On the flight from Johannesburg to Luanda, Angola, the airplane is packed. Half the passengers are oil workers returning for another four- or five-week stint on the wells off the coast. The other half are relief workers, coming to feed, house and cure more than a million Angolans who are starving in the wake of the country’s recently concluded civil war.
While “American imperialism” has been a catchphrase on the left for a long time, people on other parts of the political spectrum are only now beginning to accept the idea that we have entered the age of the American Empire. How well is America prepared to sustain an empire? Not very.
The Bush administration’s grand design for foreign policy, spelled out last September in a document titled “The National Security Strategy,” declares that the U.S. will exercise the responsibilities of the dominant power in international politics in order to resist terrorism and rogue states and to shape a global ethos of human dignity and prosperity.
Many critics of the U.S. plans for going to war in Iraq point to oil as a motive. If that is true, it is worrisome indeed. But the policymakers who have long demanded this war are more concerned with ideological and strategic considerations than economic factors. The Bush administration is loaded with policymakers who have long maintained that the U.S.