Larison joins the debate:

There is nothing “excessive” about the word empire to describe the political and military domination of other countries.  Hegemony may be slightly more precise, but the practical difference between hegemony and empire is not very great when hegemony entails the establishment of dozens of military bases on foreign soil.  Perhaps people who believe that Washington and Baghdad are merely negotiating a bilateral “status of forces” agreement as between two equal, sovereign states also think that the Batavian Republic was a free and independent state that just had a very friendly relationship with France.  Oh, but that couldn’t have been imperialism–France was democratic at the time!  France and the Batavian Republic also made a treaty, one that was quite disadvantageous to the Dutch but a treaty all the same, so that must have made the ensuing occupation all right.   

If there is one good thing that might come out of the disaster of the war in Iraq, it is that the absurd, excessive and naive faith that democracies are never aggressive and imperialistic may be shaken at least a little.    

 

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