Journal des Alternatives

Global Capitalism and American Empire

Leo PANITCH & Sam GINDIN, 10 August 2003

The American empire is no longer concealed. In March 1999, the cover of the New York Times Magazine displayed a giant clenched fist painted in the stars and stripes of the US flag above the words: ’What The World Needs Now: For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is’. Thus was featured Thomas Friedman’s ’Manifesto for a Fast World’, which urged the United States to embrace its role as enforcer of the capitalist global order: ’...the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist.... The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.’ Four years later, in January 2003, when there was no longer any point in pretending the fist was hidden, the whole cover of the Magazine featured an essay by Michael Ignatieff with the words, ’The American Empire: Get Used It ’: ’...[W]hat word but "empire" describes the awesome thing that America is becoming? ...Being an imperial power... means enforcing such order as there is in the world and doing so in the American interest.’

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