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By Walden Bello

Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York
272 p, $25, Pub. Date March 4, 2005 , ISBN 0-8050-7402-3

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The political and economic institutions of Washington ‘s global hegemony, including the system of global economic governance centered on the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank, are analyzed in the context of what Walden Bello sees as an irreversible crisis of US power.

The American empire seems unassailable, but Bello claims it is being overtaken by a triple crisis: a crisis of overextension brought about by a growing gap between Washington’s military and political goals and the resources to achieve them; a crisis of excess capacity, leading to stagnation and shrinking profits alongside worsening global poverty and income distribution; and a crisis of legitimacy of US-style democratic client regimes and the US-dominated multilateral system. A detailed analysis of the causes, dynamics, and consequences of these three dimensions of crisis is the core of this provocative analysis.

Despite the triumphalist rhetoric and bellicose drive of the Bush II administration, the crisis, claims the author, may be coming to a head under its reign, with the US trapped in Iraq , facing multiplying challenges to its power, and provoking widespread resistance to its “rollback economics”.
One of the main volumes of Metropolitan Books’ acclaimed American Empire series featuring, among others, Chalmers Johnson and Noam Chomsky, this book concludes on a guardedly optimistic note: the crisis of the empire is not only a precondition for the emergence of more democratically responsive and developmentally effective arrangements in the global South; it may also trigger the rise of the truly democratic republic the US was meant to be before it was hijacked by imperial democracy.


What the Reviewers Say


“Bello’s bold critique is laid out clearly and concisely, in a forceful but not strident tone, with writing that is direct and effective. For all its detailed analysis, the book is a fast read…Read this book to help spot things that are worth worrying about and need adjustment, and to stimulate second thoughts about popular American ideological and nationalist prejudices…”
San Diego Tribune


“Walden Bello is the world’s best guide to American exploitation of the global poor and defensely—and the false concepts the US government uses to camouflage its actions. He directly challenges the propaganda and the policies of the Washngton establishment with an analysis that is both original and persuasive.”


Chalmers Johnson, author of The Sorrows of Empire


”Provocative and useful as a gauge of what much of the outside world is saying about us. And it isn’t nice.”


Kirkus Reviews


“With unsentimental clarity, Walden Bello speaks the truth about American empire and why it is doomed by its own contradictions.”


William Greider, author of The Soul of Capitalism


“A concise and thoughtful global South perspective on America ‘s military, economic, and political realities.”


Publishers Weekly


“Dilemmas of Domination shows again why Walden Bello is recognized as one of the global South’s—and the world’s—leading analysts of the US drive towards empire. His critique of the Afghan and Iraq wars is both sobering and encouraging, probing the dangers for the world in the Bush administration’s militarism while recognizing the potential of the growing peace movement. Bello ‘s dissection of the Asian dimension is particularly comprehensive and welcome. And, rooting the US drive towards in the corporate-driven trajectory of globalization, Bello ‘s economic critique remains among the most prescient. A must read for scholars, activists, and global citizens.”


Phyllis Bennis, author of Before and After: US Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis


About the author


A professor of sociology and public administration at the University of the Philippines , Walden Bello is also executive director of Focus on the Global South, the Bangkok-based progressive think tank. A recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Noble Prize, for 2003, Bello is the author of 14 other books, including Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy (2002), The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines (2004), Global Finance (2000), and The Future in the Balance: Essays on Globalization and Resistance (2001).




Introduction: A Southern Perspective on the Crisis of Empire
The Road to Baghdad
Imperial Hubris/Imperial Overextension
Contemporary Capitalism’s Classic Crisis
The Ascendancy of Finance
The Economics of Anti-Development
The South Rises, and the North Prevails
George Bush’s Rollback Economics
Crisis of Legitimacy
Conclusion: The Way Forward



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