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Inside America's Empire

Robert Kaplan examines America’s global interests

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Today the United States is an economic and cultural giant, with a military to match.  Each year, the United States military conducts operations in dozens of countries.

In this film Robert D. Kaplan explores how in 2007 America is now effectively an empire. As a reporter for the Atlantic Monthly and author of eleven books he’s seen this empire develop first hand. 

The essence of empire is not fighting, is not conquering, it’s training indigenous forces to project power on their own, in their own interest but also in your interest.

–Robert Kaplan

Robert Kaplan with Mali solider

Robert Kaplan with Mali solider

Traveling with units of the American military, Kaplan presents an insider’s view of America’s on-going war against terrorism.  The military people he meets during his journeys are characters in the middle of a story that goes back centuries. 

“Who are they, what are they doing, and how does it fit into world history?” are the questions this film pursues.  In answering these questions, Kaplan brings a perspective that is simultaneously micro in its detail and macro in its sweep and overview.

Kaplan, a veteran foreign correspondent, reports with a consistently intriguing analysis of America’s place in the world.  Kaplan has an impressive track record predicting the future, such as the quagmire in post-Tito Yugoslavia that appeared in Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, and the threat to the West of terrorism, Islamic and otherwise, arising out of crime and conflict in the shanty-towns of failing states that was the message of The Coming Anarchy back in 1994.

Jungle patrol in Colombia Jungle patrol in Colombia


U.S. soldiers on camels in Timbuktu

U.S. soldiers on camels in Timbuktu

Are we being busybodies?  Are we being over-extended?  Are we just getting involved in too many places that we can’t handle? 

Here’s the answer:  What other alternative is there?

On the one hand we can be total isolationists, not get involved anywhere.  But that would be irresponsible.  And on the other hand we could let problems build up and fester to a point where every once in a while we’d have to invade with a large number of infantry, and we’d have more Iraq’s. 

So the real answer to avoiding future Iraq’s is not to be involved in less places, but more.

--Robert Kaplan


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All Rights Reserved. Published July 2006
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