In my talk at the school about the foreign policy implications of the election back in September, I noted that neither candidate ever referred to actually diminishing the global American empire and that in most respects the core of their foreign policies were almost the same. Both, in fact, spoke of maintaining or expanding the empire, including Obama's proposed drawdown in Iraq (with its equal increase in Afghanistan, like one of those water snakes you can never quite grab). Keeping Gates at Defense is a clear signal to any and all that there will in fact be no change in the nature, extent, or aims of the American hegemonic order, even if Obama is going to bring a change in tone by closing Guantanamo and generally not being the hated and incompetent George W. Bush. There won't be 'change we can believe in' until there are some questions asked about American empire that aren't even on the table in this supposedly reformist administration (and Clinton retreads won't be asking them, nor will actual Clintons).

(...though there are some asking them, such as Andrew Bacevich, in a spirited retelling of perspectives William Appleman Williams made plain quite some time ago. It might be time for others to start listening).


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