Officially, of course, the world is now post-imperial. The Q’ing and Ottoman empires fell on the eve of World War I, and the last Leviathans of Europe's imperial past, the Austro-Hungarian and Tsarist empires, lumbered into the grave soon after. Tocsins of liberation were sounded on all sides, in the name of democracy (Wilson) and socialism (Lenin). Later attempts to remake and proclaim empires – above all, Hitler's annunciation of a “Third Reich” – now seem surreal, aberrant, and dystopian. The Soviet Union, the heir to the Tsarist empire, found it prudent to call itself a “federation of socialist republics.” Mao's China followed suit. Now, only a truly perverse, contrarian regime would fail to deploy the rhetoric of democracy.
Norman Smith, D. (2006), "Recognizing Empire: Alienation, Authority, and Delusions of Grandeur", Lehmann, J.M. and Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) Globalization between the Cold War and Neo-Imperialism (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-152. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-1204(06)24002-7
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