On Empire: America, War and Global Supremacy
Amazing that Eric Hobsbawm, who was born in 1917 and held on through the short century with his credentials intact, is still kicking hard. This little book I assigned to my undergrad students as an introduction to current affairs from the panoramic point of view. Only ninety pages long, but it manages to sound deeply across time and around the block. The argument is very simple: America’s empire is different and dangerous (considering Hobsbawn thinks all previous empires were no picnic either, read the word dangerous in bold-face). My one beef with the book was the repeated assertion that borders were not crossed in international conflict from the end of WWII to the end of the Cold War. Perhaps he was exaggerating or perhaps he means something particular that eludes me when he says ‘cross’ or ‘border,’ or he means perhaps that the US invading other countries during that time doesn’t count because after all they had a sort of monopoly on the role of space invaders.