Empire has had a long and troubled career in U.S. politics and culture–and the old angst is still very much with us. Over the last decade or so we have heard the familiar refrain adamantly denying the existence of an American empire, even as some have insisted just as adamantly on the reality or at least the possibility of an American empire. We embarked on our study of the four U.S. wars in Asia with no intention of getting mixed up in what seemed a tired, unproductive debate. We had our hands full working out the contours of our wars and tracing the relationship of each to the others.
American leaders still crave international leadership. But the time for sweet dreams of a U.S. era in Asia is over.
Michael Hunt on how the United States’ exit from Afghanistan might seem similar to some past tricky military retreats.
Developments over the last month or so have put the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan under a dark cloud. The McChrystal affair and the WikiLeaks revelations are symptomatic of deeper troubles: the rapid bankruptcy of counterinsurgency, a surge in U.S. casualties, the persistently problematic role of Pakistan, the continued immobility of the Karzai regime, the sluggish …