The heart of empire? Theorizing US empire in an era of transnational capitalism
- Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Contemporary critical theorising on US Empire tends to diverge in two ways. First, more traditional approaches tend to foreground the national basis of the USA's imperial project and the subsequent ongoing inter-imperial rivalry inherent between rival capitalist states and regions. A second ‘global-capitalist’ approach rejects the notion of US Empire and instead posits the transcendence of a nationally based imperialism in favour of an increasingly transnationally orientated state and global ruling class. I argue that both accounts fail in their singularity to capture the nature and role of the US state within a global political economy. Instead, I argue that the US state has long been both subject to and demonstrative of a dual national and transnational structural logic that seeks to enhance US national interests while reproducing a world order favourable for global capital as a whole. Crucially, the end of the Cold War and the terrorist attacks on 9/11 have exacerbated the tensions between these dual logics; these will potentially affect both the hegemony of American Empire and the future of international relations in profound ways.