The title of this book is a play upon several important concepts and forces in the ongoing debate about American empire. Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration and its counsels in the U.S. Department of Justice have been both constituting an empire of American hegemony and, in so doing, violating the spirit and the law of the American Constitution at home and abroad. The U.S. Constitution has been doing work in the "nonsovereign" spaces of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, and CIA black detention sites around the world. The reach of this constitution is becoming visible in National Security Agency surveillance and data mining of electronic communications between the United States and the rest of the world and in a myriad of other regulatory and legal demands made by the United States both of its citizens and of those living in and traveling among other countries. And, in testing the limits of its wished-for powers, the Bush administration seeks to constitute an imperium that, by its own definition, would be nowhere subject to the long-assumed checks of either the U.S. Constitution, Congress, the courts, or international law, for it operates outside of the boundaries of American sovereignty in defiance of the international community and the United Nations, and in violation of the law of nations. This book is the latest and perhaps sharpest entry in the burgeoning literature of American empire since Hardt and Negri. Its focus on the legal and institutional aspects of empire sets it apart from the literature on this subject.
“In this striking analysis of American global dominance, Lipschutz (Global Politics as if People Mattered) explores the formal and unwritten rules behind what he regards as an economic and political hegemony of unprecedented scope. This American-guided ‘Imperium’ (as opposed to just empire, which for Lipschutz carries misleadingly limited territorial connotations) is a ‘mechanism of global discipline and order’ that, while centered in Washington, incorporates various centers of state and suprastate power—including allied governments and institutions like NATO and the WTO. Its roots run far back, but it advanced considerably in practical and formal ways post-9/11, when the Bush administration declared what German political theorist Carl Schmitt called a state of ‘exception’ to expand the sovereign authority of the executive, buttressed by a global economic system founded on the dollar. This is a fascinating and vital addition to literature on globalization, empire, citizenship and international law; a sure bet for readers interested in the true limits of, and prospects for, ‘change’ in a new American administration.”
"Ronnie Lipschutz demonstrates wonderfully how U.S. unilateralism and rule-by-exception—which has dominated in many respects the political life of the first decade of the new millennium, both nationally and globally— have broad and deep roots in 20th century U.S. history. The legacies and ruins of these policies will seriously constrain post-Bush politics in the United States and throughout the world."
—Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire and Multitude
“A lucid and valuable analysis of the roots and growing threat of imperial power. This book packs a nice scholarly punch on behalf of democracy.”
—Michael Parenti, author of Against Empire and Democracy for the Few
Acknowledgments Chapter One: Constitution Chapter Two: Roots Chapter Three: Globalization Chapter Four: Homeland Chapter Five: Exception? Chapter Six: Dollarama Chapter Seven: Legalization Chapter Eight: Twilight Notes Index About the Author