Home > defense, foreign policy > Does Withdrawing From Iraq Prove America’s No Empire?

Does Withdrawing From Iraq Prove America’s No Empire?

That’s the argument being advanced by Jonah Goldberg, anyway, in this piece at the LA Times. However, I think Daniel Larison rightly dispels this notion by aptly pointing out that:

Withdrawal from Iraq doesn’t demonstrate that the U.S. is not an empire. Just because a state withdraws its forces from a country it has invaded and occupied for years doesn’t mean that it hasn’t acted as an empire does. After toppling a country’s government, installing a new government that it initially believed would be more cooperative and subservient, and occupying its territory against the will of most of the population for almost a decade, the U.S. certainly acted imperially in Iraq, as Jacob Heilbrunn notes. When a government reserves the right to overthrow other governments that oppose its policy goals, it assumes that other states’ sovereignty is so limited that it can and should be violated when it suits the more powerful state. This is how many empires have acted in the past, and so it seems appropriate and accurate to refer to a contemporary American empire.

Image via Hidden Harmonies China Blog

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