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Empire Burlesque

Living through the twilight of American global power

Daniel Bessner, author and professor of American foreign policy at the University of Washington, sits down with web editor Violet Lucca to discuss his Harper’s Magazine cover story about the future of the United States and its place in the world during an era of shrinking economic and material might. Bessner suggests a path forward that aims to be practical at the cost of optimism, at a moment when the individual seems to lack any semblance of political agency. Adopting the language of Marx, he posits that “we might be in the era of mutual ruin,” and that a shift toward military and political restraint—rather than misguided liberal interventionism—must begin with a brutally honest diagnosis of the state of the world before any solutions can take shape.

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July 2022

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