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The Council on Foreign Relations and the ‘Grand Area’ of the American Empire

December 14, 2011
Andrew Gavin Marshall,

Chapter Excerpt: The Making of the American Empire

The process of establishing an American Empire during and after World War II was not – as has been postulated (by those who even admit there is such a thing as an “American Empire”) – an “accident” of history, something America seemingly stumbled into as a result of its unhindered economic growth and military-political position as arbiter of world peace and prosperity. A vast literature has developed in the academic realm and policy circles – particularly within Political Science and the think tank community, respectively – which postulates a notion of “American empire” or “American hegemony” as accidental, incidental, benevolent, reluctant, and desirable.

Robert Kagan is a prominent American neoconservative historian. He is a Senior Fellow at the prestigious think tank, the Brookings Institution, was a founder of the neoconservative think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), formerly worked at the State Department in the Reagan administration under Secretary of State, George Shultz, and served for over a decade as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and is, of course, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kagan has written a great deal on the notion of American hegemony. As he wrote in the journal, Foreign Policy, in 1998, “the truth about America’s dominant role in the world is known to most clear-eyed international observers.” This truth, according to Kagan, “is that the benevolent hegemony exercised by the United States is good for a vast portion of the world’s population.” Samuel Huntington, another Council member and prominent American strategist, wrote that, “A world without U.S. primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country shaping global affairs.”[1] This “Benevolent Empire” – as Kagan titles his article – rests on such fundamental ideas as the notion “that American freedom depends on the survival and spread of freedom elsewhere,” and that, “American prosperity cannot occur in the absence of global prosperity.” For half a century, Kagan wrote, Americans “have been guided by the kind of enlightened self-interest that, in practice, comes dangerously close to resembling generosity.”[2]

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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