Wundervölker, Monstrosität und Hässlichkeit im Mittelalter (German Edition)

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The challenge is to correct the Eurocentrism that has dominated slave studies by establishing the significance of specific "survivals" in historical context. The failure to study enslaved Africans in the Americas from the perspective of African history is largely a result of the way in which African history developed as a sub- discipline.

The effort to identify an autonomous African past consciously or not affected the decisions of scholars to concentrate on particular themes in African history that were divorced from the study of slavery in the Americas. This political decision separated the study of Africans in the Americas from the history of continental Africa, and Afro- American Studies or Black Studies remained virtually distinct from African Studies.

The rise of pseudo-historical Afro-centrism in this context is hardly surprising. Afro-centrism promotes an attitude that counteracts racism and emphasizes Africa's place in the Americas and other parts of the diaspora. But Afrocentrism has denied itself the rigors of historical methodology. The revisionist approach to the study of religion, ethnicity and culture in the Americas corrects this ahistoricism by emphasizing African history; the evolution of slave cultures in the Americas was tied to a specific set of African contexts that must be analyzed historically.

The context of enslavement and the experiences of slaves in Africa before deportation to the Americas then become relevant. If African history holds the key to the diaspora, then the study of the diaspora must begin in Africa, not in the Americas or elsewhere. The African diaspora has to be dissected in its entirety.

The personal histories of individual enslaved Africans then have to be examined for historical patterns that stem from Africa. By examining the African history of the trade, the focus shifts. Instead of focussing on the Americas, the method follows cohorts of slaves from Africa to the various places in the diaspora to which they might have gone, whether in the Americas, Islamic North Africa, or elsewhere in Africa.

Inevitably, a focus on the Americas selects slaves that were assembled in each slave economy Jamaica, Bahia, Cuba, etc. The study of slave culture from this American context emphasizes the common features of society and thereby focussing on "creolization;" the origins of individual slaves are ambiguous and generalized. By contrast, slaves can be followed from the different parts of Africa by extrapolating from known shipping records, verifying such data in the Americas.

This approach balances the homogenizing tendency of the creolization model. African History in the Americas The contributions of anthropologists aside, it is time to add an historical perspective that is rooted in African history to the examination of slavery in the Americas. The slave trade and the movement of identifiable groups of people have to be tied to specific historical events and processes in Africa, and it must be demonstrated what was and what was not transferred to the Americas.

From this perspective, specific historical circumstances determined who was exported and who was not, and these circumstances might well have influenced who was active in promoting adjustments under slavery and preserving knowledge of Africa. The different reasons for enslavement have to be distinguished as crucial variables in determining what factors were important to the enslaved population. Whether an individual became a slave as a result of war, famine, commercial bankruptcy, judicial punishment, or religious persecution mattered.

The conscious deportation of political prisoners has to be distinguished from impersonal transactions in the fairs and market-places of Africa. Instances of "mistakes" need to be documented as a means of determining why individuals ended up in the Americas or North Africa who legally should not have been so enslaved.

Such examples include arbitrary alterations in the terms and conditions of pawnship, failure to ransom kidnapped victims, and "panyarring", i. I am suggesting that the methodologies and research results of the past several decades of Africanist history can be used much more effectively in the examination of the conditions of slaves in the Americas than has been the case until now. In the process of applying these methodologies and research results, we will also know more about the history of Africa itself. Specifically, because it is now possible to say much more about the identities of the enslaved people who were brought to the Americas from Africa, we can now see the slaves of the Americas as not just an enslaved black population but also as Africans who constituted a displaced population that behaved in ways that were similar to other displaced people at other times.

The fact that people were forcibly transported from Africa in the case of slaves should not disguise the similarity with other migrations. By comparing the movement of slaves across the Atlantic with other trans-Atlantic migrations, it is possible to see Africans as active agents in reformulating their cultural and social identities in the Americas, despite the oppressive setting to which they were subjugated.

The issue of agency is important in unravelling the history of Africans outside of Africa. Scholars have taken the conscious actions of slaves into consideration in studying slave resistance, even extending their analyses to the ethnic origins of those involved in revolt and marronage. The extent to which specific historical situations influenced this resistance has not been explored sufficiently, however.

The study of religion, cultural expression including music, cuisine, naming patterns, etc. Much more so than previously, these aspects of slave culture are not perceived as "survivals" but rather as features of conscious and not-so-conscious decisions by people themselves in selecting from their collective experiences those cultural and historical antecedents that helped make sense of the cruelty of slavery in the Americas.

While many slaves were brutalized to the extent that they died without entering into meaningful and sustainable forms of social and cultural interaction with their compatriots, many other slaves more or less successfully re-established communities, reformulated their sense of identity, and reinterpreted ethnicity under slavery and freedom in the Americas. More than simply the foundation for individual and collective acts of resistance, these expressions of agency involved the transfer and adaptation of the contemporary world of Africa to the Americas and were NOT mere "survivals" of some diluted African past.

Despite the "social death" of which Orlando Patterson speaks,19 slaves created a new social world that drew on the known African experience. Certainly the horrors of enslavement, the rough march to coastal ports and the trauma of the Middle Passage affected the psychological and medical health of the enslaved population, but not to the extent imagined by Elkins, at least not in most cases. While their resurrection from Patterson's "social death" was distorted by chattel slavery, many enslaved Africans were none the less fit enough to participate in the " Years' War" of which Patterson also writes.

I am not here suggesting that enslaved blacks conceived of themselves in pan-African terms of recent times; the evolution of such solidarity has to be examined historically for different times and different places. Rather, I am arguing that many slaves in the Americas, perhaps the great majority, interpreted their lived experiences in terms of their personal histories, as anyone would, and in that sense the African side of the Atlantic continued to have meaning.

Often slaves, former slaves, and their descendants still regarded themselves as Africans -- in the broad sense that they had come from Africa, no matter whether they reinterpreted that identity in reformulated ethnic terms Nago, Coramantee, Mandingo, Pawpaw, etc. Efforts to return to Africa by boat or by joining the world of the ancestors through suicide have special meaning in this sense. They are perhaps the starkest examples of the continued association with Africa for some slaves. The process of creolization comes much more in focus when the merger of cultures -- European and African -- is perceived in terms that are more equal than is often the case.

The Africa that entered the creole mentality was neither static nor ossified. This anthropological approach explores the formulation of distinct societies in the context of slavery; current research is adding an historical perspective to this analysis.

Slavery and religion - Wikipedia

For many slaves in the Americas, Africa continued to live in their daily lives. That experience included a struggle to adapt to slavery in the Americas and to re-interpret cultural values and religious practices in context, but frequently maintaining a clear vision of the African past and more than a fleeting knowledge of developments in Africa after arrival in the Americas. Only when fresh arrivals stopped coming from a specific homeland did the process of creolization take root. Problems of Methodology As I have suggested, enslaved Africans sometimes interpreted their American experience in terms of the contemporary world of Africa, and consequently, efforts to understand their situation in the Americas has to take full cognizance of the political, economic and social conditions in those parts of Africa from where the individual slaves had actually come.

That is, the conditions of slavery were shaped to a considerable extent by the personal experiences and backgrounds of the slaves themselves. They brought with them the intellectual and cultural lens through which they viewed their new lives in the Americas, and they made sense out of their oppression through reference to Africa as well as the shared conditions of auction block, mine and plantation. How to get at this carry-over of experience presents difficulties for historians and other scholars, but there is no reason to doubt that there was a transfer of experience, any more than was the case with other immigrants, whether voluntary or involuntary.

As a first approximation, it is essential to unravel the complicated and often incompletely-known movement of individuals from point of enslavement to coastal port and from there to the different parts of the Americas. This exercise includes a study of the demography of the trade, an effort which has made considerable advances in the past 25 years, since the pioneering study of Philip D. The correlation of these quantifiable data with local political events and economic factors in broad outline is now possible as well.

What demographic analysis can do, however, is contribute to our knowledge of the regional and ethnic origins of the exported slave population. Statistical data are therefore useful in determining why, when and how individuals were enslaved and indirectly may assist in revealing what aspects of personal experience were important to slaves in the Americas.

Although not all contemporary events in Africa continued to have meaning to people once they arrived in the Americas, the reasons for enslavement and deportation almost certainly did. This approach can help in understanding not only where individual slaves came from and how they were enslaved but also can assist in analyzing the process by which individuals formed new communities and new identities under slavery.

The first task is the assignment of all historians of Africa and clearly does not only relate to the study of slavery and the slave trade. Indeed, the relative importance of trans- Atlantic slavery is subject to debate in the study of the African past. For scholars of slavery in the Americas who seldom venture across the Atlantic to the homeland, the rapid and voluminous changes in documentation and analysis are a special problem.

It is hard enough staying abreast of advances in any area of specialization, and crossing the Atlantic to look closely at African history is a big task. But difficulties duly considered, it is fully as important to keep abreast of advances in African history as in European history.

The proper study of slavery in the Americas requires the study of two, overlapping diasporas -- European and African -- and their inter-relationships with their home cultures and societies and with each other. The methodology that is required to uncover the active linkages between Africa and the Americas must begin with a comprehensive knowledge of African history.

Then the same historical techniques must be applied in reconstructing the past of Africans who were forcibly moved to the Americas as in the migration of Europeans into their diaspora. It is a sad comment on the state of slave studies in the Americas that this common sense is often ignored. Some of the best scholarship makes assumptions about the African past that abuse standard historical methodology; including the central importance of chronology, the examination of change over time, the critique of all available source material, the insistence that later events and phenomena not be read back into the distant past, and other aspects of the discipline that are or should be taught in virtually every introductory history course.

In defiance of these fundamental principles of historical scholarship, slave studies are too often imbued with ahistorical generalizations about the nature of the African past. Raboteau identified the problem as unavoidable because of a lack of sources "for writing the history of nonliterate cultures. Breakthroughs in technology that allow the scanning of primary documents onto the computer suggest that the problem will soon be an excessive quantity of material from archives that many specialists have never been able to consult.

The question of biased sources is a problem common to all historical research, and hence Raboteau's comments on the ethnocentrism of European sources are not unique to the study of the African diaspora. The technique that many scholars have adopted in overcoming the supposed paucity of sources is the application of anthropological observations from the twentieth century to the past. Without the verification of contemporary documents, the findings of anthropology are nothing more than speculation. Unfortunately, specialists of slavery in the America generally have failed to document their analysis of religion and culture on the basis of the lived experiences of the enslaved Africans themselves.

A critical examination of the condition of slaves must begin in Africa, and that examination must use the same rigorous historical methodology that characterizes other areas of history. To simply use current ethnological accounts of African religions without taking into account the possibility of change is methodologically questionable. Due to pressures from without -- intensified Muslim and Christian missions, European imperialism, Western technology and education -- the growth of African nationalism during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, African traditional religions have changed and continued to do so Besides external pressures to change, there are also indigenous processes of change within traditional African societies themselves Nor has there been any serious attempt to demonstrate how religion was related to ideology and political structure.

Instead, the concept of "traditional African religion" has been presented as an unchanging force that was all-embracing over vast parts of the continent; observations from a variety of sources are merged to fabricate a common tradition that may or may not have had legitimacy. Hence the concept "traditional" has little functional or analytical use. Unlike the study of "traditional" African religion, the conversion of slaves to Christianity in the Americas has been the subject of extensive research. Consequently, scholarly analysis has not been prone to ahistorical generalization, except with respect to the African background.

As Thornton has demonstrated, some Africans from Kongo and Angola were already Christian before reaching the Americas, and hence enslaved Christians were also a factor in spreading the faith among slaves in the Americas. Moreover, the context for analyzing the conversion to Christianity includes Africa as well as Europe and the Americas. Clearly the complexities of African religious history are blurred because there has been little research done on this important topic. The possible exception is the study of Islam among slaves, where the historical context of enslavement has sometimes been identified with concurrent political developments in West Africa.

Another area of analysis that is particularly fraught with ahistorical generalizations concerns issues relating to ethnicity.

Twentieth-century ethnic categories in Africa are often read backwards to the days of slavery, thereby removing ethnic identity from its contemporary political and social context. Michael Mullin, for example, is certainly correct in noting that "tribal" is no longer "good form", but not for reasons he supposes, and certainly "ethnicity" is not "a euphemism for tribal", as he claims. By contrast, Gwendolyn Hall's account of Africans in colonial Louisiana traces the movement of a core group of Bambara from Africa to Louisiana, although for whatever reasons, Hall has not been able to carry her findings forward very far.

To answer this question requires a detailed study of how the term "Bambara" was used in different contexts at the time, not only in Louisiana but also in other parts of the diaspora and in West Africa. Since specific ethnic identifications had meaning only in relation to other ethnic categories, their importance has to be examined with reference to the boundaries that separated different ethnic categories from each other, including the political, religious, and economic dimensions of these differences and how these changed over time.

Certainly historical associations with Africa were also essential features of these definitions of community, and rather than being static, the links with Africa were seldom disconnected from events across the Atlantic. Ethnicity underwent redefinition in the Americas. On the one hand, European observers developed categories for African populations which involve problems of interpretation: The "Chamba" of slave accounts refers to the Konkomba of the upper Voltaic region, not the Chamba of the Benue River basin in Nigeria; Gbari are an ethnic group referred to as Gwari by Hausa-speakers, but Gambari is a Yoruba term for Hausa; Nago is a sub- section of Yoruba speakers but was sometimes used as a generic term for Yoruba; Tapa refers to Nupe.

These labels had meanings that have to be deciphered in context.

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In the Sokoto Caliphate, conversion to Islam often meant becoming Hausa, which became the language of commerce and empire. Hence the recognition of Hausa-speakers in the diaspora does not necessarily establish that these "Hausa" have much in common with twentieth-century "Hausa", since many probably were non-Hausa in origin. The imposition of European labels for African populations further compounds the problem, since these were not necessarily the names used by enslaved Africans themselves. Ethnicity, religion and culture of the enslaved population kept changing.

Before the abolition of the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans, new slaves were constantly arriving and thereby infusing slave communities with new information and ideas which had to be assimilated in ways that we do not always understand at present. The movements of former slaves, both before British abolition and especially afterwards, continued these contacts. Being "Nago" in Bahia in the early nineteenth century was not the same as being "Yoruba" in West Africa, but uncovering the difference and what was meant by these labels at the time is a major task whose undertaking must inform any analysis of the slave condition.

Resistance to Slavery and the Abolition Movement While the African dimension has sometimes been emphasized in the analysis of slave resistance in the Americas, the study of resistance is too often divorced from a study of the abolition movement. The emphasis on African history that is being advocated here suggests that these two subjects should be treated together; the preliminary work on the ethnic component in slave resistance should now be supplemented with an investigation of the role that Africans played in the abolition movement and the spread of anti-slavery doctrines.

Once more the issue of agency and the African background are paramount. Resistance and abolition must be re-examined in the light of the additional research being conducted in Africa and after renewed consideration of methodological issues arising from the interpretation of new data. The study of the African component of slave resistance may appear to be the exception to the general state of slave studies, which has tended to pay more attention to the European influences on the Americas rather than the continuities with African history.


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Palmares is identified as an "African" kingdom in Brazil; an early and important example of the quilombos and palenques of Latin America which also often revealed a strong African link. In this, Klein was speaking for most of his colleagues in those years. After a few years in which the progress made in the last years of colonialism continued, newly independent states found themselves running into both political and economic trouble, some of which had been predicted by colonialists.

The horrors of Partition in the Indian subcontinent, followed by continuing political turmoil in Pakistan, unending disputes over the status of Kashmir, military dictatorship in Burma, developmental frustrations in all the South Asian successor states, and the even greater political and economic disasters in Africa led in the course of the s and s to a general mood of disillusion.

The era of wars waged by European states against independence movements was succeeded by an even more calamitous era of postcolonial wars, some interstate but most civil, encompassing Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, and most of the other African states, as well as Pakistan, Burma, and India, which experienced several insurgencies. Silvard, World Military and Social Expenditures, 16th ed. Washington, D. See also James D. Fearon and David D. Even in India, where democracy and the rule of law had been maintained and some grounds for satisfaction existed, a slowdown in economic growth combined with a political deadlock leading to Indira Gandhi's resort to a state of emergency brought disappointment to the fore in the academic and even public mood.

What, it was asked over and over throughout most of the former European empires, had gone wrong? Why had the end of colonialism not yielded better results? One way out of the dilemma was to locate the source of these problems outside the control of the new states and their peoples. Decolonization, it was suggested, had brought not a clean slate, but one deeply scarred and pitted.

Worse than that, it was not an empty dish. What shone upon its supposedly golden surface was not the reflection of new ideas and ways of liberation, but the shadows of old ideas and ways of servitude. Postcolonialist historiography as it developed presented an expanding list of reasons for this letdown. Colonialism, Davidson and others argued in the s, had left an inheritance that undermined, even doomed, efforts at solidifying national cohesion, at making a democratic and constitutional politics work, and at moving the mass of the people out of poverty.

New nations had been crippled at their birth by the continuing institutions, arrangements, and culture of their colonizers. Neither exploitative economic structures nor hierarchical and Eurocentric educational and cultural institutions were easily remolded to more beneficial ends. Colonialism's legacy, in short, was a tightly spun spider's web in which new nations thrashed about, finding their freedom of action far more constrained than they had expected. Political independence, they and others contended in the later s and through the s, made little difference when the true levers of power were economic, and remained firmly in the hands of international capitalists and the Western states that served them.

Cockcroft, ed. Rather than being a force for modernization, as it had seen itself, colonialism, it was argued, had ensured a lack of modernization in crucial areas. Edward Said's Orientalism , published in , had an almost immediate impact, in part because it synthesized ideas from such figures as Foucault and Fanon, while speaking directly to a pressing practical need of its readers. The central message taken from that work was that colonialism's psychological and cultural exploitation had been even more harmful than economic exploitation, particularly in its pejorative representation of its subjects and its employment of such representation to more effectively control them through their internalization of this representation.

That the moment was ripe for such a move from economics to mentalite was evident in the simultaneous publication in Britain of Bryan S. And just as the structures of economic exploitation could continue after independence, so could structures of psychic exploitation, in a kind of neocolonialism of the mind. During the following decade the Saidian paradigm rapidly advanced in Western universities and, as more and more Third World students came to study in these universities, among the scholars and intellectuals of postcolonial societies. Then the collapse of Soviet Communism gave fresh life to the concept of neocolonialism, now represented by a newly unchecked United States and the international agencies, like the IMF and the World Bank, that were seen as its agents.

What George H. Over time, the persistent tracing of postcolonial problems to colonial origins, whether in a nationalist, Marxist, or culturalist form, has reshaped the historiography of colonialism. One stream of such thinking focused on South Asia, another on Africa. Despite the great differences between these locales, the literature on both has shared similar characterizations of problems and of their origins. British imperialism proved highly divisive and corroded the syncretic cultural identity out of which a more integrated Indian national identity might have been shaped.

This divisiveness, though not always intentional, nonetheless forms part of the logic of empire. Even the pragmatic and tolerant British reluctance to interfere in matters deemed religious was seen as a policy of strengthening conservative religious authorities and ultimately communal divisions. Moreover, it was argued that as they became more fearful in the course of the nineteenth century of transnational Islamism, the British deliberately encouraged Hindus to think of their history as one of centuries of Muslim oppression only ended by British intervention.

Nationalist historians, more or less, continued that theme by casting the late Mughal, if not the entirety of Muslim history in India, as the medieval Dark Ages. At the same time, the British were supposedly stoking Muslim fears of Hindu domination, and emphasizing their need for British protection. Pandey drew together Foucault's ideas on the intimate relations between power and knowledge, Said's notion of orientalism, and Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, and joined Chatterjee in criticizing Indian nationalism, the ideological basis of much of the previous scholarly generation's work, as itself deeply infected by pernicious colonial imaginings of India.

In the same way that Pandey approached communalism as in good measure a product of British colonialism, Dirks examined the introduction and solidification by the colonial rulers of the modern notion of caste. In writings through the s and in his book, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, he argued that, rather than being a basic expression of Indian tradition, caste was a modern phenomenon—the product of a specific historical encounter between India and British colonial rule.

Of course, caste had not been created by the British. But under British domination, he argued, caste, which had been a widely varying social institution, became a single term capable of naming and above all subsuming India's diverse forms of social identity and organization, making possible the rise of caste politics in the twentieth century.

My italics. Almost everything colonial officials did to preserve and protect existing African societies, it was repeatedly claimed, was aimed at sharpening the difference between rulers and subjects, and the differences between subjects themselves, in order to facilitate rule. The theme of Crowder's important early work, West Africa Under Colonial Rule Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, , was that colonialism was in the main exploitative and it had a distorting influence on the political development of the former colonial territories.

A Kenyan scholar working in the Netherlands, Antony Otieno Ong'ayo, claimed that the widespread postelection violence in his nation owed much to legal systems inherited from the British that worked against the establishment of accountable government. The most prominent recent exponent of this interpretation, the political scientist Mahmood Mamdani, has with great rhetorical force traced nearly all current African problems to colonialism. In Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism , perhaps the single most influential work of recent years on Africa, Mamdani used Uganda and South Africa as examples of the broader traditionalizing effort carried out more generally by colonial authorities in Africa.

Mamdani has been enormously influential. Instead of citizens, throughout rural Africa only subjects were created, subjects further divided against each other by ethnicity and sometimes also religion, ill prepared to participate as citizens in the modern states that have succeeded colonialism. As the British had in India made caste essential, so they, and other Europeans following their example, made tribes the fundamental African reality; as the British had built up the authority of Brahmins and other elite castes, they similarly empowered African chiefs over their people, and some tribes over others.

Mamdani drew on this model of colonial powers expanding and distorting traditional divisions among the colonized to offer an explanation of the Rwandan genocide. In When Victims Become Killers , he traced the genocide to Belgian elevation of existing contingent social divisions into historic tribal and racial categories. Building their rule on supposedly traditional Tutsi domination of Hutus, the Belgians, in his view, set the stage for the venomous hatreds and resentments that were to culminate long after their departure in mass murder on a colossal scale.

A political scientist, Mamdani seems to have felt little hesitation about expanding his arguments from his native Uganda to the entire continent, even as specialists recorded their doubts about these arguments. Even Zimbabwe's troubles he blamed on colonialism: in a long essay in the London Review of Books Mamdani insisted that the real issue there was not Mugabe, but the legacy of colonial rule.

In this article, the basic politics underlying all of Mamdani's scholarship appears in a form less guarded than in his books. When one boils away the accidents of personality, in his view, the fundamental problems of Africa were traceable to its colonial history and to be blamed on its former masters. Postcolonial histories of Africa have emphasized the comparative peaceableness of precolonial African village communities. Violence has been portrayed as arising chiefly from the European and to a lesser degree, Ottoman demand for slaves.

Violence has also been traced more generally to Western colonial incursions, with the violence reported by explorers, missionaries, and early traders reinterpreted as either their projection of their own violent behavior or the result of their activities in altering these societies.

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Brian Ferguson and Neil L. Whitehead, eds. This line was taken most dramatically in South African historiography, where history and contemporary politics were particularly closely entwined. As Terence Ranger quipped, Cobbing removed the arrows from mfecane maps, only to refigure them with new arrows pointing in different directions. The US currently lacks the soldiers to do it alone; therefore, allied forces are likely to ease the strain Mann, Social norms have changed. Imperial acquisitions, unlike in the time of the British Empire are seen as illegitimate and unsustainable.

However, to label this economic power as a form of empire risks overlooking the unique, historical and social nature of the US as a modern capitalist state rather than an imperial state Wade, For example, although the US is arguably the single, most dominant power in the world economically, it does not constitute an empire. It must take these blocs into account through consensus and persuasion, rather than coercion, as the dominant actor, which demonstrates its hegemonic, rather than imperial qualities.

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Similarly, despite the size of the US economy, it is arguably a declining hegemon, in relative terms. This can be demonstrated by the rise of the EU, which is able to speak as a unitary actor in trade negotiations and thus, if it wants to, it can disagree with the US in a way that was not possible a few decades ago. Likewise, the rise of China has brought with it danger as they continue to acquire US debt due to American consumption of Chinese goods. Thus, despite the vast size of the US economy, it cannot be dubbed imperial due to a large amount of its assets in the hands of another great power and the competition from rival blocs.

Fundamentally, empires do not come cheap. Hence the rapidly deteriorating budgetary position in the US means that it simply cannot afford such foreign adventures despite the scale of the US economy Beeson, Thus, Iraq is likely to be the exception that proves the rule. This commitment to democracy makes imperial rule very hard to justify and equally hard to manage Walzer, Furthermore, its ability to enforce its ideological power is questionable.