Trump Wants To Maintain US Empire But Without The Alliances

Daniel Immerwahr – Associate Professor History Department Northwestern University

During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, even more reluctant scholars on both ends of the political spectrum were finally forced to acknowledge that the United States is an empire and that it has been acting as one since the end of World War II. Of course, there was a natural disagreement among them as to whether the U.S. was a different sort of an empire from those that had dominated world politics in the past, with conservative thinkers like Niall Ferguson arguing that the U.S is essentially a benign empire.
Yet, as Daniel Immerwahr, associate professor of history at Northwestern University, reminds us in his pathbreaking book, How to Hide an Empire, U.S. imperialism was alive and kicking throughout the 19th century. In fact, the United States was an empire from the very beginning of the founding of the nation, although this fact has never been part of standard educational narratives about U.S. history and foreign policy.
Meanwhile Donald Trump’s fetishization of the military is a reflection of the way imperial logic has been deeply ingrained into the mindset of most Americans, although Trump’s own vision, as Immerwahr argues, is one of a “fortress America” and of a U.S. foreign policy that relies less on alliances and on the presence of military bases across the globe.
In this exclusive Truthout interview, Immerwahr talks more about the contemporary shape of U.S. empire and how it has shifted under Trump.

C.J. Polychroniou: Over the last few decades, there has been an ongoing debate among some scholars as to whether the United States became an empire following the end of World War II. In your recently published book, titled How to Hide an Empire, you argue that the U.S. has always been an empire. Can you elaborate a bit on this claim?

Daniel Immerwahr: From the first day the United States received its independence from Great Britain, the country was, in spite of its name, not a union of states. It was an amalgam of states and territories. And for most of its history, the United States has had overseas territories. Add to that the hundreds of foreign military bases currently under U.S. control. There are lots of things you might mean by empire — you might refer to a commercial empire, an empire of pop culture. But by the strictly territorial definition, which understands empire to mean territories and outposts, the United States has unambiguously been an empire and remains one today.
This isn’t just a minor fact. The overseas territories have contained millions (as they do today). In 1940, one in eight people who lived in the United States lived not in the states but in the territories. More people in the country were colonized than were Black, more people in the country were colonized than were immigrants. That’s how big the empire was. It’s not just that the overseas parts of the country have accounted for a lot of its land and population. They’ve also been important to its past. The overseas territory of the United States has consistently been on the front lines of its history. Read more

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Evangelischer Kirchenbote ~ In den Niederlanden untergetaucht

Auch ihr Versteck wurde verraten, die Familie deportiert: Paula Bermann. Foto: Verlag

Paula Bermann und Anne Frank verbindet manches: Mehr als Tagebücher und der Tod in Bergen-Belsen

Der Name von Paulina van Es-Bermann findet sich auf einer Liste mit weiteren 102000 Namen von Juden aus den Niederlanden, die der Judenverfolgung zum Opfer fielen. Auch Anne Frank, das jüdische Mädchen aus Frankfurt, dessen weltweit verbreiteten Tagebuchaufzeichnungen aus dem Hinterhaus der Amsterdamer Prinsengracht sie zum Sinnbild für die Millionen jüdischen Opfer des Nationalsozialismus werden ließ, ist dort aufgenommen: im 42 Bände umfassenden Gedenkbuch für die niederländischen Opfer des Zweiten Weltkriegs.

Paula Bermann und Anne Frank verbindet manches. Beide Frauen stammen aus Deutschland, beider Familien sind während der deutschen Besatzung der Niederlande untergetaucht, die Verstecke wurden verraten, die Familien deportiert. Beide haben Tagebuch geführt. Im Abstand von wenigen Wochen finden Paula und Anne 1945 den Tod im Konzentrationslager Bergen-Belsen. Paula Bermann starb mit 49 Jahren, Anne Frank, die in diesem Jahr 90 Jahre würde, wurde gerade 15 Jahre alt.

Mehr als 70 Jahre nach Kriegsende ist in den Niederlanden kürzlich das Tagebuch der im westpfälzischen Konken geborenen Jüdin Paula Bermann veröffentlicht worden. Die Aufzeichnungen über die Kriegsjahre 1940 bis 1944 tragen den Titel „Deze ontspoorde wereld“ (Diese entgleiste Welt). Fast vier Jahre notiert sie darin Empfindungen, Erlebnisse, Ängste und Hoffnungen, die sie in den bedrückenden Kriegsjahren bewegen. Sie macht nicht jeden Tag Eintragungen, manchmal liegen Wochen zwischen den Einträgen. Im März 1944 werden die Bermanns und Tochter Inge verhaftet und nach Bergen-Belsen deportiert. Wenige Wochen vor der Befreiung des Konzentrationslagers sterben die Eheleute Paula und Coen, ihre Kinder Hans, Inge und Sonja überleben.

Weiterlesen: http://www.evangelischer-kirchenbote.de/in-den-niederlanden-untergetaucht/

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H. K. Breslauer ~ The City Without Jews

www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org The City Without Jews is a 1924 expressionist film by Austrian filmmaker H. K. Breslauer, based on the novel of the same title by Hugo Bettauer.  The novel and film predicted the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the following decades.  The original pressing of Bettauer’s novel, published in 1922, became a wide success and sold over 250,000 copies.  The film premiered on July 25, 1924.  Shortly after the premiere of the film Bettauer was murdered by Nazi party member Otto Rothstock, who was quickly released from jail after public outcry surrounding his conviction.  The City Without Jews film was shown in public for the last time in 1933 at the Carré theater in Amsterdam as a protest against the rise of Hitler’s Germany.

In 2015 a copy of the film in good condition was discovered at a flea market in Paris.  A crowd-funding campaign was launched by the Austrian Film Archive to restore the film, to which over 700 people contributed a total of $107,000.  The film was digitally restored and re-released in early 2018.

The book in German:  Gutenberg.org – Hugo Bettauer – Die Stadt ohne Juden: Ein Roman von übermorgen

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Jonathan Carey ~ Centuries Of Persian Manuscripts, Now At Your Fingertips

These two images come from the miniature book, Ghazalīyāt-i shaykh Saʻdī, containing excerpts of classical Persian poetry. Library of Congress, African and  Middle East Division, Near East Section Persian Manuscript Collection

In the weeks leading up to the vernal equinox, it’s common to see people across Iran busily clearing their homes of clutter. Rugs hang outside in preparation for a good beating, to rid them of a year of dust. This is all done in preparation for Nowruz, also known as the Iranian or Persian New Year. The holiday typically falls around March 20 but is celebrated for weeks with a variety of celebrations, ceremonies, and traditions. So who says the Library of Congress can’t get in on the festivities?

To wish you a Nowruz Pirouz, the library has made 155 rare Persian manuscripts, lithographs, and books dating back to the 13th century available online for the first time. The collection of illuminated manuscripts includes texts such as theShahnameh, an epic poem about pre-Islamic Persia likened to the Iliad or the Odyssey, along with written accounts of the life of Shah Jahan, the 17th-century Mughal emperor who oversaw construction of the Taj Mahal. Other manuscripts focus on religion, philosophy, and science. Some are written in multiple languages, with passages in Arabic and Turkish. This wide range highlights just how cosmopolitan the collection is.

Go to: https://www.atlasobscura.com/persian-manuscripts-online

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Steun de Quarterly ~ Van files en aanvallen

Een jonge lezer

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Trump’s 2020 Budget Rewards The Wealthiest Individuals

Gerald Epstein is Professor of Economics and a founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposal represents the wildest version of neoliberalism yet. It is just the latest evidence that the United States has become a plutocracy run by an oligarchical elite bent on destroying the last vestiges of a democratic polity.

Trump’s fiscal budget proposal threatens to exacerbate all of the major problems facing the U.S. economy and society today “in order to fund more goodies for the wealthy,” according to radical political economist Gerald Epstein. In this interview with Truthout, Epstein — the co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute and a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — discusses why the Trump budget proposal is a blatant power grab, why we need to think about economics beyond GDP growth, and why the U.S. government is incurring more debt that does not even begin to address the problems the country faces.

C.J. Polychroniou: Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, which has been quite fittingly proposed by some critics as “a budget for a sick and declining America,” includes major cuts across all programs and agencies with the exception of the military, which receives additional increases for defense spending. In your view, what’s the logic driving this budget proposal, and what would be the likely consequences for U.S. society and economy if it were to be implemented?
Gerald Epstein: Let me start with the latter part of your question by saying that, if Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal were to be implemented, the consequences would be simply disastrous. Indeed, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a reliable source of information on federal budget and tax policy, has catalogued the “little shop of horrors” that make up Trump’s budget. As you indicated, the budget proposes deep cuts in non-defense discretionary spending (NDD) alongside sizeable increases in military spending. The Trump budget proposes cutting the NDD funding by 11 percent after adjusting for inflation. But the overall cuts on key social programs would be even greater than this, because the Trump budget protects or even increases some categories of NDD. As the CPBB says, the budget proposal increases discretionary funding for Homeland Security by 15 percent, while cutting funding for Health and Human services by 12 percent, Housing and Urban Development by 18 percent and the Environmental Protection Agency by a whopping 31 percent. The budget calls for even deeper cuts in the years after 2020; for example, in 2029, it would lower NDD by about 40 percent below current funding in 2019 adjusted for inflation. The budget would take away medical insurance from millions of people by repealing the Affordable Care Act and making deep cuts to Medicaid. It would also cut many other programs for the poor, including food stamps and housing assistance. Trump proposes all this in order to fund more goodies for the wealthy. According to the CBPP, the budget would extend the 2017 tax breaks for rich individuals, making the very rich and the military industries the major beneficiaries of the budget proposal. Read more

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The Making Of The Statute Of The European System Of Central Banks

March, 2019: The complete book – updated version – will be online soon. See: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/the-making-of-the-statute-of-the-european-system-of-central-banks/

Do you find it difficult to understand why the European Central Bank is restricted in its assistance to EU countries which have difficulty borrowing from financial markets? And do you find it interesting to learn what the tools are of the ECB, compared to the Federal Reserve System, and why the monetary part of the Economic and Monetary Union is so much more successful than its economic leg? These questions are answered in the book The Making of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, which first appeared as a dissertation in 2004. It describes the economic, political and legal discussions behind every article of the statute of the ESCB, which rules its behaviour and which restrict the options for politicians to intervene in the policy of the ECB. After you have read this, you will find it much easier to understand and predict the behaviour of important actors, like the decision-making body of the ECB and politicians, and the tensions between them.

Checks and balances
The phrase ‘checks and balances’ is most known for its use as a description of the American system of government. The essential feature is that the departments (branches) of government are not just separate from each other (i.e. having their own functional jurisdiction and the absence of personal unions), but also exert limited control over each other, to the extent necessary for preventing departments (branches) from assuming authority in areas for which other branches are responsible. This philosophy was based on the experience that especially the legislature if left to itself could expand its powers in the field of the executive and in extreme cases even taking on judicial powers.

Read more

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