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rickymoz's Journal: "After the Empire" by Emmanuel Todd (book review, part I)

Journal by rickymoz

I've come across a very interesting book that sheds some light on what's happening right now in the USA. I hope that the mere American Flag at top of this article won't have the same effect like it had in my previous entry about the USA: it just attracted like a magnet two or three American patriots, bringing in fact one only argument: "we are the best, the greatest and you won't stop us doing what we want to do".

The book I'm reading has the following data:

"Après l'Empire" (After the Empire) by Emmanuel Todd
Subtitle: "Essai sur la décomposition du système américain" (Essay about the decomposition of the American system).
Publisher: Gallimard, 2002
ISBN: 2-07-076710-8

I've just finished reading the first chapter, which is what he calls the "opening" of the book. One would just call that an introduction but I won't be picky on the words here.

He presents his thesis. Here it is in a few points:

The USA

  • The USA are the basis of modern democracy and liberty
  • They have developped their economyin the 19th and beginning of the 20th century based on immigration from the "corrupted" Europe, who brought manpower and capital
  • Until Pearl Harbour, the USA based it's policy on the fact that it's far away from Europe and doesn't rely on anything else than themselves

About war and peace

  • The 20th Century was aiming to turn down oligarchies, dictatorships, communism... anything which was not democratic. And that was a good thing.
  • The USA took the most important role in this endeavour
  • Now most of the countries are becoming democratic. There are still a very few "rogue states", which Todd considers as really minor actors and as not being a threat

The double change

  • The USA is no longer a country that doesn't need to rely on other countries.
  • It needs resources from all over the world
  • Democratic values in the USA are starting to decline
  • The USA is becoming an oligarchy

So basically - and this is really frightening - he is saying that since the USA is no longer auto-suficient, since it needs ressources from outside, and since the threats of undemocratic states are declining, they need to set up and maintain a situation of FUD about some minor states. So it changed its role: from the peace-generating country, it's now becoming the war-generating country.

Todd however thinks that there's no need to be alarmed by the US Army: the "rogue states" as defined by the USA are so minor that this proves that they are no longer able to fight a bigger power. Take North-Korea: South Korea told they are not feeling threated by their Neighboring country. How can the USA claim they are? Same for Iran who claims he sees no problem with Iraq.

Ok, let's see what the remaining 200 pages of this book contain. That will be part II of this review, with more personal comments, since right now, I don't have enough material for personal argumentation.

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"After the Empire" by Emmanuel Todd (book review, part I)

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