Synopses & Reviews
The United States victory in the Cold War in 1991 led to triumphalist claims that humanity had reached the end of history,” and that Washington would enjoy everlasting supremacy. Some years later, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called America the indispensable nation.” And a senior aide to President George W. Bush crowed: We are an empire now.”
But by invading Iraq, Bush irreparably undermined U.S. credibility worldwide. And by curtailing Americans civil liberties in the name of waging an endless war on terror,” and resorting to torture in the prisons of occupied Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, his administrationas well as Americalost its claim to a moral high ground. Moreover, the 2008-2009 global fiscal meltdown, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis on Wall Street, exposed a stark fact: The heavily indebted America had ceased to be the financial behemoth it had been since World War II.
After Empire sketches the contours of a complex world system emerging during the late imperial phase of the U.S. It examines, critically, the events that prepared the ground for the world to move from the tutelage of the sole superpower, America, to a multipolar, post-imperial global order. Refreshingly, it does so from a distinctly non-Western perspective.
Unlike other scholars, Dilip Hiroone of the worlds leading experts on the geopolitics of hydrocarbons as well as the Middle East and South and Central Asiadoes not offer a comforting thesis that the U.S. is quite capable of accommodating the rising world powers like China, Russia, India, and the European Union while retaining its dominant position at the table.
Neither does he frame global politics in a Manichean wayAmerica versus China; the West against Asia. The world, he suggests, is set to revisit the pre-World War I Europe, where rulers frequently changed allies and adversaries to achieve the shared aim of keeping the continent free of an overarching powerto date, a privilege enjoyed globally by America.
With more than two trillion dollars in its foreign reserves, Chinas state-owned corporations are busily buying up companies worldwide. By surpassing Saudi Arabia in its oil output, Russia, the number one producer of natural gas, is now the worlds foremost producer of hydrocarbons. Its nuclear arsenal is on par with Americas. Elsewhere the hydrocarbon-rich nations of Venezuela and Iran are challenging the Washington-dominated status quo respectively in South America and the Middle East. Already, the 27-nation European Union of nearly 500 million has surpassed America as the globes largest trading entity, and the euro has emerged as a strong rival to the U.S. dollar as a dominant reserve currency.
After Empire is realistic and nuanced in its assessment of global politics. Shorn of an ideological bias or a soft corner for America, it abounds in unsettling and stimulating insights on politics, history, hard and soft power, political economy and democracy.
Dilip Hiro writes from an unabashedly un-American point of view. It is arresting to see a familiar object assume an unfamiliar shape.”
Typically, a Hiro book is a dispassionate chronicle that refuses to take sides, letting facts speak for themselves
His challenging, even contrarian account of it [a multipolar world] should be required reading not just for the British Foreign Office, but among foreign ministries more generally .”
A leading analyst of world affairs argues that from the ruins of American foreign policy will come the balance of 19th-century power politics
American corporations have to beg for capital from the cash-rich Sovereign Wealth Funds in the Persian Gulf. By invading Iraq, President George W. Bush grossly undermined American credibility in the international arena and irrevocably weakened Washingtons diplomatic clout.
Together, these historic shifts have provided an opportunity for the world to move from the tutelage of the sole superpower, America, to a multi-polar global order, one where Americas moral, economic, and military leadership will be profoundly challenged.
What form will this world resemble? What are the perils and promises of this new power order? In After Empire, Dilip Hiro provides a realistic, challenging, and nuanced look at the emerging power politics of the coming century and considers how they are going to turn our world upside-down.
[Hiros] challenging, even contrarian account of [a multipolar, multivalent world] should be required reading.” Financial Times
About the Author
Dilip Hiro is one of the worlds leading experts on Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, and Islamic affairs and has written many books including the classic history of the Iran-Iraq war, The Longest War, the national bestseller, Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm, and the acclaimed history of oil and politics, Blood of the Earth. He contributes regularly to The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Observer, The Nation, Los Angeles Times, Salon and TomDispatch, and is a commentator for CNN and the BBC. He lives in London.