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The American Empire is a word left-wing pundits have thrown around loosely since at the very least Vietnam. The economic imperialism which the United States has participated in since the Second World War has produced a soft empire at the beck and call of American interests. American foreign policy determines domestic policy in many countries in the world. This map depicts countries which many believe to be in some way under the thumb of America; they are either reliant on American trade or military.

The countries highlighted may be countries which have an extensive American military presence, hold American military bases or rely on America for trade or security. Since becoming part of the 'soft empire,' some countries have achieved a certain degree of independence from American trade and militarism. Notably Vietnam and Brazil. Bolivia has been tentatively removed from the map, because of significant and largely successful efforts by the current President to move towards independence and Bolivian sovereignty. A cursory glance shows that much of the world is subsumed in the American Empire, far more than the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century. That's not to say it is more powerful, as America does not necessarily have direct authority over these nations; however, it is more stable because it does not appear as Empire to the careless viewer.

People point to the Arab Spring as a time when American influence is declining, mostly because of the ousting of American-backed dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Unfortunately, while Tunisia has made significant strides to determining its own future, it remains to be seen whether or not anything will change in Egyptian-American relations. Either way, these are exceptions to the paradigm. In Libya we saw American-backed rebels oust an anti-American leader. In Algeria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and more we have seen protesters fail to end pro-Western regimes largely with the open satisfaction of the American authorities. Further, it is seeming more and more likely that Syria and Yemen will fall in popular uprising or civil war; these are states which harbour enemies of the United States. It all seems to be leading towards toppling the biggest domino of them all, Iran. With heightened talk once again of a military strike on Iran maybe the United States will finally soon have the regional support it needs.

To the south of the Arab world comes another story of victory for the oppressed or so it seems. South Sudan, oil rich and long in conflict with the Sudanese authorities has seceded in a referendum largely engineered by American authorities. Bill Clinton oversaw the process and now, South Sudan can start exporting oil through Kenya to American oil interests. To secure the region America has already aided Ethiopia and Kenya in strikes against the wayward failed state of Somalia and recently authorities announced that American troops would begin to be stationed in the homophobic, Christian fundamentalist state of Uganda as a landing point for securing American empire in the region. In the end, this has not been a victory for the Nubian people but for the United States. American foreign policy has intelligently engineered the independence of South Sudan and the cooperation of its new neighbours in securing American oil interests.

As protesters of the American Fall protest at home they do not realise the Rise of America that is going on in the rest of the world. The economic downturn, the gap between the rich and the poor, the foreign wars which still rage are distractions from the growing soft empire. It's all moving closer to a confrontation between America and an enemy larger than any since the Second World War.

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