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Re: Overthrow Hussein?
by Threehegemons
14 February 2002 00:49 UTC
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<We'll see.  I have to say that the reaction by US allies, GB above all, to
overthrowing the Taliban was far more supportive than I imagined it would
be, just as it was against Iraq under Bush Sr.  So, we'll see.>

Like Israel, GB isn't so much an ally as a fifty-first state.  It doesn't 
really count.  And even Blair is not on board for Iraq.  Only Thatcher.  I'm 
thinking maybe the US can get Sharon on board too, if they think it's worth it.

Every transition is quite different from previous ones--really different.  
There was nothing like the French Revolution in the transition to Dutch 
hegemony.    It seems more useful to understand the ways in which the present 
echoes the past than to simply accept the surface fact that every day brings a 
new world.  Careful attention to reptitions allows us to see whats really new.

Two relevant repetitions from the past:  the increased vulnerability of the 
declining hegemon to attack on its own soil, greatly increasing its protection 
costs (in the past, eventually forcing it to rely on other states for 
protection), and the apparently quasi-territorial ambitions of the US these 
days (more of a 'presence' in South-Central Asia) under the guise of defending 
civilization, helping the oppressed of the world, bringing peace, all things 
the British loved to talk about as they expanded their empire in the 19th 
century.  Not much new there.  The other day in the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof 
even explicitly said the US now carries the white man's burden.

Rising hegemons have generally not been territorialists during the phase of 
world wars.  They are also not the main warriors, until the near the end.  What 
they do is win the gratitude of a transnational coalition desiring order, and 
emerged relatively unscathed and able to construct that order.  Its not obvious 
to me that this logic will not be more or less repeated in the medium term 
future (twenty, thirty years) perhaps by Europe (as Chase Dunn/Boswell suggest) 
perhaps some sort of East Asian hegemony (as Arrighi tends to believe) perhaps 
some new sort of network/transnational deal.  But the US still basically looks 
like a ruler of the past, not the future.

Steven Sherman

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