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Be skeptical of their authors

Krauthammer 9 (Charles, October, Decline is a Choice, The Standard,, mat) The weathervanes of conventional wisdom are engaged in another round of angst about America in decline. New theories, old slogans: Imperial overstretch. The Asian awakening. The post-American world. Inexorable forces beyond our control bringing the inevitable humbling of the world hegemon. On the
other side of this debate are a few--notably Josef Joffe in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs--who resist the current fashion and insist that America remains the indispensable power. They note that

declinist predictions are cyclical, that the rise of China (and perhaps India) are just the current version of the Japan panic of the late 1980s or of the earlier pessimism best captured by Jean-Franois Revel's How Democracies Perish. The antideclinists point out, for example, that the fear of China is overblown. It's based on the implausible assumption of indefinite, uninterrupted growth; ignores accumulating externalities like pollution (which can be ignored when growth starts from a very low baseline, but ends up making growth increasingly, chokingly difficult); and overlooks the unavoidable consequences of the one-child policy, which guarantees that China will get old before it gets rich. And just as the rise of China is a straight-line projection of current economic trends, American decline is a straightline projection of the fearful, pessimistic mood of a country war-weary and in the grip of a severe recession.

Threat construction is good it allows us to anticipate and prevent danger

Berke 98 (Joseph, Even Paranoids Have Enemies, google books, pg 5-6, mat)
Internal and external persecution come together in the theoretical model of the paranoid process a set of developmental and defensive mechanisms which serve to delineate the individuals inner psychic world and his experience of his emerging self, while, at the same time, contributing to the shaping of his sense of significant objects in his experiential world (Meissner 1986). One of this models core components, the paranoid construction refers to a cognitive reorganization taking place in an attempt to sustain a comfortable sense of self which, however, may be at the expense of reality testing. This process, in its extreme form, leads to the formation of a persecutory bond, where a link is established between, on the one hand, the paranoid individual and, on the other, his persecutors and the terrifying forces that threaten to engulf him. This can become a rigid construction that reinforces the spiral of paranoia-persecution-paranoia. Meissner understands this mechanism as offering a sense of cohesion and durability to a fragile self, though it often involves a high degree of pathology and victimization. Instances of this process abound in individuals, institutions, and groups (including whole nations) where views of internal and external situations are (ab)used to service a brittle sense of identity. Fully recognizing this predicament, and the dangers involved, requires thinking about

a certain degree of paranoia is desirable as it is a basis for discrimination (Segal 1994); when we let a new experience touch us, we acknowledge that it may be bad or good, which enables us to anticipate danger. In leaders of an organization, for instance, a certain degree of paranoid potential can be a useful resource, as opposed to a dangerous naivety that would prevent the leader from becoming aware of the situations of activation of aggression in the group, or regression to primitive levels of functioning. Where the leader can be aware of, and apprehend risk and danger, there is the possibility of preparation for the group to face them and cope with them.
and tolerating our own conflictual parts. Paradoxically,

Their nave critique of US hegemony undermines domestic support for leadership

Holmes 8 Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies and Director, Institute for International Studies [Kim, 3/14, Liberty's Best Hope,] But

there is a deeper, more homegrown challenge to American leadership. Some Americans no longer believe that America has the moral stature to be a world leader. Their doubts about traditional American values lead them to be skeptical about the assertion of American power abroad. In other words, they have doubts about us as a nation, making them reluctant to support an assertive foreign policy abroad. They fall back into a mindset like that of our European friends; they want to constrain and tame American power--to make us atone for our alleged sins and to create a nation not unlike what you may find in the
European Union.

This type of ivory-tower intellectualism empirically collapses civilizations

Hanson 3 (Victor Davis, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Professor Emeritus at California University, Fresno, Ph.D. from Stanford, We Could Still Lose.
National Review Online. August 11. Instead, we have the leisure to engage in utopian musing, assured that our economy, our unseen soldiers, or our system working on autopilot will always ensure us such prerogatives. And in the la-la land of Washington and New York, it is especially easy to forget that we are not even like our own soldiers in Iraq, now sleeping outside without

Western societies from ancient Athens to imperial Rome to the French republic rarely collapsed because of a shortage of resources or because foreign enemies proved too numerous or formidable in armseven when those enemies were grim Macedonians or Germans. Rather, in times of peace and prosperity there arose an unreal view of the world beyond their borders, one that was the product of insularity brought about by success, and an intellectual arrogance that for
toilets and air conditioners, eating dehydrated food, and trying to distinguish killers from innocents. What does all this mean?

some can be the unfortunate by-product of an enlightened society. I think

the election season antics of our politicians even hot or . September 11 no longer evokes an image of incinerated firefighters, innocents leaping out of skyscrapers, or the stench of flesh and melted plastic but rather squabbles over architectural designs,

we are indulging in this unreal hypercriticismeven apart from because we are not being gassed or shot or left hungry

Such smug dispensationas profoundly amoral as it isprovides us, on the cheap and at a safe distance, with a sense of moral worth. Or
lawsuits, snarling over John Ashcrofts new statutes, or concerns about being too rude to the Arab street.

perhaps censuring from the bleachers enables us to feel superior to those less fortunate who are still captive to their primordial appetites. We prefer to cringe at the thought that others like to see proof of their killers deaths, prefer to shoot rather than die capturing a mass murderer, and welcome a generic profile of those who wish to kill them en masse.

We should take stock of this dangerous and growing mind-setand remember that wealthy, sophisticated societies like our own are rarely overrun. They simply implodewhining and debating to the end, even as they pass away.

Their criticism opens us up to a new generation of Hitlers and allows countries like Iran and North Korea to cause conflicts
Sowell 7 (Thomas, 7/24, Senior fellow at Stanford Universitys Hoover Institution, Morally Paralyzed,, mat) Moral paralysis" is a term that has been used to describe the inaction of France, England and other European democracies in the 1930s, as they watched Hitler build up the military forces that he later used to attack them. It is a term that may be painfully relevant to our own times. Back in the 1930s, the governments of the democratic
" countries knew what Hitler was doing and they knew that they had enough military superiority at that point to stop his military buildup in its tracks. But they did nothing to stop him. Instead, they turned to what is still the magic mantra today "negotiations." No leader of a democratic nation was ever more popular than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain wildly cheered in the House of Commons by opposition parties as well as his own when he returned from negotiations in Munich in 1938, waving an agreement and declaring that it meant Less than a year later, World War II began in Europe and spread across the planet, killing tens of millions of people and reducing many cities to rubble in Europe and Asia. Looking back after that war,

"peace in our time." We know now how short that time was.

Hitler could have been stopped in his tracks "without the firing of a single shot," Churchill said. That point came in 1936 three years before World War II began when Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland, in violation of two international treaties. At that point, France alone was so much more powerful than Germany that the German generals had secret orders to retreat immediately at the first sign of French intervention. As Hitler himself confided, the Germans would have had to retreat "with our tail between our legs," because they did not yet have enough military force to put up even a token resistance. Why did the French not act and spare themselves and the world the years of horror that Hitler's aggressions would bring? The French had the means but not the will. "Moral paralysis" came from many things. The death of a million French soldiers in the First World War and disillusionment with the peace that followed cast a pall over a whole generation. Pacifism became vogue among the intelligentsia and spread into educational institutions. As early as 1932, Winston Churchill said: "France, though armed to the teeth, is pacifist to the core." It was morally paralyzed. History may be interesting but it is the present and the future that pose the crucial question: Is America today the France of yesterday? We know that Iran is moving swiftly toward nuclear weapons while the United Nations is moving slowly or not at all toward doing anything to stop them. It is a sign of our irresponsible Utopianism that anyone would even expect the UN to do anything that would make any real difference. Not only the history of the UN, but the history of the League of Nations before it, demonstrates again and again that going to such places is a way for weak-kneed leaders of democracies to look like they are doing something when in fact they are doing nothing. The Iranian leaders are not going to stop unless they get stopped. And, like Hitler, they don't think we have the guts to stop them. Incidentally, Hitler made some of the best anti-war statements of the 1930s. He knew that this was what the Western democracies wanted to hear and that
Winston Churchill said, "There was never a war in all history easier to prevent by timely action." The earlier it was done, the less it would have cost. At one point, it would keep them morally paralyzed while he continued building up his military machine to attack them. Iranian leaders today make only the most token and transparent claims that they are building "peaceful" nuclear facilities in one of the biggest oil-producing countries in the world, which has no need for nuclear power to generate electricity. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran and its international terrorist allies will be a worst threat than Hitler ever was. But, before that happens, the big question is: Are we France?

Are we morally paralyzed, perhaps fatally?

Their labeling of the US as an empire is false and kills hegemony

Mazurak 11 (Zbigniew, 226, American Thinker, America Is Not an Empire,, mat) A number of liberal and libertarian politicians and columnists, led by Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, have been falsely claiming for years that America is (or possesses) an empire. This propaganda is actually worrisome, because its spreaders are using it to justify isolationism and dramatic defense cuts. What proof of an American empire has been offered? We often hear, for example, the claim that the U.S. has 700 or 1,000 "military bases" in foreign countries. The truth is that the vast majority of these "bases" are tiny military installations. Only a few dozen are sizable military bases such as Ramstein,
Spangdahlem, Mildenhall, Misawa, Yokota, and Kadena. Similarly, Paulites point to the thousands of American soldiers stationed abroad, allegedly in 130 different foreign countries around the world. But these deemed important enough, including Germany (home to over 30,000 American troopers), Britain, Japan, and South Korea (where about 28,000 American troopers are stationed) -- four of

the majority of

servicemembers are based in just a few countries

America's most important allies and trade partners. In the vast majority of the rest of those 130 countries, there are usually no more than a few

dozen soldiers. There are just a few thousand American soldiers in Kosovo and Bosnia. There are still a few thousand on the Arabian Peninsula, plus various warships stationed

. In many of these 130 countries, the "troops" stationed are Marine Embassy Guards, peacekeepers, or trainers. In several key countries, American troops are stationed to defend crucial areas or monitor some of the world's trouble-spots -- or
there and in the Mediterranean Sea to make it possible to project military might in crisis zones in a few days rather than weeks or months. Some people add American troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan to the total number of servicemembers "stationed" abroad. However, the forces in Iraq and the Hindukush are deployed there only temporarily, and their permanent bases are elsewhere (in Europe, South Korea, Japan, or the U.S.). The DOD does not have, and is forbidden by law to maintain, any permanent bases in those countries, so it sends troops permanently garrisoned in other places (the U.S., Europe, or East Asia) for tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, critics ignore the fact that Barack Obama plans to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by December 2011 (already, there are only about 50,000 Americans there) and begin withdrawing American GIs from Afghanistan in July 2011. Isolationists and empire myth propagators also ignore the fact that the Bush administration reduced the number of America's bases abroad by 35% and brought back 70,000 American troopers (including 40,000 military servicemembers stationed in Europe) plus 100,000 civilians from foreign countries to the CONUS. Well, what about all those land that the US has supposedly conquered during the last several decades? The answer is that, as General Powell has correctly said, during its history, America has

conquered just enough land to bury its war dead. large in countries like France, bases where American troops protecting endangered countries are stationed, and a number of small islands acquired by the U.S. during the 1890s (Hawaii, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.), which have since then become territories of the U.S. (Hawaii is now a state.) General Powell once told a former Archbishop of Canterbury the following: I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan. We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we've done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in. During the 20th century, Americans came to liberate Europe twice, during world wars started by Europeans. Half a million Americans died during those wars. During and after WW2, the U.S. provided huge aid programs to Europe (the Lend-Lease program and the Marshall Plan), with the U.K. being the only country to repay anything. After WW2, a new threat to Europe emerged: a totalitarian, aggressive, imperialist Soviet Union. The U.S. shielded Western Europe, as well as many other countries, from the Soviet military. It saved South Korea from Kim Il-sung and continues to protect the ROK from the genocidal Pyongyang regime. The U.S. has liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and Iraq from Saddam Hussein, a dictator who murdered a million of his own people. It has also helped dozens of nations stricken by economic crises or natural disasters, including the Indonesians, the Pakistanis, the Russians, the Mexicans, and the South Koreans. The U.S. is the country which ended the genocide in the Balkans -- genocide about which Europe was utterly unable to do anything. Clearly, the world has never had a more benign hegemon than the U.S. And where is the American empire? In those bases in countries whose governments have asked (and continue to ask) the U.S. to dispatch troops to their soil to defend them from their enemies? (Admittedly, this reduces the burden on these countries and allows some of them to evade their responsibilities, but nonetheless, American troops are defending, not occupying, these countries.) As for Iraq and Afghanistan -- Obama has announced timetables for withdrawal of American troops from these countries, so they are hardly provinces of an American empire. The U.S. has not conquered any part of Iraqi, Afghan, German, or Japanese territory. It has never imposed its political system on any other country. It is the only military hegemon which has never used its military might to impose its own political system nor its diktats on other countries, nor to conquer foreign countries and subjugate foreign nations (although the

The only "provinces" of the "American empire" are

war cemeteries

). The "American empire" is a myth. It doesn't exist, and it never did. The only people spreading the myth are implacable ideological opponents of a strong defense like Ron Paul and his cohorts of fans. For them, every American military installation abroad and every war against a foreign country is proof of an empire. It is important to reevaluate America's entire global military posture, military deployments, and defense commitments, and of course, it is important to avoid imperial ventures. But it is equally important to reject false claims of an American empire and
early 19th-century War Hawks dreamed of conquering Canada calls for defense spending reductions.

They destroy the loyalty necessary to maintain cohesion as a state

Hanson 3 (Victor Davis, 11/24, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Professor Emeritus at California University, Fresno, Ph.D. from Stanford, National
Review,Loyalty, How Quaint., mat)

Does the insidious erosion of national loyalty in our country really matter? It does, because on a variety of levels patriotism is the only glue that holds a diverse people together, especially during a war. We should remember that a liberal state is rare in civilization's history. Far more common has been the rule of the tribe or clan, to which individuals proclaim natural

allegiance and then do not extend notions of justice to those outside their immediate kin group. In some sense, we have been plagued by just that kind of chaos in the Middle East-among tribal societies bound by first-cousin marriages and religious fanaticism, without any belief that the idea of "Afghanistan" or "Iraq" should transcend more immediate relationships with the family, local mullah, or ethnic enclaves. Contrast that separatism with Italian-, German-, and Japanese-Americans who fought their former fatherlands in World War II, John F. Kennedy's declaration that his Catholicism was secondary to his Americanism, or the new political career of the immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger that will put him ideologically at odds with dozens of his own in-laws. The greatest advocates of the liberal state always sought to subordinate familial, ethnic, racial, and geographical loyalties-from the Athenian reformer Cleisthenes, who tried to diminish tribal affiliations at Athens, to our own Founders, who sought to craft government that would transcend the chauvinism of the local clique. To understand why a much smaller, much poorer United States could tragically send thousands to their deaths in the air over Schweinfurt, on the ground at Sugar Loaf Hill, and at sea on creaky tankers in the mid Atlantic-and has worked itself into a near national hysteria over

we might take note of the last half-century of pernicious ideologies and mentalities that privileged self and tribe over the general interest of the state. So we have forgotten the tenuousness of our own great experiment: Of all of civilization's rare nation-states, the United States was by far the most extraordinary and ambitious in its efforts to forge one people from so many diverse backgrounds and
battling enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq far less impressive than the Waffen SS or the kamikazesheritages. We alone have tried to elevate a common adherence to a constitution and its ideals over primary loyalties to diverse religions, races, and ethnicities-to such a degree that it is impossible to determine how a typical American even looks or worships. But

if we in America-either from the prejudices of the ignorant or the cynicism of the elite and educated-decide that the United States is not, and should not be, different from other countries (and is surely no better), then there is no intrinsic reason why any of us would wish to sacrifice anything on its behalf. And if we feel that our personal rights are exclusively our own, why feel any responsibility to a consensual state that is supposedly neither creator nor guarantor of our freedom? If and when we reach that point of abject cynicism-and many equally impressive consensual societies have, whether Athens in 338 B.C., Rome around the mid-5th century A.D., Venice in the 17th century, or France in spring 1940-then there is also no historical reason why we should continue to exist as a nation. And indeed at that point we will most certainly not.

Turn War preparation deters aggression, their criticism prevents those efforts
Luttwak 97 CSIS senior fellow (Edward, Boston Review, Paradoxes of Conflict,, mat)

war-preparation by those actually willing to fight (not just ritualistic preparations, as is mostly the case in advanced may avert war by dissuading others' hopes of easy victories--even Bosnia might have done it, had it raised a good army before declaring independence--whereas wishing for peace, marching for peace, etc., is as relevant as wishing and marching for good weather--except if it interferes with concrete war-preparations, when it may be counterproductive.
More generally, countries nowadays)

The alternative to hegemony isnt peace- its brutal regional imperialism

Shaw 2 (Martin, 12/11, Exploring imperia: Western-global power amidst the wars of quasi-imperial states,, mat)
Post-1945 developments were outside the framework of traditional anti-imperialist thought. They were, however, anticipated by one of the classic Marxist writers, Karl Kautsky. He argued before the First World War that there were two possible outcomes to the coming clash of imperialisms. Either there would be a continuing cycle of war, which would have the negative consequences for democracy that other Marxists foresaw. Or the war would lead to the victory of a single 'ultra-imperialism', which would suppress the violent contradictions between Western capitalist states. Ultra-imperialism would lead to a new phase of democratic, internationalist consolidation and give capitalism, for the time being, a new moral superiority. (See the excellent summary of Kautsky's writings in Salvatori, 1979.) Kautsky's ideas appear prophetic from today's standpoint, although because he was a 'reformist' denigrated by Lenin and the dominant Communist tradition in Marxism, they have largely disappeared from the Marxist canon. Kautsky was wrong on timing and process: the First World War did not resolve the contradictions between European empires and did indeed lead to fascism and a new war, rather than the democratic ultra-imperialism that he foresaw. However, the Second World War did lead to many of the features of the ultra-imperialism that he outlined. The conclusion of the Cold War, with the victory of the Western bloc leading to 'unipolar' Western world dominance, has undoubtedly brought to the fore many of the issues he raised. In particular, the new strength of a unified, post-imperial, democratised West has given particularly sharpness to his idea that 'ultra-imperialism' would restore the moral and political superiority of

If, however, Western 'imperialism' was in some meaningful sense concerned with the defence of human rights (albeit among other things), then surely it could claim some kind of superiority over other kinds of rule? And what was the alternative in Kosovo? If Milosevic's Serbia offered only an 'imperialism of genocidal repression' to the people of the province, then surely Western power did represent a priori a superior form of power in this struggle? These rhetorical
capitalism. New Left Review (1999) undoubtedly meant the title of their Kosovo issue, 'The imperialism of human rights', ironically. questions are intended to pose serious analytical points. If Western 'imperialism' is in some qualitative sense 'new', especially if Western power is in a real sense post-imperial, while key

non-Western states like Serbia offer not only quasi-imperial forms of rule but degenerate, even genocidal forms of empire, then the analytical, moral and political issues surrounding 'imperialism' have been seriously transformed.

Internal dissent kills heg

Sowell 6 [Thomas, 11/19, Senior fellow at Stanford Universitys Hoover Institution, Where is the West?, mat)
European nations protesting Saddam Hussein's death sentence, as they protested against forcing secrets out of captured terrorists, should tell us all we need to know about the

Two generations of being insulated from the reality of the international jungle, of not having to defend their own survival because they have been living under the protection of the American nuclear umbrella, have allowed too many Europeans to grow soft and indulge themselves in illusions about brutal realities and dangers. The very means of their salvation have been demonized for decades in antinuclear movements and protesters calling themselves "anti-war." But there is a huge difference between being anti-war in words and being anti-war in deeds. How many times, in its thousands of years of history, has Europe gone 60 years without a major war, as it has since World War II? That peace has been due to American nuclear weapons, which was all that could deter the Soviet Union's armies from marching right across Europe to the Atlantic Ocean. Having overwhelming military force on your side, and letting your enemies know that you have the guts to use it, is being genuinely anti-war. Chamberlain's appeasement brought on World War II and Reagan's military buildup ended the Cold War. The famous Roman peace of ancient times did not come from negotiations, cease-fires, or pretty talk. It came from the Roman Empire's crushing defeat and annihilation of Carthage, which served as a warning to anyone else who might have had any bright ideas about messing with Rome. Only after the Roman Empire began to lose its own internal cohesion, patriotism and fighting spirit over the centuries did it begin to succumb to its external enemies and finally collapse. That seems to be where western civilization is
internal degeneration of western society, where so many confuse squeamishness with morality. heading today. Internal cohesion? Not only does much of today's generation in western societies have a "do your own thing" attitude, defying rules and flouting authority are glorified and Balkanization through "multiculturalism" has become dogma. Patriotism?

Not only is patriotism disdained, the very basis for pride in one's country and culture is systematically undermined in our educational institutions at all levels. The achievements of western civilization are buried in histories that portray every human sin found here as if they were peculiarities of the
west. The classic example is slavery, which existed all over the world for thousands of years and yet is incessantly depicted as if it was a peculiarity of Europeans enslaving Africans. Barbary pirates alone brought twice as many enslaved Europeans to North Africa as there were Africans brought in bondage to the United States and the American colonies from which it was formed.

How many schools and colleges are going to teach that, going against political correctness and undermining white guilt? How many people have any inkling that it was precisely western civilization which eventually turned against slavery and began stamping it out when non-western societies still saw nothing wrong with it? How can a generation be expected to fight for the survival of a culture or a civilization that has been trashed in its own institutions, taught to tolerate even the intolerance of other cultures brought into its own midst, and conditioned to regard any instinct to fight for its own survival as being a "cowboy"? Western nations that show any signs of standing up for self-preservation
are rare exceptions. The United States and Israel are the only western nations which have no choice but to rely on self-defense and both are demonized, not only by our

enemies but also by many in other western nations. Australia recently told its Muslim population that, if they want to live under Islamic law, then they should leave Australia.

If and when we all succumb, will the epitaph of western civilization say that we had the power to annihilate our enemies but were so paralyzed by confusion that we ended up being annihilated ourselves?
That makes three western nations that have not yet completely succumbed to the corrosive and suicidal trends of our times.

Rhetoric of decline is dangerous- causes preemptive war and radical retrenchmentbelief in the enduring structure of power is critical
Beckley 11 (Michael, Winter, International Security, Chinas Century?, mat)
Change is inevitable, but it is often incremental and nonlinear. In the coming decades, China may surge out of its unimpressive condition and close the gap with the United States. Or China might continue to rise in placesteadily improving its capabilities in absolute terms while stagnating, or even declining, relative to the United States. At the time of this writing, the United States remains mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and carries the largest debt in its history. Moreover, the recent partisan standoff over raising the debt ceiling suggests the American political system is losing the capacity for compromise on basic issues, let alone on large-scale problems. It is

The best that can be done is to make plans for the future on the basis of long-term trends; and the trends suggest that the United States economic, technological, and military lead over China will be an enduring feature of i nternational r elations, not a passing moment in time, but a deeply embedded condition that will persist well into this century. In recent years, scholars main message to policymakers has been to prepare for the rise of China and the end of unipolarity. This conclusion is probably wrong,
impossible to say whether the current malaise is the beginning of the end of the unipolar era or simply an aberration. but it is not necessarily bad for Americans to believe it is true. Fear can be harnessed in the service of virtuous policies. Fear of the Soviet Union spurred the construction of the interstate highway system. Perhaps unjustified fears about the decline of the United States and the rise of China can similarly be used in good cause. What could go wrong? One danger is that that

declinism could prompt trade conflicts and immigration restrictions. The results of this study suggest the United States benefits immensely from the free flow of goods, services, and people around the globe; this is what allows American corporations to specialize in high-value activities, exploit innovations created elsewhere, and lure the brightest minds to the United States, all while reducing the price of goods for U.S. consumers. Characterizing Chinas export expansion as a loss for the United States is not just bad economics; it blazes a trail for jingoistic and protectionist policies. It would be tragically ironic if Americans reacted to false prophecies of decline by cutting themselves off from a potentially vital source of American power. Another danger is that declinism may impair foreign policy decisionmaking. If top government officials come to believe that China is overtaking the United States, they are likely to react in one of two ways, both of which are potentially disastrous. The first is that policymakers may imagine the United States faces a closing window of opportunity and should take action while it still enjoys preponderance and not wait until the diffusion of power has already made international politics more competitive and unpredictable. 158 This belief may spur positive action, but it also invites parochial thinking, reckless behavior, and preventive war. 159 As Robert Gilpin and others have shown, [H]egemonic struggles have most frequently been triggered by fears of ultimate decline and the perceived erosion of power. 160 By fanning such fears, declinists may inadvertently promote the type of violent overreaction that they seek to prevent. The other potential reaction is retrenchmentthe divestment of all foreign policy
order and prosperity.

obligations save those linked to vital interests, defined in a narrow and national manner. Advocates of retrenchment assume, or hope, that the world will sort itself out on its own; that whatever replaces American hegemony, whether it be a return to balance of power politics or a transition to a postpower paradise, will naturally maintain international

Order and prosperity, however, are unnatural. They can never be presumed. When achieved, they are the result of determined action by powerful actors and, in particular, by the most powerful actor, which is, and will be for some time, the United States. Arms buildups, insecure sea-lanes, and closed markets are only the most obvious risks of U.S. retrenchment. Less obvious are transnational problems, such as global warming, water scarcity, and disease, which may fester without a leader to rally collective action. If the United States abuses its power, however, it is not because it is too engaged with the world, but because its engagement lacks strategic The solution is better strategy, not retrenchment. The first step toward sound strategy is to recognize that the status quo for the United States is pretty good: it does not face a hegemonic rival, and the trends favor continued U.S.
or inaction. vision.

Hegemony, of course, carries its own risks and costs. In particular, Americas global military presence might tempt policymakers to use force when they should choose diplomacy

dominance. The overarching goal of American foreign policy should be to preserve this state of affairs. Declinists claim the United States should adopt a neomercantilist international economic policy and disengage from current alliance commitments in East Asia and Europe. 161 But the fact that the United States rose relative to China while propping up the world economy and maintaining a hegemonic presence abroad casts doubt on the wisdom of such calls for radical policy change.

American imperialism should be embraced it has been the greatest force for good in the world Boot 3 (Max, Olin senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "American Imperialism? No Need to Run Away from
Label," 5-18-2003,,)

The greatest danger is that we won't use all of our power for fear of the ''I'' word -imperialism. When asked on April 28 on al-Jazeera whether the United States was ''empire building,'' Secretary of Defense

Donald Rumsfeld reacted as if he'd been asked whether he wears women's underwear. ''We don't seek empires,'' he replied huffily. ''We're not imperialistic. We never have been.'' That's a fine answer for public consumption. The problem is that it isn't true. The United States has been an empire since at least 1803, when Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory. Throughout the 19th century, what Jefferson called the ''empire of liberty'' expanded across the continent. When U.S. power stretched from ''sea to shining sea,'' the American empire moved abroad, acquiring colonies ranging from Puerto Rico and the Philippines to Hawaii and Alaska. While the formal empire mostly disappeared after World War II, the United States set out on another bout of imperialism in Germany and Japan. Oh, sorry -- that wasn't imperialism; it was ''occupation.'' But when Americans are running foreign governments, it's a distinction without a difference. Likewise, recent ''nation-building'' experiments in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan (news - web sites) are imperialism under another name. Mind you, this is not meant as a condemnation.

The history of American imperialism is hardly one of unadorned good doing; there have been plenty of shameful episodes, such as the mistreatment of the Indians. But, on the whole, U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past

century. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and Nazism and lesser
evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. Along the way, it has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea (news - web sites) and Panama. Yet, while generally
successful as imperialists, Americans have been loath to confirm that's what they were doing. That's OK. Given the historical baggage that ''imperialism'' carries, there's no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should

definitely embrace the practice. That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources; nothing could be more
destructive of our goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. It means imposing the rule of law, property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be. This will require selecting a new ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. Iran and other neighboring states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq; we shouldn't hesitate to impose our democratic views. The indications are mixed as to whether the United States is prepared to embrace its imperial role unapologetically. Rumsfeld has said that an Iranian-style theocracy ''isn't going to happen,'' and President Bush (news - web sites) has pledged to keep U.S. troops in Iraq as long as necessary to ''build a peaceful and representative government.'' After allowing a temporary power vacuum to develop, U.S. troops now are moving aggressively to put down challenges to their authority by, for example, arresting the self-declared ''mayor'' of Baghdad. That's all for the good. But there are also some worrisome signs. Bush asked for only $2.5 billion from Congress for rebuilding Iraq, even though a study from the Council on Foreign Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy estimates that $25 billion to $100 billion will be needed. Iraq's oil revenues and contributions from allies won't cover the entire shortfall. The president should be doing more to prepare the U.S. public and Congress for a costly commitment. Otherwise, Iraqis quickly could become disillusioned about the benefits of liberation. The cost of our commitment will be measured not only in money but also in troops. While Bush and Rumsfeld have wisely eschewed any talk of an early ''exit strategy,'' they still seem to think that U.S. forces won't need to stay more than two years. Rumsfeld even denied a report that the U.S. armed forces are planning to open permanent bases in Iraq. If they're not, they should be. That's the only way to ensure the security of a nascent democracy in such a rough neighborhood. Does the administration really imagine that Iraq will have turned into Switzerland in two years' time? Allied rule lasted four years in Germany and seven years in Japan. American troops remain stationed in both places more than 50 years later. That's why these two countries have become paragons of liberal democracy. It is crazy to think that Iraq -- which has less of a democratic tradition than either Germany or Japan had in 1945 -could make the leap overnight. The record of nation-building during the past decade is clear: The United States failed in Somalia and Haiti, where it pulled out troops prematurely. Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan show more promise because U.S. troops remain stationed there. Afghanistan would be making even more progress if the United States and its allies had made a bigger commitment to secure the countryside, not just Kabul. If we want Iraq to avoid becoming a Somalia on steroids,

we'd better get used to U.S. troops being deployed there for years, possibly decades, to come. If that raises hackles about American imperialism, so be it.

We're going to be called an empire whatever we do. We might as well be a successful empire .

Criticizing Western imperialism obscures more insidious practices by regional powers Shaw 2 (Martin Shaw, professor of international relations at University of Sussex, Uses and Abuses of Anti-Imperialism in the
Global Era, 4-7-2002, It is fashionable in some circles, among which we must clearly include the organizers of this conference, to argue that the global era is seeing 'a new imperialism' - that can be blamed for the problem of 'failed states' (probably among many others). Different contributors to this strand of thought name this imperialism in different ways, but novelty is clearly a critical issue. The logic of using the term imperialism is actually to establish continuity between contemporary forms of Western world power and older forms first so named by Marxist and other theorists a century ago. The last thing that critics of a new imperialism wish to allow is that Western power has changed sufficiently to invalidate the very application of this critical concept. Nor have many considered the possibility that if the concept of imperialism has a relevance today, it applies to certain

aggressive, authoritarian regimes of the non-Western world rather than to the

contemporary West.

In this paper I fully accept that there is a concentration of much world power - economic, cultural, political and military - in the hands of Western elites. In my recent book, Theory of the Global State, I discuss the development of a 'global-Western state conglomerate' (Shaw 2000). I argue that 'global' ideas and institutions, whose significance characterizes the new political era that has opened with the end of the Cold War, depend largely - but not solely - on Western power. I hold no brief and intend no apology for official Western ideas and behaviour. And yet I propose that the idea of a new

imperialism is a profoundly misleading, indeed ideological concept that obscures the realities of power and especially of empire in the twenty-first century. This notion is an obstacle to understanding the significance, extent and limits of contemporary Western power. It simultaneously serves to obscure many real causes of oppression, suffering and struggle for transformation against the quasi-imperial power of many regional states. I argue that in the global era, this

separation has finally become critical. This is for two related reasons. On the one hand, Western power has moved into new territory, largely uncharted -- and I argue unchartable -- with the critical tools of anti-imperialism. On the other hand, the politics of empire remain all too real, in classic forms that recall both modern imperialism and earlier empires, in many non-Western states, and they are revived in many political struggles today. Thus the concept of a 'new imperialism' fails to deal with

both key post-imperial features of Western power and the quasi-imperial character of many non-Western states. The concept overstates Western power and understates the dangers posed by other, more authoritarian and imperial centres of power. Politically it identifies the West as the principal enemy of the world's people, when for many of them there are far more real and dangerous enemies closer to home. I shall return to these political issues at the end of this paper.

Imperialism is good: the defeat of Nazism and the promotion of democracy are proof. Boot 3 American Imperialism? No need to run away from Label Max Boot, Senior fellow of the Council of foreign relations,
USA Today, May 6, 2003. m_fine.pdf+author:max+author:boot). Mind you, this is not meant as a condemnation. The history of American imperialism is hardly one of unadorned good doing; there have been plenty of shameful episodes, such as the mistreatment of the Indians. But, on the whole, U.S. imperialism has

been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and Nazism and lesser evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. Along the way, it has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea (news - web sites) and Panama. Yet, while generally successful as imperialists, Americans have been loath to confirm that's what they were doing. That's OK. Given the historical baggage that ''imperialism'' carries, there's no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should definitely embrace the practice . That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources; nothing could be more destructive of our goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. It means imposing the rule of law, property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be. This will require selecting a new ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. Iran and other neighboring states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq; we shouldn't hesitate to impose our democratic views.

Criticizing benevolent action on the grounds of imperialism undermines liberation of oppressed people imperialism is justified in some instances. Shaw 2 (Martin Shaw, professor of international relations at University of Sussex, Uses and Abuses of Anti-Imperialism in the
Global Era, 4-7-2002, Conclusion: The abuses of anti-imperialism It is worth asking how

the politics of anti-imperialism distorts Western leftists' responses to global struggles for justice. John Pilger, for example,

consistently seeks to minimise the crimes of Milosevic in Kosovo, and to deny their genocidal character - purely because these crimes formed part of the rationale for Western intervention against Serbia. He never attempted to minimise the crimes of the pro-Western

Suharto regime in the same way. The crimes of quasi-imperial regimes are similar in cases like Yugoslavia and Indonesia, but the West's attitudes towards them are undeniably uneven and inconsistent. To take as the criterion of one's politics opposition to Western policy, rather than the demands for justice of the victims of oppression as such, distorts our responses to the victims and our commitment to justice. We need to support the victims regardless of whether Western

governments take up their cause or not; we need to judge Western power not according to a general assumption of 'new imperialism' but according to its actual role in relation to the victims. The task for civil society in the West is not, therefore to oppose Western state policies as a matter of course, la Cold War, but to mobilise solidarity with democratic oppositions and repressed peoples, against authoritarian, quasi-imperial states. It is to demand more effective global political, legal and military institutions that genuinely and consistently defend the interests of the most threatened groups. It is to grasp the
contradictions among and within Western elites, conditionally allying themselves with internationalising elements in global institutions and Western governments, against nationalist and reactionary elements. The arrival in power of George Bush II makes this discrimination all the more urgent. In the long run, we need to develop a larger politics of global

social democracy and an ethic of global responsibility that address the profound economic, political and cultural inequalities between Western and non-Western worlds. We synthesis of a new Western imperialism.

will not move far in these directions, however, unless we grasp the life-and-death struggles between many oppressed peoples and the new local imperialisms, rather than subsuming all regional contradictions into the false

An imperialist hegemon in society is a necessity, without it our world would see civilization reduce itself to anarchic and barbaric ways of life Ferguson 4 (Niall, Prof of History at NYU Stern, Foreign Policy, A World Without Power, MAT Critics of U.S. global dominance should pause and consider the alternative. If

the United States retreats from its hegemonic role, who would supplant it? Not Europe, not China, not the Muslim worldand certainly not the United Nations. Unfortunately, the alternative to a single superpower is not a multilateral utopia, but the anarchic nightmare of a new Dark Age. We tend to assume that power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. In the history of world politics, it seems, someone is always the hegemon, or bidding to become it. Today, it is the United States; a century ago, it was the United Kingdom. Before that, it was France, Spain, and so on. The famed 19th-century German historian Leopold von Ranke, doyen of the study of statecraft, portrayed modern European history as an incessant struggle for mastery, in which a balance of power was possible only through recurrent conflict. The influence of economics on the study of diplomacy only seems to confirm the notion that history is a competition between rival powers. In his bestselling 1987 work, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military
Conflict from 1500 to 2000, Yale University historian Paul Kennedy concluded that, like all past empires, the U.S. and Russian superpowers would inevitably succumb to overstretch. But their place would soon be usurped, Kennedy argued, by the rising powers of China and Japan, both still unencumbered by the dead weight of imperial military commitments. In his 2001 book, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, University of Chicago political scientist John J. Mearsheimer updates Kennedy's account. Having failed to succumb to overstretch, and after surviving the German and Japanese challenges, he argues, the United States must now brace for the ascent of new rivals. *A+ rising China is the most dangerous potential threat to the United States in the early twenty-first century, contends Mearsheimer. *T+he United States has a profound interest in seeing Chinese economic growth slow considerably in the years ahead. China is not the only threat Mearsheimer foresees. The European Union (EU) too has the potential to become a formidable rival. Power, in other words, is not a natural monopoly; the struggle for mastery is both perennial and universal. The

unipolarity identified by some commentators following the Soviet collapse cannot last much longer, for the simple reason that history hates a hyperpower. Sooner or later, challengers will emerge, and back we must go to a multipolar, multipower world. But what if these esteemed theorists are all
wrong? What if the world is actually heading for a period when there is no hegemon? What if, instead of a balance of power, there is an absence of power? Such a situation is not unknown in history. Although the chroniclers of the past have long been preoccupied with the achievements of great powerswhether civilizations, empires, or nation-statesthey have not wholly overlooked eras when power receded. Unfortunately, the world's experience with power vacuums (eras of apolarity, if you will) is hardly encouraging. Anyone

who dislikes U.S. hegemony should bear in mind that, rather than a multipolar world of competing great powers, a world with no hegemon at all may be the real alternative to U.S. primacy. Apolarity could turn out to mean an anarchic new Dark Age: an era of waning empires and religious fanaticism; of endemic plunder and pillage in the world's forgotten regions; of economic stagnation and civilization's retreat into a few fortified enclaves.