The America Empire?
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.29, pp. 39-89
- 미국(United States); 제권(imperium); 패권(hegemony); 제국주의(Imperialism); 브레튼우즈 체제(Bretton Woods System); 제국(empire)
- This paper takes an indirect route to the debate about whether the United States is an empire or no 1. It asks what kinds of power America holds today, and to what objectives the power is mobilized. In this perspective, the U. S. enjoys not only military and economic supremacy in addition to cultural attraction but also pervasive institutional authority, such as its dominant voice in the International Monetary Fund. And it has followed a defense strategy designed to preserve its supremacy by keeping international relations in hierarchical structures. Supreme power and hierarchical structures are in fact the constituent parts of empire. Empire is not used here as a political rhetoric but an analytical tool. Defining the concept of empire, political scientists, not to mention historians, have too often focusεd on the types of asymmetrical relationship among different polities, which always vary depending on conditions and needs. Since the middle ages, however, the word has consistently referred to a power dominating other powers, indicating the nature and purpose of asymmetrical relationship which involves supreme power and hierarchical structures. In this sense, the United States is the first world empire in human history. And it may be characterized not simply by capitalist imperialism but also by distinctive liberalism.