Empire and Obligation

Richard W. Miller

in Globalizing Justice

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199581986
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723247 | DOI:
Empire and Obligation

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Just as a government's political power within its sovereign territory generates political duties of concern, so does the unofficial transnational power of the American empire. By steering the course of development in many countries, through structural adjustment and other manipulations of need, the United States has acquired a residual duty to help meet basic needs that people of those countries cannot on their own—a duty shared, to a lesser degree, by allied developed countries. In propping up client regimes, the United States acquires a responsibility to make up for their failings. In using violence, direct or sponsored, which does not respond to aggression or the consent of the endangered people of a country, the United States acquires a duty of to make good the damage. After arguing that such a reparative duty extends at least two generations back, the chapter concludes with an account of American imperial destruction over the last half century.

Keywords: American empire; imperialism; basic needs; structural adjustment; client regimes; reparations

Chapter.  15383 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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