Bret Devereaux takes a stab at describing the current state (July 2023) of the US and international relations, without leaning on the shallow description of it as an empire.
This week we’re going to take a look at an aspect of contemporary international relations, rather than ancient ones. As has become somewhat customary, I am going to use the the week of July 4th to talk about the United States, or more correctly for this July 4th, the informal coalition (with formal components) of countries the United States inhabits and leads.
In some ways this is following up on a thread left hanging a couple of years ago when I commented briefly that I didn’t think the term ’empire’ effectively described the US position in the international order. And so this post will focus on what I do think is the US position in the international order, although the focus here is going to be somewhat less on the United States’ role within what I am going to call the ‘status quo coalition’ than it is on the coalition itself. Because the existence and breadth of this coalition is really unusual and thus remarkable; indeed it may be indicative of broader shifts in how interstate relationships work in an industrial/post-industrial world where institutions and cultural attitudes are beginning, slowly, to catch up to the new realities our technology has created.