American Imperialism’s Most Ambivalent Salesman

For Robert D. Kaplan, there’s nothing imperialism can’t fix—except for all the problems it creates

The latest example arrived on Monday, when Kaplan published an article in Foreign Policy originally titled, “It’s Time to Bring Imperialism Back to the Middle East.” The headline was perhaps too blunt for its own good and was changed to “The Ruins of Empire in the Middle East.” Though likely an editor’s decision, that walkback is nonetheless fitting, for there’s a fatal ambivalence in Kaplan’s pro-imperialist stance. He sees imperialism as a positive and necessary policy but is aware that it’s a hard sell to an American audience. Moreover, it’s not absolutely clear that Kaplan himself thinks a new American empire is a genuine panacea or just a dose of snakeoil.

In typical pundit fashion, Kaplan’s policy prescription is sold through a selective reading of history. The traditional empires who ruled the Middle East and much of the world—notably, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire—were, he argues, forces that promoted peace, trade, and a general prosperity. “Imperialism bestowed order, however retrograde it may have been,” he contends. And order is what the world needs. “The challenge now is less to establish democracy than to reestablish order. For without order, there is no freedom for anyone.”


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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