The relative decline of US imperialism has underpinned the domestic debate about President Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan.
In his speech to the Corp of Cadets at West Point on 1 December, Obama said: ‘…as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry. And it allows us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last. That is why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended because the nation that I am most interested in building is our own.’
This drew a fierce response from the Wall Street Journal, which supports the surge as a necessary expression of power, not as an unfortunate diversion from its exercise at home:
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