Thursday, March 03, 2005

A less super superpower

Jonathan Schell: 'A less super superpower'
Posted on Thursday, March 03 @ 09:56:29 EST
By Jonathan Schell, TomDispatch
One of the most difficult things to judge in the world today is the extent of American power. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the United States possesses a far larger pile of weapons than any other country, that the American economy is also larger than any other country's and that America's movies and television programs are consumed globally.
America is widely accorded the title "only superpower," and many of its detractors as well as its supporters describe it as the world's first truly globe-straddling empire. On the other hand, it is not yet clear what the United States can accomplish with these eye-catching assets. For power, as Thomas Hobbes wrote in one of the most succinct and durable definitions of power ever offered, is a "present means, to obtain some future apparent good." Power, after all, is not just an expenditure of energy. There must be results.
Measured by Hobbes's test, the superpower looks less super.....