Ist Amerika ein Imperium?

Vor dreißig Jahren benutzte die radikale Linke den Ausdruck ,,amerikanisches Imperium" als Schimpfwort. Nun, da dieser Ausdruck aus der Versenkung geholt wurde, benutzen ihn politische Analysten sowohl der Linken als auch der Rechten, als Erklärung, wenn nicht gar als Leitfaden, der amerikanischen Außenpolitik.

Die Metapher des Imperiums ist in vielerlei Hinsicht verlockend. Amerikanische Truppen sind auf Militärbasen weltweit präsent und die lokalen Kommandanten benehmen sich zuweilen wie die Prokonsuln. Englisch ist eine Lingua franca wie Latein. Die amerikanische Wirtschaft ist die größte der Welt und die amerikanische Kultur fungiert als Magnet. Es ist allerdings falsch, Vormachtstellung mit einem Imperium zu verwechseln.

Die USA sind mit Sicherheit kein Imperium in dem Sinne, wie es die europäischen Imperien des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts waren, denn das Hauptmerkmal ihres Imperialismus war politische Macht. Obwohl es natürlich ungleiche Beziehungen zwischen den USA und schwächeren Mächten gibt, die ausgenützt werden können, ist der Ausdruck ,,imperial" ohne formale politische Kontrolle nicht nur ungenau, sondern auch irreführend.

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