Dilemmas of Domination
The Unmaking of the American Empire
From the acclaimed globalization critic, a far-reaching analysis of America's military, economic, and political vulnerability
The empire seems unassailable, but the empire is weak-and precisely because of its imperial ambitions. So argues Walden Bello's provocative new book, which systematically dissects the strategic, economic, and political dilemmas confronting America as a consequence of its quest for global domination.
An award-winning development expert, Bello shows how despite the enormity of the U.S. defense budget, American forces are already overextended, a condition bound to intensify as each local "victory" breeds simmering resistance and new confrontation. He points to the empire's looming economic breakdown, the result of its gargantuan military costs, record-breaking deficits, and exploitative trade and investment relations with developing countries. On the political front, he warns of the bitter disillusionment mounting around the world in response to America's failure to champion liberal democracy. Everywhere America goes, crony capitalism, hostile coercion, and gross inequalities in income eat away at expectations of justice and inclusion.
A clear and prophetic examination, Dilemmas of Domination reveals a not-too-distant future in which the empire's hidden weaknesses will yield fatal challenges to American supremacy.
A professor of sociology and public administration at the University of the Philippines, Bello offers a provocative analysis of why he and much of the world sees the U.S. empire beginning to weaken. Since he believes that U.S. supremacy is unlikely to falter anytime soon, Bello focuses on its underpinnings and perceptions of its legitimacy. After a brief examination of U.S. grand strategy over the last half century, Bello (De-Globalization) concentrates on the post-9/11 world, arguing that U.S. military credibility has been compromised by actions in Iraq. A related review of U.S.-centrist globalization follows, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present, with a sustained critique of the current U.S. administration's policies. Most instructive are Bello's clear and cogent case studies of Southern countries that are frequently dissatisfied with the U.S.'s role in the WTO, IMF and World Bank. He argues that because the U.S. government's actions in the international arena reflect, at their core, the needs of American capitalism, the U.S. fails to champion liberal democracy and thereby loses legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Most of what's here is not news, but it is a concise and thoughtful global South perspective on America's military, economic, and political realities.