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On Empire: America, War, and Global…
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On Empire: America, War, and Global Supremacy

by Eric Hobsbawm

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Four short essays summarizing Hobsbawm's views on
- the "short 20th century",
- the relationship between the history of the 20th century and the 21st; and
- the impact of recent events on international relations.

He finds the demographic shift to urban life and the hyper-city ("the fall of the peasantry"), the change in the status of women, and the communications revolution (the rise of the internet and the replacement of oral traditions by literacy) are adding up to a dramatic break in world history.

Warfare is now primarily internal rather than between states; and while military casualties are now lower, warfare is now more disruptive of civilian life. And technology has assured that traditional forms of empire will not return.

Not surprisingly, he's not impressed with the Bush junta: "Frankly, I can't make sense of what has happened in the United States since 9/11 that enabled a group of political crazies to realize long-held plans for an unaccompanied solo performance of world supremacy." ( )
1 vote AsYouKnow_Bob | Aug 31, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375425373, Hardcover)

In there four incisive and keenly perceptive essays, one of out most celebrated and respected historians of modern Europe looks at the world situation and some of the major political problems confronting us at the start of the third millennium.

With his usual measured and brilliant historical perspective, Eric Hobsbawm traces the rise of American hegemony in the twenty-first century. He examines the state of steadily increasing world disorder in the context of rapidly growing inequalities created by rampant free-market globalization. He makes clear that there is no longer a plural power system of states whose relations are governed by common laws--including those for the conduct of war. He scrutinizes America's policies, particularly its use of the threat of terrorism as an excuse for unilateral deployment of its global power. Finally, he discusses the ways in which the current American hegemony differs from the defunct British Empire in its inception, its ideology, and its effects on nations and individuals.

Hobsbawm is particularly astute in assessing the United States' assertion of world hegemony, its denunciation of formerly accepted international conventions, and its launching of wars of aggression when it sees fit. Aside from the naivete and failure that have surrounded most of these imperial campaigns, Hobsbawm points out that foreign values and institutions--including those associated with a democratic government--can rarely be imposed on countries such as Iraq by outside forces unless the conditions exist that make them acceptable and readily adaptable.

Timely and accessible, On Empire is a commanding work of history that should be read by anyone who wants some understanding of the turbulent times in which we live.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Assesses increasing world disorder in light of the inequities caused by free-market globalization, America's use of the terrorist threat as an excuse for unilateral deployment, and American hegemony in comparison to the British Empire.

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