American imperialism is a term used to designate, in the critical and polemical manner, the influence of the United States in the political, military, economic and cultural areas globally. These terms generally imply disapproval, especially when they evoke the American military supremacy. According to Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, after the end of the Cold War, America’s first “so refined,” under the presidency of Bill Clinton, and more starkly under George W. Bush, became more imperial than at the end of the Second World War, where it helped build multilateral organizations, in a way, played a role of a counter-balance.
If you are seeking to write a good research paper on American imperialism you have to understand that if the authors associate the notion of empire to the Roman Empire, theorists of the early XXth century as Alfred Zimmern are rather referred to the age of Pericles and the Athenian imperialism, when Athens had to build a powerful navy in part of the Delian League to secure its supplies of grain from the Black Sea.
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The debate on the concept of the American imperialism is usually about three questions:
- If the United States are or were an empire?
- If the United States are or were an empire, when they became one?
- If the United States are an empire now, is it good or bad?
Proponents of the idea that the United States is an empire say it is appropriate because the undisputed status of superpower is unrivaled since the end of the Cold War which is expressed in the cultural field, the concept of the manifest destiny and the American exceptionalism. They also claim, rightly or wrongly, political interference of the U.S. government or military intervention in foreign states, particularly during the Cold War, such as:
- The intervention of the CIA in Iran to overthrow Mossadegh in August 1953
- The intervention of the CIA in Guatemala to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz in June 1954
- The tentative assassination of Fidel Castro, depuis 1960
- The attempted invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in 1961, organized by the CIA, and so on.
According to the opponents of this term, the United States had the opportunity to become an empire at the time of the Spanish-American War, but have since abandoned that idea. They add that comparing the U.S. superpower with an empire is incorrect, as they lose all influence in the current phase of reorganization with political, economic and cultural centers worldwide. They also emphasize that American dominance is not “the result of a design” but the result of fratricidal wars between Europeans and the inability of the latter to deal with the communist threat.
Hence the use of the term “American imperialism” is often considered indicative of bias anti-American.
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