Hitch on Sid, Nye on empire:
Reader BK has been sending in some excellent links lately, including Christopher Hitchen’s review
in the Boston-based Atlantic Monthly of Sidney Blumenthal’s new book on the Clinton years. The other is a piece by Harvard’s Joseph Nye
, who questions the concept of America as an ‘empire’ -- and whether we’d support an empire even if we acknowledged its alleged existence. ...
As for Hitchens, he’s so on target in describing modern American politics: “Obviously, much of this fatuous (political) rhetoric arises from the need to disagree more and more about less and less, to maintain the mills of fundraising in a churning condition, and to keep the dwindling groups of genuine loyalists and activists in a state of excited pseudo-commitment. But much of the dankness and dinginess is owed to the influence exerted by professional political operators, those who have a careerist interest in ‘the process’ as it is.”
As for Nye, he notes: “Some say the United States is already an empire and it is just a matter of recognizing reality. It's a mistake, however, to confuse the politics of primacy with those of empire.” ... As an aside, I’m so sick of hearing extreme leftists and rightists arguing over ‘empire.’ For decades, the bankrupt left has been trying to portray America as an evil capitalist empire (‘capitalist imperialists’ etc.). Now their label appears to have stuck, thought it’s as inaccurate a stretch today as it was during the Cold War. ... For the past decade now, the neoconservative right -- backed by some nostalgic British intellectuals pining for a new English-speaking empire -- have been pushing the bankrupt notion of imperialism in general -- this time in the name of democracy. Now their label appears to have stuck. ... The rest of us? Just leave us alone.