looking Homeward
Statistical Appendix
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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