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Imperial history

Americans are stuck with the burden of empire without having chosen it. No wonder they're feeling truculent.

By Dominic Lieven   June 2003

The current world order is the heir of European empire. Between the 16th and 20th centuries empire and globalisation were tightly entwined. Europeans turned the Americas and Australasia into new Europes and, above all, new Englands. That is the geopolitical basis for the current domination of the world by the English language and by political and economic ideologies which are mostly of British origin. Under empire a global economic system was created, initially often by force. Its rules were mostly made and enforced by Europeans, although many non-Europeans were co-opted into its networks to their own great profit. Throughout most…

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