How Does the U.S. Exercise Power Around the World?

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Vijay Prashad is a leading historian on the Global South and U.S. empire. His books include Washington Bullets, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World and most recently The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power, which features Prashad in dialogue with Noam Chomsky. Today, he joins editor in chief Nathan J. Robinson for a spirited conversation on U.S. foreign policy. The discussion covers, among other things:

  • Why the U.S. left has an obligation to pay attention to the way U.S. power operates abroad
  • The total lack of any accountability for the criminal wars waged by the U.S. and our lack of interest in applying the legal standards of the Nuremberg tribunals to ourselves
  • How every rival power is always characterized as monstrous, bent on world domination, and impossible to reason with
  • Why the term "American empire" is useful and how American imperialism is similar to and different from other kinds of imperialism
  • How the U.S. operates internationally like a mafia godfather—and why the comparison might actually be unfair to the Mafia, who are more inclined toward diplomatic solutions

"No country in the world has through its wars killed the number of people that the United States has killed in the last 35 odd years. And yet in the U.S. you sound insane to say: Why didn't we have Donald Rumsfeld give testimony at the ICC? Or why not ask George W. Bush to at least stand up and stop painting his ridiculous paintings and reflect a little on having conducted that war? There's just no space in public discourse for that kind of thing. In Nuremberg, there was the death penalty for a war of aggression. But the poison pen of Nuremberg is for others. It's not for the United States. I think that's the responsibility of intellectuals is to not allow amnesia to set in around these really quite consequential issues—consequential not only for the Iraqis, I must say, but also for the U.S. veterans who continue to be haunted by that war." Vijay Prashad

An article on the Clintons and Haiti can be found here. The Robinson/Chomsky article on China is here and the one on Afghanistan is here.

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