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History and the Hyperpower

Author: Eliot A. Cohen, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
July/August 2004
Foreign Affairs

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Whether or not the United States today should be called an empire is a semantic game. The important point is that it resembles previous empires enough to make the search for lessons of history worthwhile. Overwhelming dominance has always invited hostility. U.S. leaders thus must learn the arts of imperial management and diplomacy, exercising power with a bland smile rather than boastful words.

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