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Alfred McCoy, Living in a Quagmire World

Alfred McCoy, Living in a Quagmire World

Americans have never liked to think of themselves as part of the West’s imperial history that began with the Roman empire and may now quite literally be ending, as historian and TomDispatch regular Alfred McCoy suggests, in a distinctly un-American moment. The author of a classic history of empire, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, McCoy has previously suggested that, in symbolic terms, if Donald Trump were to win the 2024 presidential election (or even lose it and once again contest it, possibly, thanks to his most fervent followers, in an ominously well-armed fashion), he could prove to be the end of empire personified.

Certainly, as McCoy explains today, it’s hard not to imagine that, from Ukraine to Gaza to Asia, this country is on a dramatic imperial downward slide. His own findings only serve to reinforce a view taking root among America’s European and Asian allies that the United States, globally dominant since 1945 and triumphantly the lone superpower on Planet Earth in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, is now experiencing an epoch-ending terminal failure. The global Pax Americana (that proved to have all too much war in it) is, it seems, crumbling amid two grim conflicts, one in Europe and the other in the Middle East, and a political and military stand-off with China that could, at any moment, take a turn for the worse.

And let me add: it’s strange to see the American Moment (and yes, historically speaking, I do think that should be capitalized!) potentially ending here at home with two elderly men locked in an electoral knife fight that could blow the American imperium sky-high from the inside out. Tom

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