Friday, November 07, 2003

Apologies if this already made the rounds ages ago, but I'm still catching up on my Foreign Affairs, and this quote introducing Niall Ferguson's article on hegemony was eye-opening:
"Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies but as liberators...It is [not] the wish of [our] government to impose upon you alien institutions. ... [It is our wish] that you should prosper even as in the past, when your lands were fertile, when your ancestors gaveo to the world literature, science, and art, and when Baghdad city was one of the wonders of the world. ... It is [our] hope that the aspirations of your philosophers and writers shall be realized and that once again the people of Baghdad shall flourish, enjoying their wealth and substance under institutions which are in consonance with their sacred laws and their racial ideals."
--General F.S. Maude to the people of Mesopotamia, March 19, 1917

Of course the Brits weren't afraid to call their Empire an Empire, and this article that I've just started promises to explain why America doesn't run an empire, but is a hegemon, and perhaps the world's first. Something to do with leading the allies but not ruling the subject peoples and so on.

Woo-hoo, am I exciting today. Christ, it's a friday. What am I talking about hegemons for? I should be fined for even cracking the spine of a Foreign Affairs on a motherloving Friday. I'm off to see Martin Amis and (knock on wood) a woozy Hitch in attendance. Want the autograph, but don't really want to buy the book as I've heard it's shoddy. Don't think authors sign breasts. Maybe will find out.


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