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Are Michael Mann's Incoherent Empire's arguments still relevant four years later?

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  1. Economic vulnerability
    1. Dollar Hegemony
    2. Aid, Development, and Neo-liberalism
  2. Political Dichotomy and the Ideological Divide

Michael Mann's Incoherent Empire is a revealing text which manages to address bold political accusations and provide concurrent evidence. His critique of the American empire is timely and arguably more pertinent today than it was when written, after various imperial failures have helped corroborate his claims. However it is still unclear whether or not his prediction of imperial collapse can be determined to be accurate. Mann's essential argument is that "the demise of the new imperialisms will not come from the rise of another power but instead from extremely uneven power resources. The new imperialists are placing too much emphasis on military power." Pinpointing the source of Empires' decline has proven a challenge throughout history, as there are often culminations of factors that lead to instability, however a specific analysis of the US military would seem a logical place to begin the dissection of Mann's thesis.

[...] A recent Oxfam report states that ?roughly four million Iraqis, many of them children, are in dire need of food aid; that 70 percent of the country lacks access to adequate water supplies, up from 50 percent in 2003; and that 90 percent of the country's hospitals lack basic medical and surgical supplies? (Cave). The conclusion to be drawn is that Mann was certainly on to something when he claimed that a reliance on military power cannot achieve all of the US's goals. [...]


[...] Governments simply turn to the IMF in order to ?gain political leverage via conditionality to help push through unpopular policies.? A fair analysis of each organization is far beyond the scope of this paper, but the point is that at the time of Mann's writing, and still today, the US projects its economic principles onto nations via allegedly corrupt and deceptive institutions. The Wolfowitz scandal at the World Bank in June 2007 highlighted the derisory nature of an institution that is meant to alleviate world poverty, and once again it appears that US economic policy is egocentric by nature. [...]


[...] Nevertheless his point is well taken and perhaps holds even more relevance now with an especially weak dollar, four years after his publication Aid, Development, and Neo-liberalism Mann devotes quite a bit of time to critiquing US stinginess when it comes to international aid donations. He states proudly that there so far been no discernible policy of investing in imperial development? but I am curious to know when an empire has ever harbored imperial interests in the development of non-colonial states. [...]

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