US Foreign Economic Policy Under Bush: Imperial, Inspired, or Incompetent?


  • Tony Porter Political Science, McMaster University


In recent years there has been an increased popular and scholarly consideration of the appropriateness of the concept of “empire” to refer to US power, reflecting a widespread view that the US is even more dominant in world affairs today than in the past. This article examines US foreign economic policy in this context, and argues that US structural economic power has been declining rather than increasing. The Bush administration’s foreign economic policy has been characterized by a linking of economic policy to political goals, and by a shift away from multilateralism. Given US structural economic weaknesses and its integration with the global economy, these policies are consistent with those one would expect from a declining hegemon, and do not lend support to the idea that the US is constructing the type of global governance that merits an imperial label.

Author Biography

Tony Porter, Political Science, McMaster University

Tony Porter is Professor of Political Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. He is the author of Globalization and Finance (Polity Press, 2005); Technology, Governance and Political Conflict in International Industries, (Routledge, 2002); and States, Markets, and Regimes in Global Finance, (Macmillan, 1993); and coeditor, with A. Claire Cutler and Virginia Haufler, of Private Authority in International Affairs, (SUNY Press, 1999).