Eminent Liberal Theologian on American Empire: Can Obama Pull Off a Game-Changer in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan?

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Today's feature on Religion Dispatches was written by the most eminent interpreter of the American liberal theological tradition today, Gary Dorrien. Dilemmas of American Empire: Can Obama Pull Off a Game-Changer in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan?

In the wake of the Bush administration's disastrous neoconservative ideologies, the Obama Administration is seeking to reclaim the liberal internationalist and diplomatic way of relating to the world. The United States is going to be an aggressive imperial power no matter whom it elects as president; what is called "neoconservatism" is merely an extreme version of normal American supremacism, one that explicitly promotes and heightens the U.S.'s routine practices of empire. But it matters greatly whether the American empire tries to work cooperatively and respectfully with other nations instead of conspiring mainly to dominate them. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East as a whole, the legacy of George W. Bush is not very good, and Obama has an overabundance of leftover crises to manage.

In Iraq the U.S. is slowly withdrawing military forces while in Afghanistan the U.S. is escalating; but in both cases the work is grinding, perilous, and ambiguous. There are no breakthroughs coming in Iraq or Afghanistan. The fix is in, and the new administration is simply trying to find a decently tolerable outcome. Iran is a different story diplomatically, where there is a real possibility of a breakthrough, but also the greatest danger.

"We hate you because you are occupiers, but we hate al Qaeda worse, and we hate the Persians even more."

Read the rest here: http://bit.ly/55pFj

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