Dominance by Design, by Professor Michael Adas, is a very “intellectually useful” overview of the American thrust towards world domination by force, whether through the backdoor (covert means) or through the front door (invasion of Iraq in 2003, etc).
Michael Adas is the Abraham E. Voorhees Professor of History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
“Long before the United States became a major force in global affairs, Americans believed in their superiority over others due to their inventiveness, productivity, and economic and social well-being. U.S. expansionists assumed a mandate to “civilize” non-Western peoples by demanding submission to American technological prowess and design. As an integral part of America’s national identity and sense of itself in the world, this civilizing mission provided the rationale to displace the Indians from much of our continent, to build an island empire in the Pacific and Caribbean, and to promote unilateral—at times military—interventionism throughout Asia. In our age of “smart bombs” and mobile warfare, technological aptitude remains preeminent in validating America’s global mission.
Michael Adas brilliantly pursues the history of this mission through America’s foreign relations over nearly four centuries from North America to the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. The belief that it is our right and destiny to remake foreign societies in our image has endured from the early decades of colonization to our current crusade to implant American-style democracy in the Muslim Middle East.
Dominance by Design explores the critical ways in which technological superiority has undergirded the U.S.’s policies of unilateralism, preemption, and interventionism in foreign affairs and raised us from an impoverished frontier nation to a global power. Challenging the long-held assumptions and imperatives that sustain the civilizing mission, Adas gives us an essential guide to America’s past and present role in the world as well as cautionary lessons for the future.”(Harvard University Press, 2009)
The whole issue of hegemonial struggles (as opposed to left-wing emphasis on “class struggles”) is very eye-opening in terms of achieving a more comprehensive understanding of the newspapers and history books themselves.
For example, Paul Kennedy’s book, “The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism: 1860-1914” (1980) is a very important book in giving us this layer of reality which complicates the parallel layer of globalization forces from 1870-1914.
Globalization narrowly speaking is about econo-technical changes unifying prices and other economic variables, while hegemonial struggles involve the struggle for mastery by rival countries or blocs.
This book gives an account of the rivalry between Great Britain and Germany in the period leading to the First World War. It gives readers a thorough comparison of the two societies, their political cultures, economies, party politics, courts, the role of the press and pressure groups, and so on.
Hegemonial rivalries between nations, blocs, empires are a key “motor” in world history and globalization and this rivalry are entwined at all times. Holistic education is partly the understanding of how entwining governs the world around us, in all areas.