David Harvey’s book “New Imperialism” focuses on the rise of American imperialismand global domination. This is a powerful book that analyzes the nature of American globalambitions and the strategies used to ensure American domination. The book chronicles thehistory of the United States with its westward expansion, consumer market, and technologicalinnovation as helping the country to achieve global power. It was in the 1970s that the countryfaced with economic threats and problems strove to use neoliberalism as a tool for controllingthe global economy and control of capital. America’s rise to power according to Harvey is due tothe nexus between business and government that has guided policies which have led to militaryinterventions, creation of multilateral institutions, global financial systems, and othermechanisms in order to maintain and ensure America’s global dominance.Main Arguments and ThemesDavid Harvey’s main argument is that new imperialism in the post 9/11 world with theinvasion of Iraq in 2003 is the result of the nexus between capitalism and imperialism that hasdriven American foreign policy since the 1970s. The control of global oil supply is in accordancewith the desire to control the global economy. The special brand of “capital imperialism” is acombination of the statecraft and the capital accumulation that occurs in society.Writer’s Name 2This is described by stating that “imperialism as a distinctively political project on thepart of actors whose power is based in command of a territory and a capacity to mobilize itshuman and natural resources towards political, economic, and military ends” (Harvey 26).The author’s main theory is that the United States has maintained global dominancethrough the control over the flow of capital and world economic system. The concept ofneoliberalism is the main ideology which seeks to motivate the United State’s drive for globalambition. The theme of American global dominance is addressed by Harvey by referring to theinitial history of the country (Barrow 130). In other words, the United States was able to managethe clash between economic and political power through its geographical expansion in the West,investments in technology, and robust consumer marketplace. This is stated by the researcherwho says “These forces render democracy chronically unstable, difficult if not impossible tocommand except through the corruption of financial power” (Harvey 15). The result was theaccumulation of wealth in the country with a unique historical position in which the governmentand business worked closely together in the absence of a feudal aristocratic class. Harvey (23)argues that the United States continued to develop by injecting capital in education,infrastructure, towns, and development of western and southern regions of the country.Another theme proposed by Harvey (56) is that the United States used neoliberalism as atool to maintain its control and power in the world. Broadly speaking, the 1970s was a timecharacterized by serious threats such as the costs of waging war in Vietnam, fiscal deficit,increased inflation, and inability to curb domestic spending. There were external threats such asthe Japanese and German economies that managed to overtake the United States in some sectors.Harvey’s theme is that neoliberalism was a response to these threats (Barrow 130).Writer’s Name 3The US sought to control petrodollars by using its banks and managed to implement tradeagreements that were supported by loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and WorldTrade Organization (WTO). The American power concentrates on investing and controlling themovement of capital. The development of information technology and globalization has led tothe creation of an outsourced and downsized global economy.Another theme in the book is that the rise of Europe as an economic union and China’srise as a major economic power that controls domestic markets poses serious threats to the globaldominance of the United States. The result is that new imperialism is striving to use its militarypower as a last resort to defend its interests. Another theme present in the book is that there aresignificant forces arrayed against the American use of force to intervene in the Middle East andtake direct control of oil supplies (Barrow 130). The first type of opposition is emerging fromEuropean countries like France and Germany that are joining China and Russia to form analliance to safeguard their interests. Another form of opposition is in the Islamic and Arab worldagainst the American military intervention in the region. Finally, anti globalization movementsare emerging to challenge the assumptions and objectives of the global economic system(Barrow 130).Critical AnalysisThe strengths of Harvey’s theory are that neoliberalism is the driving force behind theimperialism of the modern age. Furthermore, the use of soft power is important strategy by theUnited States which strives to focus on using trade agreements, multilateral institutions, friendlyregimes, and banks to dominate the world. The author states that “powered by a remarkable spurtof capitalist development after the Civil War, the US was becoming technologically andeconomically dominant vis-a- vis the rest of the world” (Harvey 46).Writer’s Name 4Soft power is the result of the 1970s where domestic and external threats forced theUnited States to make a shift towards the use of different strategies that would help it to fight itsadversaries. A key strength of Harvey’s assertion is that the United States has been able to use itsuperior economic resources in order to maintain its global ambitions. This has been madepossible by the alliance of the state and business which developed in American society due to theabsence of feudal aristocratic class (Fine 133).A key weakness of Harvey’s theory is the relationship between economic and politicalpower that has been the driving force behind American imperial ambitions since the 1970s.Specifically, the advent of globalization has witnessed capitalism being a global force with thepower of the state being less important. This refutes Harvey’s assertion that new imperialism isbeing driven by an alliance of political and economic factors. Another weakness in Harvey’stheory is regarding the identified opposition towards American military intervention in Iraq andglobal dominance (Appelbaum & Willim 45). The alliance of Russia, China, France, andGermany does not appear to have offered any significant counterweight to American policies inthe years following the American intervention in Iraq. France and Germany have mostly settledtheir political and economic differences with the United States. China while being an assertivepower is still concentrating on its economic development and political objectives (Appelbaum &Willim 45).Russia might be playing an assertive role in certain regions like Ukraine and Syria, but itsability and desire to confront the United States remains limited. The Islamic opposition toAmerican intervention remains fragmented while anti globalization movements have limitedsway over public opinion (Appelbaum & Willim 45).Writer’s Name 5The context of Harvey’s theory remains effective in the current world as the UnitedStates continues to exert an aggressive foreign policy that is based on military interventionagainst threats to its global ambitions. The opposition in the future is already emerging withEurope, Russia and China forming an alliance to thwart the new imperialism espoused by theUnited States (Ashmari & Alex 107). The theory is valid because it argues about the concept ofaccumulation by dispossession. This is the process through which neoliberalism strives tobecome redistributive in nature. Moreover, neoliberalism strives to focus on ways to transferassets and channel wealth and income from the population or from vulnerable to richer countries(Ashmari & Alex 107). The commodification of the world has occurred as a result of theimperialism being pursued by the United States.ConclusionHarvey’s main theory is that political violence and contests of power are strongly relatedwith the notion of economic exchange between capitalist and wage laborer. These are organicallylinked in the new imperialism because the state and business work in coordination to achievepolitical, economic, and social goals. The United States is a power that has been able to focus onusing capitalism as a driving force for its imperialism. Furthermore, the US has used globalfinancial institutions and multilateral agreements in order to control the global economy andglobal capital flow. A key strength of Harvey’s assertion is that the United States has been ableto use it superior economic resources in order to maintain its global ambitions. This has beenmade possible by the alliance of the state and business which developed in American society dueto the absence of feudal aristocratic class. The limits of the theory are that it fails to recognizethe fact that capitalism itself is undergoing a fundamental transformation because of the nature ofthe global economy.
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