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By Colin Mooers

Within the aftermath of the occasions of September eleven, 2001, and the following invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, there looks a shift clear of multilateralism, the inviolability of nation sovereignty and the rule of thumb of overseas legislation. This extensive and wide-ranging choice of articles significantly examines the most highbrow justifications for the shift.

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But when all is said and done the desocialization of democracy is the really crucial anti-democratic strategy, more important in the end than any electoral devices. The whole point of this strategy is to put formal political rights in place of any social rights, and to put as much of social life as possible out of reach of democratic accountability. That is exactly what has happened in Iraq, where the parameters of democratic politics were set long before the election by Paul Bremer’s economic directives and privatization programme.

47 The world cannot be recast according to this eschatological self-image, reiterated in Tocqueville’s expression as “perpetual . . 48 The whole world cannot be made exceptional, and most of us non-Americans, Europeans and Arabs alike, would rather settle for humbler aspirations. NOTES 1. A contrastive reading of the Founding Fathers and of the course of US policies at home and abroad is offered by Gore Vidal, Inventing the Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).

Seems to be adopting a classic strategy of a rogue state, a strategy of intimidation by irresponsibility, which is illsuited to a country of continental proportions. This strategy might indeed sway Europeans with regard to smaller but peculiarly aggressive countries like Israel, but was inappropriate for the dispassion that one would ordinarily associate with more mature empires which, when truly imperial, tend to be cosmopolitan rather than provincial in outlook. Such empires might be and are indeed often muscular, but are normally capable of managing ecumenical diversity without recourse to shrillness.

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