Rehabilitating Imperialism: From Vietnam to the War on Terror

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

The U.S. emerged after the Second World War as the world’s greatest superpower, with only one less powerful rival, the Soviet Union. But the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, where a national liberation movement and the near-collapse of its own fighting units forced it to withdraw, created what became known as the “Vietnam Syndrome”—a reticence by the U.S. government to use direct military force abroad. From Reagan’s war on Grenada and Panama to Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, each U.S. president has attempted to find ways to overcome this “syndrome.” With the fall of the Soviet Union, Washington saw an opportunity to assert a position as the world’s unchallenged superpower, capable of intervening and molding regions at will. This talk will discuss the degree to which this strategy has been successful—and to what extent it has created new crises—and the future it holds for U..S imperialism.

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