Dilemmas of Domination
The Unmaking of the American Empire

Bello, Walden
Publisher:  Metropolitan Books
Year Published:  2005
Pages:  256pp   Library of Congress Number:  HF1455.B377 2004   Dewey:  337.73--dc22
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX11596

Argues that in a not-too-distant future the American empire's hidden weaknesses will pose fatal challenges to American supremacy.

The idea of American imperialism and unilateralism has been receiving a great deal of attention in the post-September 11 world. Sympathy for the United States in the aftermath of the attacks has gradually been supplanted by increasing concern about the United States and its aggressive economic and political policies. This book sets out to examine these grievances and argues that America as an empire is more vulnerable than is commonly thought.

Walden Bello outlines his analysis of the myth of America's invincibility through eight chapters that cover three specific issues.

The first issue Bello points to is a crisis of overproduction in which global capitalism led by the United States diminishes the growth of the industrial sector, and the primary drive for profit shifts to global financial speculation.

Another major theme Bello presents is the crisis of overextension in the American empire where resources are overstretched as the nation is involved in too many global conflicts.

The third theme is the crisis of legitimacy and the role of ideology in maintaining social order both domestically and abroad. However, legitimacy is in decline as multilateral organizations backed by the United States such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization impose greater poverty and inequalities on individuals and nations. Democracy itself is challenged through American foreign policy, where democratic leadership has been subverted in favour of authoritarian regimes.

Bello refutes the notion that the United States has no visible weaknesses and is invincible. Rather he challenges the reader to look critically at aspects like economy, ideology, legitimacy and imperialism to reveal the true state of America. The vulnerability of the empire, he says, is due to the overextension of its resources to secure strategic footholds globally but also the issue of capitalism itself in increasing poverty and underdevelopment in many countries. This Bello maintains is the weak point of the American empire and one that continually undermines it as a model for a democratic state.

Abstract by Purushoth Saravana

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