This week's editor


Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

The period since 9/11 has renewed global debate about the nature of United States power and influence in a world being transformed by globalisation. openDemocracy writers - American and non-American - bring fresh perspectives to bear on the Iraq war, the question of empire, unilateralism, the "end of history", neo-conservatism, and foreign policy under and after George W Bush

After the fall: George W Bush in trouble

Republican divisions and a revival of Democratic energies are striking features of American politics six months after George W Bush’s election victory, reports Todd Gitlin.

George W Bush: far from Mount Rushmore

Terri Schiavo, Iraq, social security, stem-cell research, the supreme court – three months into President Bush’s second term, his right-wing coalition is cracking, reports Godfrey Hodgson.

Democracy from America? An Arab's advice

Any United States effort to bring democracy and freedom to the middle east needs to respect eight principles of action, says Rami G. Khouri.

Iran: the coming war

Will the United States attack Iran? Eight major arguments say no. Each one dissolves on inspection, says Dan Plesch.

Globalising freedom

Why do people around the world “increasingly see America as illegitimate and arrogant, even imperial?” Thomas N Hale on George W Bush’s democratic deficit.

Beyond the barbarians at the gate: Timothy Garton Ash interviewed

The “free world” of the United States-plus-Europe no longer exists. Can it be reinvented as a world of freedom? The leading liberal internationalist Timothy Garton Ash talks to Dominic Hilton of openDemocracy.

Bush's choice: messianism or pragmatism?

George W Bush’s language of freedom is not benevolent idealism but ideological weapon, says Anatol Lieven.

Fashionable anti-Americanism

The United States is burdened with the pains, frustrations, and hatreds of the rest of the world. Ignorant and unfair, says Dominic Hilton, in a scathing and witty critique of a disabling obsession.

Letters to Americans: the hidden treasure of the US vs the World

Dominic Hilton was part of the team working on openDemocracy’s “My America: Letters To Americans” project, in which eighteen non-American nationals wrote to counterparts in the United States. Here he gives his view on aspects of those exchanges and America’s role in role in world affairs.

Why the Democrats lost: an interview with Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitin’s acute, informed, acerbic “Our election year” weekly column has been an openDemocracy highlight of 2004. He discusses the lessons of a tumultuous political year in American politics with Solana Larsen.

How the Democrats can win: an interview with Colin Greer

Colin Greer, director of the New World Foundation, tells openDemocracy’s Solana Larsen that the Democrats must learn a different way of thinking and acting – in effect, to become a real political party rather than a “message machine” – if they want to regain legitimacy and support across the United States.

The Free World's end?

Tom Nairn presents a searching critique of Timothy Garton Ash’s book Free World. He argues that it seeks to conserve the global status quo through a comforting subordination to American power. His wide-ranging survey suggest that the new century is not going to embrace any such outcome.

After Baghdad, Tehran

The United States’s “war-gaming” of Iran suggests that – despite the Iraqi quagmire – the ambition of the second Bush administration to spread freedom and democracy is undiminished, says Charles V Peña.

Israel, the United States, and truth: a reply to Emanuele Ottolenghi

Anatol Lieven responds to Emanuele Ottolenghi’s fierce criticism of him in openDemocracy.

Anatol Lieven, right or wrong?

Anatol Lieven’s misunderstanding of nationalism, inconsistent liberalism, and personal prejudices deform his judgment of the relationship between Israel, the United States, and the Arab world, says Emanuele Ottolenghi.

Guantánamo: America's war on human rights

The military aircraft in which Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul sat chained to a bench, soaked in their own urine, ear-muffed, masked and unable to see, landed at the American airstrip at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on 14 January 2002. The two men, who had travelled to Pakistan from their homes in Britain five months earlier in order to attend Iqbal’s wedding, had already survived a massacre of prisoners by their original captors, the private army of the Afghan warlord Rashid Dostum.

The crisis of universalism: America and radical Islam after 9/11

In a trenchant analysis of the post-9/11 world, Fred Halliday documents the two-sided assault both by the United States and its fundamentalist enemies on universal principles. Can citizens of the world retrieve a confident, humane politics from beneath the rubble?

America right or wrong

The Bush administration responded to 9/11 by exploiting a force deeply rooted in United States thinking and behaviour: American nationalism. This force, says Anatol Lieven in an extract from his new book America Right or wrong, is now deforming the country’s relationship with the world and damaging America itself.

The war on terrorism: does the United States know how to win?

Three years after 9/11, what progress has the United States made in the war on terror? Charles Peña assesses the evidence and finds American policy and action wanting.

HIV/Aids: global policy after Bangkok

America’s funding policy towards the global HIV/Aids epidemic is motivated by political and corporate self-interest, says Bill Bowtell.

Four more years for Big Brother?

The policies and practices of the current United States administration are all too reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian fantasy, ‘Nineteen-Eighty Four’. It is time, says an influential Democrat, for Americans to wake up from their national nightmare.

Neo-conservatism and the American future

Neo-conservatism has created an “axis of disorder” within American governance. But it will not disappear even if its current champions fade from view. A former official in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and a former British diplomat argue that neo-conservatism is a manifestation of a deeper syndrome that has structural roots in United States history and politics.

America, the United Nations, and the world: a triple challenge

The United Nations is exploring how best to work with the United States and the international community to meet future global security threats. The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, outlines the thinking behind the high-level panel he appointed to investigate this key 21st century challenge.

America's prayer

Can America find its universal soul in being complexly human rather than eternally innocent? And can Europe's former "dissidents" find a fresh language of truth in which to challenge unjust United States power? Martin Matuštík invokes signifiers of Czech national identity and American history to address his current homeland and his former compatriots alike.

The United States and international aid: missing the big picture

If Iraq reconstruction costs are included, United States funding for international programmes has almost doubled since 2000. But this funding lacks focus, strategic vision, and sustainability, argues a former senior official at the US state department. Should Congress require the administration not to cut spending but to improve the design and coordination of its programmes?
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